Work with me – Increase the efficiency of your remote team
Good communication between employees is crucial for maintaining productivity. The Employee Manual is a way to help people better understand each other, avoid misunderstandings, speed up productive discussion and build a foundation of empathy. Find out what is Work with Me, how to introduce it to your company, and how you will benefit from it.
What is Work with Me
The Work with Me – otherwise known as the Employee Manual – is a document or a space where you can write your personal manual to help others understand who you are and how to work best with you. It's a place to discuss your preferences, motivations, needs, and weaknesses.
Employee Manual is a complex knowledge base allowing to discover individual communication styles and work patterns, which helps to anticipate and prevent potential conflicts and misunderstandings between team members.
The History of Manual of Me
The first mention of the concept of personal manuals occurred in 1982 in The One Minute Manager, where Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson talked about the importance of tailoring management approaches according to the unique qualities of team members.
But Work with Me became well-known in 2014, thanks to Adam Bryant, who discussed the idea of a Work With Me user manual in his article in New York Times. You can watch Bryant’s speech on The New Your Times Higher Ed Leaders Forum: The Leadership "User Manual" from 2017 to better understand his point of view
Employee Manual in the modern workplace
Today the need for creating employee manuals is strictly connected to new communication ways, the popularization of remote and hybrid work, and big enterprises. In a digitalized world based on online work, non-verbal speech and cues are harder to read, and while communication is based on writing, it's very easy to misunderstand the real intentions. This usually leads to conflicts and delays in work and may cause stress and tension in the workplace.
The Work with Me manual is understood as an employee handbook, which is a key to understanding their way of seeing things, work preferences and much more information to support cooperation.
Understanding how others work and communicate makes it easier to plan work on time and maintain good mental well-being, free from wondering if we were well-understood. Everyone is different. That's why employees need to recognize their differences and respect them in a way that facilitates teamwork.
Communication impact on employees' productivity
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, improved communication using social technologies can raise employees' productivity by even 25%.
But as a Zippia shows that 86% of employees blame poor communication as a primary reason for failures in the company. With better communication *70% of the workforce can be more productive. With the impact communication can have on the whole organization, introducing Work With Me is definitely a must-have.
Who is Manual of Me for
The employee manual is a knowledge base where everyone can introduce themselves and help others understand how to work together. That covers everyone: c-level employees, managers, and employees.
C-level employees can use it to get to know their employees. Especially in big companies where people don't see each other often, it's a great help when preparing for a meeting. It can also help create new teams based on employees' predispositions, characteristics, or personalities.
Managers and their teams can use this space to get to know each other better and understand how others like to work, how they communicate, and what makes them most excited about work. Employees then know that they shouldn't judge themselves hastily based on the tone of the message but focus more on the words and understanding the actual message. Managers can also use Work with Me to write down the manual for their teams about One-on-One meetings, daily meetings and other organizational matters.
But for everyone – no matter who they are – it's a great exercise to organize your knowledge about your work preferences and better understand yourself. It's important to know what you need to be productive, what motivates you, and what makes your work harder to take care of your optimal working conditions.
How Work with Me manual can help you on a daily basis
Manual of Me allows you to write about yourself and tell others how you prefer to contact when you reply on different communication channels and how you like to cooperate. By writing down this information, everyone can check them and understand you better. Thanks to this, others will be able to communicate with you the way you feel good, and you won't have to explain how you work every time you start working with a new person.
By understanding how others work and communicate, you can also plan your work day and talk to others based on that information, minimizing the possibility of misunderstanding and stressful situations. For example, some task-oriented people will answer you short and cold, and you're unsure if it's because of something you said. When you access this person's Work with Me, you can find information that while working, this person just replies this way, and it has nothing to do with their mood or attitude towards you.
The importance of feedback in ork communication
Feedback plays a pivotal role in workplace communication, catalyzing growth and improvement and fostering strong relationships within a team. It provides individuals with valuable insights into their performance, enabling them to identify areas of strength and areas that require development. Constructive feedback helps employees refine their skills and enhance their productivity, and fosters a culture of continuous learning and innovation within an organization.
Feedback encourages open and transparent communication, promoting a sense of trust and collaboration among team members. It serves as a powerful tool for clarifying expectations, resolving conflicts, and aligning individual and organizational goals. The regular exchange of feedback empowers individuals to reach their full potential and contributes to the overall success of the team and the organization as a whole.
But to make sure that feedback is working, you need to talk to others the way they understand your true intentions. To do so, it's very helpful, as a manager or employee, to know how to talk with a given person. Manual of Me is where you can learn how to communicate best to achieve your shared goals. Understanding how people react to feedback is key to creating a statement tailored to a specific person.
How Manual of Me can help your organization
Manual of me is beneficial for the whole organization. When everyone can access information about others, they can check them before a meeting with someone, before starting a new project, or just to find out more about who the person is. Talking about our strengths and weaknesses at work is always challenging - especially if we work remotely in a hybrid work model.
By giving people the place to write that information down, you build a culture of understanding and empathy that facilitates cooperation. Your employees work more productively, and they're less stressed. Their managers, too, understand how they like to work, so they can better plan work for the entire team.
When people understand each other, they have different ways of communicating, or how they act due to their cultural differences, it's easier to avoid tenses and misunderstandings that usually extend the duration of projects causing losses.
Many companies recognizable on the market decided to implement employee manuals for their employees, recognizing the potential that lies within them. Atlassian – a company well known for such products as Jira, Confluence, Trello, or Bitbucket prepared their own User manual to help employees and support remote work.
Managers of Hubspot use their GitHub profiles to write the Manual of Me for their teams. It’s another way to do it, different from creating a whole new tool for this purpose, but as the one above, it’s also good to provide important information. Spotify employee prepared his Work with Me in the form of the slideshow.
How to introduce Work with Me to the organization
The first thing to do is to decide on the medium or tool the Manual of Me will be written down. There are many ways to do so, from the most basic ones, like - using a docs file to write the manual, to introducing the Work with Me tool to your current tech stack. When you choose the tool, you need to prepare questions your employees should answer. Remember that you shouldn’t require to fill in all responses – just those your employees will find important for them.
Before introducing the Work with Me to everyone in your company, you should start by talking to your C-level employees to fill out their manual first to encourage other employees to do it after it’s announced. This way, people will feel more comfortable sharing information about themselves. It’s also good to prepare some example answers for employees to use – it’s a simple way to help them think of what they would like to tell about themselves.
Introducing the concept of "Work with Me" to an organization requires careful planning and effective communication. It's important to clearly articulate the purpose and benefits of this approach. Explaining that "Work with Me" emphasizes collaboration, open dialogue, and teamwork can help employees understand how it can enhance their individual and collective productivity. Highlighting the positive outcomes, such as improved problem-solving, increased innovation, and enhanced employee satisfaction, can generate enthusiasm and support for the initiative.
How to encourage employee to fill their profiles
To ensure employees will fill out their manuals, they need to feel it’s okay to do so. That’s why the involvement of C-level employees is needed to lead by example. Reading the manuals of people in high positions can help others believe sharing something about themselves is okay. It’s also important not to require answers from employees – start with no pressure and a good example, and the others will follow.
Remember to underline that employees don’t have to answer all the questions, but only those they feel are important for better understanding and cooperating with them. With less pressure and no obligation to fill everything in, people feel less stressed and are more likely to fill out their manuals. Employees should also be encouraged to update and change their information as they change or find a new way to communicate.
Of course – the proper introduction with values and purpose of introducing the Employee Manual mentioned in the paragraph above is the most important thing to do. Reminding employees about those benefits and purposes is also good to do occasionally.
How to choose your Employee Manual format
When choosing a format of Work with Me, you can decide between simple solutions like docs or slide shows. Both solutions are okay, but navigating them will take a lot of work. That’s why it’s good to think about some dedicated tool that will help you manage Employees Manuals and makes it easy for employees to check their colleagues’ manuals.
Where's the best place to create your Work with Me manual
Depending on when you work and in which position you work, different tools can be suitable for you. For freelancers, the best place to prepare the Work with Me manual is a place where it’s easy to share with various people they will be working with. That’s why for personal purposes, the best tools are:
But if you’re part of a company with multiple employees and a shared database, the best place for you is inside your current tech stack or, even better, in your HR management tool. This way, you can store all the employees' information in one well-protected place with a dedicated tool that will make preparing your Work with Me, answering the questions, and searching for the data much easier and without a need for additional onboarding.
What are the key elements of Work With Me?
As a HR management tool, we were inspired by power of this simple too. This is why from now everyone from your team can create their own manual inside Calamari App. After extensive research we have determined the key elements of a successful Work With Me manual. Here is what your document should look like.
About me - Leave a business card for people who join your teams. Briefly introduce yourself, tell where you come from, and talk about your professional experience. You don't have to tell your whole life story. Describe specifically what you are currently doing in your department and what problems people can turn to you for help with.
Contact Me - In this section, you can indicate your preferred contact channels and times. Write about how you like to receive feedback. Mention any limitations, cultural differences, and time zones. When it comes to communication, it's best not to leave anything to guesswork but to clearly define expectations.
Collaboration - Usually, we want people to remember what is important to us, even if we mentioned it only once, years ago... Thanks to these answers, everyone can come back to these issues at any time in the future. Help others understand how to work with you best. Answering the questions visible next to this text will shorten the learning curve of working with others. It will improve the efficiency and atmosphere at work.
Me as a manager - When you work with someone you don't know very well, getting used to their way of working can take a lot of time. Describing these expectations, quirks, and tips reduces ambiguity and surprises. So, if you're a manager, describe your perspective, expectations, and constraints. If you state them explicitly, people will spend less time observing and inferring, and more time working.
Inspirations - Each of us is different. We don't all resonate on the same wavelength. Most of the time we don't talk about it, but most of us expect everyone to know how we work, and then we get upset when they don't meet our expectations. Describe what fills you with passion, what projects excite you, and what your superpowers are. Also, write explicitly about what bothers and irritates you at work. Sometimes it's just small things, but they can throw you off balance.
Me after work - Everyone has some interests and passions to which he devotes his free time. Everyone is waiting for something, is proud of something, and remembers something fondly. Share it with others. This will help create a friendlier tone and can be a game changer in building a great relationship. People will see you as a human being with emotions, strengths and weaknesses.
Additional - It is difficult to anticipate each person's expectations and point of view. We realize that the above categories and questions may not have covered everything you would like to say to your colleagues. If there's anything else you have in mind, please describe it here.
Work with me is a great way to help employees get to know each other and improve their communication. With a dedicated tool you can easily prepare an employee manual, so if you still looking for your Manual of Me, try Calamari for 14 days for free.
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