Thriving in the New Normal of the Post-Pandemic Workplace
Redefining company culture and creating a home-centric workforce are two ways Mr. Cooper has continued to thrive during the pandemic. Mr. Cooper has also leaned into the use of technology to empower data-driven decision-making and established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to better cater to the needs and expectations of their diverse teams. Here we talk about some of these initiatives and discuss how other companies can benefit from similar initiatives.
Mr. Cooper has proactively taken steps that have helped the company and their teams thrive in the new normal we all find ourselves in. These steps are designed to help overcome pandemic-driven issues on many different levels of the company, from hiring and remote work to corporate flexibility and establishing systems and processes that everyone can look to for guidance.
In the sections below, we talk about the impact of the pandemic on various aspects of business and how Mr. Cooper has navigated the resultant changes.
More Remote Work
Early on in the pandemic, many thought leaders predicted that the shift to more at-home work would be irreversible. Others argued that would only happen if post-shift productivity levels could compare with in-office levels. From what we’ve seen, after so many businesses have experimented with different types of long-term work models, individual contributions from employees working from home have not only been sustainable but the remote work model has clear advantages over in-office work.
For example, lower commute times can translate to lower travel and insurance expenses and lower lost work time between meetings. On the flip-side, a lack of breaks and coworker interaction can be draining, which is why it is important to balance at-home work with a healthy dose of in-person, online, and other networking and collaborative activities (more on that later).
The shift to more remote work has a marked impact on corporate culture, and how you maintain and enhance that culture virtually is critically important. Business leaders must be prepared to build on their existing culture and promote productivity, to create a strong sense of belonging, and help their teams navigate different virtual and remote work settings.
Build Agility Into Your Processes
The switch from in-office to remote work can have serious impacts on employees. Imagine never having to troubleshoot a broken printer to getting stuck on an important deliverable because your home printer is not working. You must build agility and flexibility into your processes and unblock your teams so that they can access what they need, when they need it.
The first part is having that agility and flexibility built into your processes. The other is educating workers on how and when to leverage the resources you provide them with. We talk about this next.
Provide Tools and Resources but Establish Norms and Expectations
Building a high-performance team is the job of the leader. Unblocking teams and providing them with the resources they need to excel are also the responsibility of the leader, as is educating teams about how to use and leverage the resources you provide them with.
Once you have those important work items taken care of, you must provide your teams with a checklist of norms and expectations that can help guide decision-making and prioritization. At Mr. Cooper, this often takes the form of their core principles of challenging conventions, championing their customers, and cheerleading their teams. Everyone should have clear guidelines on how you define success, how to achieve success, and what to do when faced with issues or challenges while pursuing the goals you have set for yourself.
You can also clear expectations for other items such as communications, daily responsibilities, how to hold successful online meetings, and other frameworks to follow to enjoy consistency and excellence in everything you do at work.
Use Data Wherever It Is Available
We live in a data-driven world, and this data should be creatively used to inform decisions. This data can come from productivity surveys, exit interviews, diversity/inclusion metrics, and user testing. What works, what works well, and where or how can holes in the system be identified and then remedied? Is open feedback encouraged at work? Are different viewpoints encouraged, or even accepted? Data on all these items can be used to iteratively improve processes to build a culture of acceptance and data-driven excellence – because the proof is in the pudding.
Everyone has different life experiences, expectations, and personal challenges. While the move to remote work has affected businesses and employees, it has also affected children, and many team members may have children at home who have struggles of their own with online Zoom classes and the stresses of what can only be called an irregular school year. You must show empathy to what will undoubtedly be a wide range of different needs of your team.
Mr. Cooper allows employees to share feedback whenever they want to roll out or change plans of any kind. They try to meet people where they are and proactively take steps to unblock them wherever they can. This can take the form of providing hardware for remote work, reimbursing mobile expenses, providing high-speed Internet, being considerate when it comes to meetings and scheduling, or providing personal and professional growth opportunities based on worker interests and goals.
From diversity and inclusion to shifts in the way we work; the pandemic has made it painfully clear just how dependent we all are on each other. At Mr. Cooper, they always strive to provide a safe, comfortable, warm, and welcoming environment for their teams, but as shifts in workplace norms, worker expectations, and industry benchmarks continue to evolve how they do business, they must be proactive in developing their thriving culture, encouraging innovation, and delivering value to their teams and clients.
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