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Thought Leadership

What Can You Do in an Hour? Quick Business Tips That Work

What does success look like in a remote environment? We asked five executives for their best business tips to help you make fast progress in just an hour, a single quarter, or a year.

illustration of two co-workers high-fiving
We’ve curated practical tips from leading executives about what you can do to make progress in an hour, a quarter, and a year – progress toward building a positive employee experience for your team.

What does success look like in a remote environment? More importantly, how do we create a positive employee experience that enables teams to deliver their best work? Today we’re passing on practical business tips from top executives who are effectively leading teams in this environment. These tips are designed to help you understand what you can do to make progress over the course of various timeframes: in an hour, a quarter, and a year.

What You Can Do in One Hour

Karthik Chakkarapani, Vice President, Digital Transformation and Technology, Cisco

You can set up an online community, like interdisciplinary Slack channels, to encourage collaboration across your teams. A weekly brainstorming question posed by leadership – e.g. What’s a creative way to engage our vendors this week? – can help ensure everyone at all levels of the organization feels they are contributing to the business’ broader strategy.

Nir Eyal, Behavioral Design Consultant, Bestselling Author of “Indistractable”

Building a distraction-free workplace is an important part of the employee experience. You can start with very simple changes, like dedicating an hour for your team to talk openly about what’s distracting them. This sort of dialogue helps engender psychological safety and build more empathy among colleagues, who are now more attuned to their teammates’ different working styles and preferences.

John M. Doel, Partner, Digital Human Resources Transformation, KPMG

Design a quick survey – accessible from anywhere and on any connected device – that collects your team’s thoughts on culture, returning to in-person work, and other relevant topics that drive your organization’s employee experience. Such surveys should take less than five minutes to complete, and use a sliding number scale for easy answers to a consistent set of questions: How well is leadership supporting your goals? How does your work-life balance feel this week? That aggregated data, as simple as it is, paints a useful picture of your employee experience (EX) over time.

What You Can Do in One Quarter

Michele Yetman, Executive Vice President, Employee Success, Tableau and Salesforce

You can create a strong employee survey in a week, but the results will only become meaningful over the course of a few months, when leadership can identify trends over time. Leaders need to think about what problem they need to solve, and data tells you this story. For example, where are people falling out of your pipeline in the hiring process? What outliers can you spot when visualizing data? Data surfaces hidden opportunities that can make a big impact.

John M. Doel, Partner, Digital HR Transformation, KPMG

Establish processes for employees across human resources, information technology (IT), finance, and other critical functional areas that respond to essential needs. This is an integral moment to rethink standard administrative protocols in the interest of meeting employees where they are, and making it easier to respond.

Nir Eyal, Behavioral Design Consultant, Bestselling Author of “Indistractable”

Enforce company-wide boundaries around meetings and technology. Leaders should be explicit about what’s expected of their employees when it comes to responding to Slacks, attending extraneous meetings, and pinging colleagues with questions. These shared guidelines ensure nobody feels guilty for reinforcing their distraction-free work environment.

What You Can Do in One Year

John M Doel, Partner, Digital HR Transformation, KPMG

Make sure your technology solutions speak to one another. This could mean integrating Slack, Google Docs, and your timesheet software to allow for a more streamlined and frictionless tech experience while working from home. Add new features, integrations, and digital automation to fill any gaps leftover.

Yusuf Tayob, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Salesforce Business Group

Develop a clear strategy for getting back into the workplace safely, and share it broadly for input before locking it in. This approach promotes employee health, safety, and wellbeing in parallel with mobilizing operations for security, compliance, and performance. Returning to the workplace is a journey and an actual test of how business leaders will not only build trust with their people and customers, but how they will reinvent business.

Michele Yetman, Executive Vice President, Employee Success, Tableau and Salesforce

Recent research indicates that 80% of employees want some connection to the office, but almost half of them just want to come in once per week – or less. To continue innovating in a changing world, you have to stay abreast of their needs. This could include reimagining how you use the office to connect, collaborate, and work, continuing virtual staff meetings to ensure equality for all participants, and coming together in person for your most creative work that requires interaction.

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