Jeannette Boulanger
Manager | CPA, CA, M. Sc. | Human resources consulting

For many businesses, telework has been safe solution for remaining operational. But how to achieve successful teamwork in such a context?

Lockdown measures have revolutionized the way we work and telework is now mainstream. At the height of the pandemic last spring, more than 60% of Quebecers ended up working from home.

With everyone located off-site, it can be hard to get your team on the same page and focus on shared objectives. But before tackling the unique challenges of remote teams, it’s worth revisiting the basics of effective teamwork.

Effective teamwork is a shared responsibility

Even though every team is unique, there are three main pillars for optimal teamwork that apply across the board.

Setting clear expectations and objectives

Above all else, it’s important to establish common performance indicators. That is, how results will be measured and what targets team members are expected to achieve. When assessing these indicators, ask yourself:

  • Is everyone aware of and familiar with the company’s work and/or performance objectives? Is everyone on board to meet them?
  • Are the expectations and objectives specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART)?
  • Do all team members have the skills needed to achieve these goals?

Ensuring healthy interactions between team members

Next, it’s important to assess how people interact within and between teams. Each person’s attitudes and behaviours—both formal and informal—toward the shared objectives impacts the results. To assess this factor and determine if it needs to be addressed, consider the following:

  • Are there barriers that hinder interaction between team members?
  • Are team members able to influence each other?
  • How are decisions made within the team?

Implementing the right processes and procedures to ensure expectations and objectives are met

A third important aspect is your internal processes and procedures. They can help you assess each team members’ roles and responsibilities in relation to the established group objectives. When evaluating this indicator, ask:

  • What mechanisms are used for making team decisions?
  • What method is used for informal communications?
  • Do you have a telework policy?

Everyone is responsible for making sure the team works effectively. What’s more, everyone stands to gain by making this shared responsibility clear and implementing performance indicators aimed at helping you find solutions to problems as they arise.

Since workers are directly concerned by these three indicators, they can—and should—be part of the solution. After all, they’re in the best position to specify their preferences, flag issues that need improvement, propose ideas and develop strategies for improving the team’s work methods. Why not talk to your team about these issues today?

Bandeau Ressources humaines RH RCGT

How to optimize your virtual team’s work

This isn’t going to happen magically. It’s going to take some effort. When the pandemic struck, telework was introduced so that workers could stay safe and organizations could stay afloat. Today, many businesses are reaping the benefits of remote work arrangements, but they’re also discovering the drawbacks. A number of specialist publications have noted that telework can negatively impact group cohesion and communication, as well as individual roles and relationships with authority.

Even though it’s up to both managers and team members to make remote work productive and pleasant, here are a few tips for stacking the cards in your group’s favour:

  • Choose high-performance tech tools that your team knows how to use;
  • Make sure the team’s goals are clear and engaging;
  • Focus on group leadership;
  • Define and support a structure that outlines each person’s objectives, roles, tasks and expectations;
  • Communicate clearly;
  • Document group discussions to make sure everyone is on the same page;
  • Keep virtual teams informed of upcoming changes;
  • Set aside time to check in with your team;
  • Take time to get to know each team member.

Interested in optimizing teamwork within your group? Would your workforce benefit from solutions that address specific organizational needs? Contact us for more information about our personalized team consolidation services. Our multidisciplinary experts would be pleased to recommend solutions tailored to your needs.

This article was written in collaboration with Marie-Pierre Chabot, Organizational Psychologist and Human Resources Advisor.

07 Oct 2020  |  Written by :

Jeannette Boulanger is a Human Resources Consulting expert at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact...

See the profile

Next article

The pandemic has changed purchasing patterns and some new consumer habits are here to stay. Your business needs to adapt. But how?

New consumer habits are affecting all businesses, including those that cater to consumers (B2C) and those that serve other companies (B2B).

We’ve seen various new consumer trends emerge since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the most striking.

Essentials-only budgets

Consumers are taking a cautious approach to spending and focusing more on savings. When they do open their wallets, it’s for essentials. Non-essential spending remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Online shopping

Online sales have increased in most consumer categories. In fact, Quebec recorded a 118% year-over-year spike in e-commerce transactions in 2020. The most dramatic increase was in online sales of household appliances, electronics, building materials and home renovation products, which skyrocketed by 625%.

Consumers have also largely embraced home delivery and in-store pick-up services. These changes are likely to be permanent.

Wavering loyalty

The crisis has shaken consumers’ loyalty to their pre-COVID favourites. In some cases, it’s because businesses didn’t have a robust online offer, while other reasons include complicated return policies and product supply issues. Faced with these obstacles, consumers were forced to turn to the competitors that had strong digital channels, including for essential expenses such as groceries or household goods.

Safety first

It comes as no surprise that the pandemic has led to a sharp rise in consumer concern for public health and safety. More than ever before, people want to know what businesses are doing to keep them safe.

Buy local

The pandemic has triggered a shift toward seeking products made and grown locally. This is particularly true in Quebec, where interest in buying local has risen faster than elsewhere in Canada [Léger and Lg2 Survey, May 2020]. In addition, several government and regional initiatives—such as Panier bleu and Stratégie nationale d’achat d’aliments québécois—have come out in recent months to encourage Quebecers to choose local products and services.

Does your business still offer what customers want?

To find out how these new trends have impacted your customer base, you’ve got to connect with your target audience, using whatever means possible. Your options include calling key customers directly, sending a courtesy email or short survey to your subscribers, or posting an open-ended question on social media. The simplest solutions are often the best ones. Once you’ve gauged their new needs and expectations, you’ll be ready to adjust your offer.

Realigning your value proposition

Your value proposition describes how you meet customer needs and differentiate yourself from the competition. It’s what makes you unique.

By defining or redefining your value proposition, you can gain a better understanding of your target market, while ensuring that you still offer what they’re looking for. In addition to being the basis for your sales pitch, your value proposition can help inform your communications content and digital strategy.

Given the recent shift in consumer habits, it’s essential to make sure your value proposition is still relevant. To get started, ask yourself the following:

  • What are your customers looking to accomplish?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What are their expectations in terms of value or perks?

Next, ask yourself:

  • How do your products and services create value for customers?
  • How do they address consumer irritants?

The answers to these questions can help you figure out how to effectively appeal to prospective and existing customers.

The exercise might also make you realize that your business model is outdated and no longer meets the needs of your customers. If that’s the case, you’ll have to reshape your business model to meet evolving needs.

Simple and relatively inexpensive changes can have a major impact on customer satisfaction, translating into improved retention rates.

With change happening all around us, maintaining the status quo simply isn’t an option.

Next article

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has published Interest Rate Benchmark Reform – Phase 2 (Amendments to IFRS 9, IAS 39, IFRS 7, IFRS 4 and IFRS 16), finalizing its response to the ongoing reform of interest rate benchmarks around the world. The amendments aim to assist reporting entities to provide investors with useful information about the effects of the reform on their financial statements.

Many interbank offered rates (IBORs) are expected to be replaced by new benchmark risk-free rates (RFRs) in future reporting periods. This has resulted in the IASB needing to address potential financial reporting implications for both before and after the reform of an interest rate benchmark. The IASB has completed this project in two stages, the first one focussing on providing relief for hedging relationships before the reform takes place, which was finalized in September 2019, by publishing Interest Rate Benchmark Reform (Amendments to IFRS 9, IAS 39 and IFRS 7). This second set of amendments focuses on issues arising post replacement, i.e., when the existing interest rate benchmark is actually replaced with alternative benchmark rates.

Download the IFRS Adviser Alert for more information.

Next article

Emilio B. Imbriglio
President and Chief Executive Officer | FCPA, FCA, MBA, CFE, ICD.D.

Here is an excerpt of the letter sent by Emilio B. Imbriglio, our President and CEO, to the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance of Canada, on September 25, 2020.

Subject: Public finance and the recovery: Overcoming two challenges for competitiveness and prosperity in Canada

Dear Minister,

On behalf of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, I would first like to extend our warmest congratulations on your recent appointment as Minister of Finance. I wish you every success in your new position, particularly in the current context, which requires structural actions for the Canadian economy and its wealth-creating businesses. Your leadership and talent will certainly contribute to giving our economy and Canada’s economic drivers the momentum they need to succeed.

Further to the Throne Speech, where economic recovery is a priority, I would like to share with you some thoughts that aim to contribute to the competitiveness and sustainability of businesses, especially SMEs, while fostering a more competitive business climate. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has been acting as a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs and leaders for over 70 years, and particularly since Day 1 of the pandemic. Our team of 2,800 professionals in more than 100 offices across Quebec and in the Ottawa and Edmundston regions share the same ambition: to give local businesses the means to achieve their ambitions.

You can read the full letter (in French) in our pages.

25 Sep 2020  |  Written by :

Mr. Imbriglio is partner and the President & CEO of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is in charge...

See the profile