September 29, 2021

Join me this October for more NCEO Networking!

Director of Culture and Engagement

The NCEO’s 2021 Fall Forum broke new records once again this year with more than 700 people joining us virtually from across the country and world. Many of this year’s attendees participated in a series of roundtables where employee-owners and professionals hosted conversations and networking opportunities addressing some of the ESOP world’s most talked about topics. On October 13th we will continue the conversation around one of these topics: remote and hybrid work challenges. Read on for a few highlights from the conversations that took place at the Forum.

Getting Comfortable with the Virtually Uncomfortable 

When should you turn your Zoom camera on? When is it okay to leave it off? You have likely asked yourself this question a hundred times in the past year and, unless your company has communicated its expectations clearly, you’re still asking. At one of the Forum roundtables, many attendees agreed that a balance should be struck. Being visible in one-on-one communications or small team meetings was likely taken for granted pre-COVID. 

In fact, team members being able to pick up on non-verbal cues has been shown to improve overall team performance according to research done by Google as part of their impressive Aristotle Project initiative. While keeping the cameras off may be appropriate for meetings with ten or more people, it’s probably a good idea to make it clear that turning those cameras on for your team’s regular and important meetings in focused groups is part of your success.

Virtual Hiring and Onboarding 

The topic of hiring and onboarding was a big point of discussion before many businesses decided to go virtual. With challenges and new work realities being expedited during the pandemic, these topics have not only evolved, they have also become more nuanced.

The upside for many companies is that the pool of potential new team members has grown significantly because they can hire impressive talent beyond their own area code. Representative employee-teams are still highly involved in these processes, with several companies in our discussion involving different groups in multi-stage hiring initiatives looking for both experience and the best cultural fit. That last part may be just as challenging as onboarding folks once they’re hired. For tips on hiring and onboarding, see our blog post Using Employee Ownership to Recruit New Employees. Companies may also want to include Working at an ESOP in their job postings.

Fall Forum attendees shared that they make sure to keep connecting with new hires as well as one another in planned informal virtual meetings that are structured to get colleagues acquainted on a more casual and personal level. With a focus on improved onboarding and relationship building, one ESOP company created a buddy system for new hires which was especially important during 2020 and 2021. New hires had the opportunity to connect with their “buddy,” a non-managerial colleague, on a regularly structured basis to check-in and cover any questions or concerns they may have in the early months. This not only creates better engagement between these two team members, but it provides a structure and safe environment to cover topics a new hire may feel uncomfortable talking about with their direct supervisor.

For more opportunities like this, be sure to RSVP for our October 13th for another NCEO Virtual Networking event where we will share stories on how companies are navigating the new virtual, remote, or hybrid work world!