Expert Interviews: Lauren Williams, Workplace Harmony
“Break down those barriers to improve communication in the workplace”
Tell us a little about Workplace Harmony and your specialty:
I'm a human capital and organizational development firecracker. I love helping owners enhance their culture to keep people happy and thriving at work! I help leaders by letting them know what changes need to occur so that the culture of the company becomes the best it can be. I am a trusted advisor to business owners that care about forward momentum, efficiency, productivity, and profitability! I understand company culture. I help to fix problems and make all of the living, moving parts of a company work towards one goal.
What’s unique about your services?
I can easily walk into a company and read the flow of people. With an HR and Finance background, I work with C level people and guide them towards what needs to change so that the culture of the company becomes the best it can be. When everyone is happy and moving in the same direction, the company is more profitable!
One of the key things we find unique about Workplace Harmony, you’re here to help employers/management with properly communicating/engaging with their employees. Please share how different this is in terms of general HR services.
General HR services can really help a business with structure and process and sometimes employee engagement and employee relations. Our services differ from HR services because we recognize with every project or program we deliver, there is change. Change is scary to 95% of people, the other 5% are in denial. We help leaders communicate why change is necessary, what it means for the people, and how it will impact that. We also help craft custom communication plans that mean communication is consistent and frequent. One of the common problems in companies is lack of communication, Workplace Harmony breaks down those barriers to improve communication, build trust, and enhance workplaces.
What’s great about you, you do have a background in HR but have flipped the script in directing your skills a little more towards the employees' benefit. Please share your background with us and how it’s directed you to where you are today.
My background is in Finance and Accounting, so I am not the typical HR person with an angle on people only programs. I understand that every decision comes with a price and that businesses need to be profitable. I also know how to read financial models and statements and look at the bigger picture. This means I talk to my clients about people as much as I talk to them about long term strategic plans. It all needs to work together or the work I do will be ancient in no time if not aligned to the long term vision of the business.
What are some of the greatest challenges you see business owners facing today? Employees?
One of the greatest challenges I see with business owners is that they are afraid to have crucial conversations with their people. They spend a lot of time and energy working around the heart of an issue rather than tackling it head-on. Often times, once they get it out on the table the business owner and the person can move forward effectively together. I work with many of my clients on how to frame a difficult or sensitive conversation so that they are kind and respectful but also direct. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge another large challenge facing employers today. They have to contend with a pandemic and uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that are at an all-time high with employees. Business owners are anxious to get back to some form of normal work, but at the same time have to be careful with pushing too hard, too soon. Many employees are not ready or unable to come back to work for a variety of reasons. Owners need to put some thought into a return to work program that works for the business while being sensitive to individual employee needs.
Employment has hit an all-time worst in a long time due to COVID-19. What do you predict the rest of this year looking like for most companies?
I'm optimistic that employment will pick back up and this pandemic may highlight a need for a new type of worker. One that is extremely agile and a jack-of-all-trades where they can cover 1, 2, 3 jobs at once. This may sound counter-intuitive to employee engagement but I believe those multi-position players will be at an advantage once more employers begin to hire. The remainder of 2020 may look fuzzy for employers. By fuzzy, I mean that there will be a lot of gray areas. How to approach employees about workplace safety, mask-wearing, and social distancing will be a new challenge. Also, they are most likely working with a different version of team, some hybrid of working from home and in person. They have to contend with parents and caregivers unable to return for one reason or another. It's going to take a lot from employers to provide the right structure and flexibility but trust me those that get it right will be much better off in the long run in terms of being an employer of choice. I've said many times people won't remember company revenues but they will remember how they were treated during the pandemic.
Because of the support offered by our government with unemployment and the extra $600 per week benefit, how do you see this impacting things in terms of getting folks back to work?…and their mindset?
That's a tough one, I understand that people in some cases are making more on unemployment than when employed. This is definitely having an impact on employers and businesses. Employers should encourage people to return while also acknowledging their unemployment benefits are good. The thing is unemployment runs out and then these people won't have any job or income. They are better off sacrificing a short term gain for long term security. Also, employers could get creative and consider additional incentives such as spot bonuses, quarterly incentives, or other bonus payments which help people when they come back.
You have a podcast I find to be fun and therapeutic called; “Caffeinated Convos & Horrible Bosses” please share with us what the show is all about.
My podcast is all about that one bad boss that everyone has had and what can be learned from that. We all worked for someone who was just awful either as a leader or a human. My horrible boss was pure evil. She was disrespectful, derogatory, and incredibly insecure. I grew from that and believe that part of the reason I do what I do is so no one ever has to work for anyone like that again. The wonderful piece of the podcast, which I never expected, was that people love sharing their good boss stories and they completely rave about the good bosses. The podcast is a great way to break up a day, laugh a little, and learn some too. I'm also a huge advocate for all-day coffee drinking so this gives me an added excuse to refill my mug.
How can people find your podcast?
iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast, and my website https://harmonyworkplace.com we also link each new episode to all of our social channels Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
What’s your typical client base?
My ideal client is under 200 employees, any revenue size in high growth mode experiencing rapid changes and transitions. Their pain points are changed and they struggle with helping their employees understand, process, and thrive during this time. They also usually need their managers to be highly effective leaders during change.
How should people get in touch for your services?
The best way is to request an appointment through my calendar link. I really like to talk to people and understand their challenges. https://HarmonyWorkplace.as.me/
Is there anything else you’ll like to share with the readers?
Yes, all the readers need to know how very talented and special Gracie Jones is. From the moment I met her I was drawn to her energy, honesty, and character. Every single time I have the pleasure of speaking with her I walk away feeling great with some pep in my step. Also, she has the most adorable glasses!
Thank you Lauren for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us about your expertise in developing a more harmonized workplace, I’m sure this will be beneficial to our readers.
Please contact Lauren and her team at Workplace Harmony for Organization Development and Change it’s remarkable how a little clarity can go a long way.
Continue to watch out for more interviews, tips, and advice from amazing experts like Lauren Williams. Lauren is a great friend to our brand and is often a speaker with our virtual events and expert chats.
Lauren, as usual, it’s been a pleasure!
Until next time,
Check out the video chat between Lauren and Gracie:
Contact Lauren Williams for consulting services www.harmonyworkplace.com