Socio-culturally, after the pandemic, all of us are looking for greater flexibility and compassion from our employers than ever before. Organisations have been trying hard to come to terms with the new reality of hybrid work; at the same time, they are faced with volatility and uncertainty in the marketplace. As a result, the new world of work is complex and demanding at the same time. People managers are in the process of adjusting their styles to keep pace with the business and adapt to the new realities such as hybrid work, gig economy, great resignation, quiet quitting and many more!
This is not old wine in a new bottle
Some people think that the pandemic is gone and businesses are back to their usual pace and norms. As we carefully examine the impact of the pandemic on humanity, we realise that many of our old beliefs are no more valid. There is a new order in the set of expectations from the employees.
They are more concerned about well-being – both physical and mental; they seek flexibility in terms of the boundaries of work hours, workplace, employment contract and workload. Many employees are showing intolerance with ambiguities at the workplace. They need their boss to be clear about the goals, career path, performance feedback, development opportunities, and norms for rewards and recognition. These changes are significant and call for managers to be able to deal with them.
Culture holds the key
Firstly, all organisations are not equally nimble at adapting to changes in the environment. Since our business environment has been volatile and uncertain, every firm has to keep evolving fast and thus, the systems and processes have to change accordingly, employees have to embrace the changes in work processes and their daily routines, and organisation structures might change and thus, the role descriptions and the performance metrics get redefined. These are major changes in business and call upon everyone in the firm to exhibit tremendous agility in their behaviours.
Are the senior leaders and the managers down the line ready to embrace agility and stay ahead? As employees seek clarity and transparency, the managers have to be honest, transparent and proactive. They need to be bold to review their current practices, acknowledge the gaps where they exist and draw up a change programme to either bridge the gaps or launch new habits and behaviours.
Lead the change
Hybrid work is the new normal; employees’ desire for a flexible work environment, transparency, compassion and fairness is real. We cannot afford to look the other way in the name of being externally focused and ignore these socio-cultural changes impacting the behaviours of our workforce. One of the crucial factors behind recent phenomena such as quiet quitting, great resignation and moonlighting is the inability of the organisations to stand up to this reality. Managers have to lead this change!
Employees are losing their emotional connection with the organisation, its purpose and its vision. Many of them identify themselves as mere tools in the hands of their managers and hence, in their minds, they see their worth in terms of the compensation largely; hence, they are on a constant lookout for opportunities to maximise their salaries. This is not a favourable development for any organisation from a long-term perspective. Managers have to bring their mojo back to play such that their team members start seeing the big picture, relate to it, own the responsibilities holistically, ignore the negatives in the environment, suggest changes and commit to the long-term vision of the organisation.