Leadership, employee experience and the Zoom ceiling – Interview with Dr Elora Voyles of TINYpulse


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Today’s interview is with Dr. Elora Voyles, an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and People Scientist with TINYpulse, a provider of employee engagement and feedback software. Dr Elora joins me to talk about how the Zoom ceiling is the new glass ceiling, challenges with the move to a more hybrid way of working, the impact on the employee experience, who suffers the most and what leaders should be doing and paying attention to.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – An #IA40 recognized app that is focusing on making agents experts on day one – Interview with Brittany Bell of Cresta – and is number 416 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Dr Elora:

  • Dr Elora’s Zoom Ceiling piece.
  • The Zoom ceiling really gets at this idea that remote workers don’t have the same opportunities as in person workers.
  • This comes from leaders not acknowledging remote workers as much or seeing their accomplishments. It also comes from biases that leaders may have about remote workers.
  • Stanford study from 2015 found that although remote workers are more productive compared to their in office colleagues, their promotion rates were roughly half compared to those in the office.
  • A recent Robert Half study also said that remote workers are putting in more hours per day.
  • There are leaders who may have explicit feelings against remote work but there are also others that have more subtle biases that are not immediately obvious like not seeing remote workers as potential leaders in their organization because they are remote.
  • Check out McGregor’s X and Y theory of leadership that could explain some of these biases.
  • Over the last two years we have made some big assumptions about the capability of leaders to operate in a very different way.
  • There hasn’t been enough focus on the types of leaders we need for remote work. It requires very different skills.
  • Remote managers have to be able to communicate with their employees and trust them to be able to complete the task.
  • The Zoom ceiling affects some groups more than others namely women, people from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities many of whom may prefer remote work for their own various reasons.
  • So, what should leaders managers be doing to make sure that they’re treating all their employees and particularly those working remotely equitably…
    • Formalize Remote Work Role Policies
    • 1-on-1 Meeting with Managers
    • Establish Equality for Meetings
    • Increase Flexibility for All Workers
    • Standardize Performance Evaluation Methods
  • Overall, they should focus on outcomes rather than things like ‘bums in seats’.
  • The article really focuses on managers and their responsibilities but there is also a responsibility for remote workers to advocate more for themselves.
  • You’ve got to take responsibility for your own performance.
  • You can’t be a passive actor and then expect good things to happen. You have to become proactive in your own performance, career, output and achievement.
  • One of the big areas that we’re gonna need to get smarter on very quickly is how do we manage and lead in a remote environment and how do we make that work in combination with working face to face with others.
  • Dr Elora’s big piece of advice:
    • My number one advice for being a successful leader is to listen so that you can provide the right amount of structure for employees to be able to excel. So, really understanding what their current talents are, what kind of difficulties they face, their motivations, their needs. Understanding all of that can help you set the stage so that they can have reasonable goals that are motivating to them. I think that’s ultimately what most employees want is to be listened to and to have a place where they can succeed.
  • Dr Elora’s Punk CX word: Adaptive
  • Dr Elora’s Punk XL leader: Herb Kelleher at Southwest.


About Dr. Elora

Dr Elora Voyles headshotDr. Elora Voyles is an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and People Scientist with TINYpulse, a provider of employee engagement and feedback software. She has a strong background in organizational consulting. Client organizations have ranged from small local businesses to Global Fortune 500 organizations. Dr. Voyles’ consulting expertise includes survey design, data analysis, employee engagement, and action planning.

Check out TINYpulse, Dr Elora’s Zoom Ceiling piece, say Hi to the folks at TINYpulse on Twitter @TINYpulse and feel free to connect with Dr Elora on LinkedIn here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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