If you hang out with chickens, you are going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly.
Businesses have been transforming faster than ever before and moving at a pace greater than ever before. At the same time, their challenges have been incredibly high on all fronts. They have to put their best foot forward everywhere. Stakeholders have been demanding; the competition for resources has intensified; government regulations have been dynamic and above all, the demand patterns and consumer behaviours have been continuously evolving. If we focus on human resources, challenges galore.
What are employees looking for?
Employees need a compelling value proposition that comprises several drivers, as always. In today’s context, inspiring leadership, financial stability, growth opportunities and fair practices have become more important than the hygiene factors such as a safe environment, attractive rewards, freedom, colleagues one relates with and leadership practices that offer instant gratification, quick feedback and adequate flexibility. It is a long list of expectations. How do we deliver on all these squarely and create a long-lasting relationship with our employees?
How do we engage them?
The pandemic is a thing of the past for most regions in the world. Employees and organisations have learnt to get things done while working remotely. At the same time, organisations have understood the value of building social capital and inducting newcomers to the way of life at the organisation. New joiners have struggled to get soaked in the culture of the organisation. They take time to understand which behaviours are appreciated and which are not. The world of work is now a hybrid of working from the office and places away from the office. Given this backdrop, our old methods of inspiring employees, building trust with them and getting them to represent the employer organisation with pride must change.
Leaders have to communicate more frequently and every time, with transparency and a genuine interest to build mutual trust. They have to articulate more than ever before the directions the company is taking and why it is so. We have to build platforms where our colleagues can be involved in crafting the future of the organisation, surfacing the challenges they face and developing probable solutions.
Above all, work is integral to people’s lives. Each organisation has its purpose, different from its peers in the same cohort. Let us examine the purpose statements of two iconic consumer brands: Nestle and Unilever.
Nestle’s purpose is to enhance the quality of life and contribute to a healthier future. Unilever defines its purpose as creating a better future every day and helping people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them as well as for the planet. The two statements have many similarities and at the same time, each of them has unique aspects such as concern for the planet and health.
Leadership actions must reflect what their purpose statement has been. The HR team has to ensure that the new joiners relate to this purpose fully and that the existing employees are adequately enthused by the purpose. The company’s leadership dashboard must show the progress it is making along the parameters defining the purpose of the organisation. This dashboard has to be in public view if the organisation truly embodies its purpose. Employees feel naturally excited and enthused as they see the purpose permeate through all the business processes.