Are the leaders in your business truly understanding and embracing what your employees want? Do they understand the importance of providing flexibility and continuing to invest in learning and development even as we get hit with budget restraints?
For our second webinar in the ‘Talent Insights Event Series’, hosted in conjunction with HiBob, we got to chat with industry experts, Natalie Firth, Head of People & Culture at Future Super, Sam Garven, Head of People & Culture at Bound, and our host, Damien Andreasen, Vice President (APJ) of HiBob, about helping your employees continue to thrive in an ever changing workplace world.
There’s certainly been a huge shift in how workplaces operate in the last 24 months (thanks Covid). As Sam highlighted, ‘before Covid it was all about being in the office and that in-person culture’. Since the pandemic swept through and changed our lives, employees still want to have ‘the same sort of engagement and still be able to collaborate, but we all need to do it from home’.
Some employees however don’t want to work in their pyjamas and are looking to get back to that face-to-face connection. As Sam highlighted, it’s all about ‘really being able to listen to people and [trying to] move with them as they shift’ in order to provide equal opportunities for everyone.
As well as workplace structures, Natalie feels Covid has had a massive impact on employee’s personal priorities.
“I think a lot of people looked inward at that time and really started thinking about what was important to them… I want to prioritise my family, I want to prioritise my health.”
With a bigger focus on mental health, coupled with more people working in isolation, Natalie feels leaders need to be taking the extra steps to make sure their employees are ok.
“I often would say to my team, I can’t see you, I can’t hear you … so if you are having a bad day or something’s going on, we need to have that psychological safety to be able to tell each other ’ … it’s a different way of leading.”
Damien highlighted an important point about ‘hyper-availability’. With more digital channels to connect with our workplaces and more people working in global teams and getting messages at all hours of the night, what are the expectations? ‘Where are the guidelines for me to be able to operate safely and know that I can switch off and not respond?’
Output over hours
This shift into hybrid and remote working has also changed the dynamic of flexibility in workplaces. Sam pointed out that ‘flexibility for some people might be, I need to be able to do drop off and pick up. Flexibility for other people is, I have a side hustle … or I’m taking care of elderly parents.’ Then there’s ‘international employees who aren’t able to go see their family’. How do we build systems that accommodate these different needs?
Damien proposed a potential solution – ‘output over hours’. Instead of focusing on how much someone works, look at how much work they’re actually completing.
To make this effective however, Sam highlighted leaders need to make sure they have an understanding about ‘what it is that [employees are] set to deliver over those hours’. There needs to be a clear understanding of what it is ‘we’re aiming to do’.
The trick to maintaining this in a remote environment, for Natalie, is revisiting and reinforcing. It can be easy to have tunnel vision working alone. By continually reinforcing and revisiting those outcomes, not only can you keep employees on track, you can also make sure those outcomes are still relevant. In this fast-paced world, ‘12 month goals just don’t fly anymore’. We need to be ‘revisiting them quarterly, making sure they’re still relevant, updating and adjusting’.
Investing in Advocacy
With the price of literally everything going up lately, our learning and development budgets haven’t come out unscathed. But we can’t just toss L&D aside until things get better, so what do we do?
If you compare the cost of investing in L&D on existing employees versus bringing in new employees who already have the skills, Sam says the decision becomes pretty clear. Look at ‘not just the time spent actually recruiting them, but the time that the manager has been interviewing and the amount of time it takes to get them up and running and to train them’. Compare that to ‘adding a little bit of extra budget into learning and development’, there’s a clear winner.
But the benefits don’t stop there. As Sam highlights, not only do you have upskilled employees, you’ll ‘end up having them longer and they’ll be huge advocates of the business’.
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