Permanent Practices

Team Management Trends for Businesses Emerge From Pandemic Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw has always had remote staff, but it never reached the hei…

Team Management Trends for Businesses Emerge From Pandemic

Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw has always had remote staff, but it never reached the heights it has during the coronavirus pandemic. One major change in the typical workday at the health care provider has been the increase in “virtual visits” between patients and doctors.

“We went from, I could count them on one hand … to doing 900 to 1,000 virtual visits a day,” said Covenant Executive Vice President for Operations and Chief Nursing Officer Beth Charlton.

Those changes at Covenant and elsewhere went way beyond the examination room, as the pandemic forced many regional businesses to change business practices on the fly. That included everything from allowing remote work to doing online candidate interviews to new workspace plexiglass shielding and distancing.

In doing so, workers and managers alike are finding they like some of those changes better.

“We’re going to get back to a new norm. But I think it’s going to be a good one. We’ll leverage the best of what we learned and apply it going forward,” Charlton said. “And so, people need to begin to take a little comfort in that. It’ll be a new norm, but it won’t forever be unsettled. … We’re on the right path.”

Jay Hawreluk, CEO of the AcuMax Index, a psychometric assessment tool, said the pandemic is speeding up a tech-driven search for efficiencies and organizational improvements that had already been underway.

“I expect remote working to continue and the use of psychometrics (online evaluations of potential employees) to continue in growing numbers in a post-pandemic world,” he said.

Magen Samyn, regional vice president of marketing for McLaren Bay Region, said that approximately 50 of the health group’s employees worked remotely during the pandemic.

“We are evaluating the continued use of remote work for them,” she said, noting that even potential employees are seeing a shift.

“In trying to reduce the number of individuals who came into the hospital, we started doing virtual interviews with our candidates. It has worked out very well, and we plan to continue this process as an option going forward,” Samyn said.

At SK Saran Americas in Midland, a producer of plastic resin, changes have included having only essential manufacturing employees working on-site, discouraging groups in common areas and greater use of face coverings, among other changes.

“I believe we will retain some of our administrative controls focused on social distancing and protecting our employees against contracting a virus,” SK Saran Midland Site Director Steve Persyn said.

Social distancing is tougher to maintain in the hospitality industry, where person-to-person experiences are the point. At the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge in Frankenmuth, the long-term response to the pandemic may include the reinforcement of an existing foundational mindset.

“We have a German phrase, and it’s geduld. It means patience,” said Bavarian Inn Lodge Vice President Martha Zehnder Kaczynski. “We use that term a lot, and we all need a lot of patience. We don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. … I think the No. 1 thing that we have learned — and we always try to practice it — is to have some geduld, to have some patience with each other and with ourselves as we’re learning all about this.”


Hiring by Hardwiring

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t create demand for psychometric assessments as much as it sped up a trend toward scientifically appraising current and potential employees.

Even before COVID-19 spurred socially distant job interviews, the percentage of U.S employers using digital personality assessments was at 13% and growing, according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Such assessments use situational questions to “measure innate human hardwiring … It tells me the environment that you best thrive within: how you value ideas, how you communicate, how you process thoughts, your unique work style and how you make decisions,” said Jay Hawreluk, author and CEO of AcuMax Index, a Michigan-based psychometric assessment provider.

“When you work to align your employees and teams based on their hardwiring, they’re more satisfied, they’re more productive, they enjoy their work more — and the whole organization wins,” he said.


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