Reimagining the way employees are treated

Employees are the lifeblood of any business. They make the magic happen for clients. And satisfied employees are more productive. It’s more than just about giving them perks, they need to know that you really care about them. And rest assured that they will stand by you and go the extra mile.

There are no quick fixes or formulas to help you discover the right amount of engagement that’s necessary. You don’t need external sources to gain insights. The data is right in front of you. It is important for HR executives to observe and listen actively to employees. This gives employees the chance to express opinions, and be heard. While it may be an arduous process, it builds trust and ensures you are on track with getting to the root of the problem.

With the number of millennials only increasing, leaders including the CHRO need to stop thinking as individuals but as an environment that is purely built on ownership. It’s no longer ‘I have a problem’ but ‘we have a problem’. And the workforce wants to be more involved and entrusted with responsibilities. They don’t just want a paycheck or a bonus, but want to know what they are doing a daily basis has a purpose behind it, to make a difference and perform better when they are involved in aspects of the business.

"Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it"
Timothy R. Clark

Employee satisfaction: How to overcome this challenge

Employees spend about a third of their time or more at the workplace and for this reason, it is imperative to cultivate a working environment that will help them perform better. While we know that the secret behind great customer service is a satisfied employee, employee satisfaction and engagement play a big role in how we work towards it.

Your staff needs to know how they are performing. By giving them constructive feedback, you can nurture and highlight areas that can improve their productivity. Regularly checking-in with employees will gauge satisfaction and maintain the loop of connectivity. This will lead to an increased level of trust and openness to keep the rhythm in motion.

But even if you encourage up-skilling or value them with monetary benefits, it should be noted that every employee has a definitive marker for progress on what actually counts as success. As satisfaction begets achievement, and achievement leads to confidence, all these should be connected back to the loop of making feedback a part of the work culture.

Satisfied Employee

Trends shaping the future of the HR industry

The world of business is rapidly transforming while standing on the shoulders of giant technology advancements. With people at the center of these quantum leaps, the role of the CHRO has been quickly evolving too, from being traditional to a more evidence-based model. There will be a greater onus for HR executives to understand the market climate during times of bad economic weather, the impact of technologies such as AI and automation, and next-generation workplace measures around data security and employee safety.

The era of the Gen Z workforce is not far away, and hence the CHRO must be in a position to ensure that they are engaged even before the Day 1 experience begins. As user acceptance of social media keeps skyrocketing with each passing year, it will emerge as a powerful tool to assess both brands and employees alike. Considering the shifts in the modern employee mindset, performance assessment too will be reshaped as a continual and conversational review process – rather than a year-end rigorous activity.

Up-skilling will also see a transformation curve. Despite the need for in-demand skills, employee development will no longer be treated as on-demand requirements. Instead, the CHRO will nurture a culture of continuous development that need not be overhauled when the next big thing in technology becomes the in-thing.

Digitalization with a human touch

Gone are the days when being digital and being human were easily distinguishable, and they were treated as clear choices. With the lines blurring, it is now possible for the HR department to digitalize the people-driven processes while maintaining the human touch. The key is to understand the overarching purposes of HR-related technology, which are accuracy, productivity, and simplification.

Ironically, technology has made it easier to humanize the way people are managed. From Virtual Reality apps for prospective candidates to communication interfaces that ensure seamless remote collaboration and AI-based training modules, such technologies can personalize the employee experience.

However, it is also pertinent for HR professionals to implement new ideas to sustain the human touch in today’s digital age. For instance, enabling cross-functional mentoring programs, creating hot-desking opportunities, getting creative with employee engagement and recognition to reduce burnout and fatigue, and reinforcing workplace diversity and inclusiveness. All the above can, once again, be achieved by harnessing the latest technologies.

"HR organizations now have to learn how to ‘be digital,’ not just ‘buy digital products"
Josh Bersin

The merits and demerits of AI

AI is leaving an indelible mark in the HR sector, from talent acquisition and on-boarding to performance assessment and administration of benefits. Its robust analytical capacity are making things simpler for HR professionals as they work with significant amounts of people data. It alleviates the hefty burden of sifting through a sea of data and instead, they can focus on more high-value tasks that improve the overall employee experience. AI-led automation can also help in extracting valuable insights that may not be available when done manually. New age tools for sentimental analysis, career mapping, and goal setting reveal a 360-degree view of the employee, which goes a long way to aid the CHRO in taking affirmative actions to realize their true potential.

Furthermore, chatbots can be deployed through self-service platforms to dish out answers to everyday questions. They can act as a real-time conversational interface; once again, relieving the HR teams from the pressure of quickly fulfilling such expectations and giving them the opportunity to concentrate on critical tasks.

On the flip side, the HR sector has the unenviable task of leading the change in the mindset of employees when it comes to adoption of artificial intelligence. Industries across the world are abuzz with paranoia over the general loss of job security, and the fear of the IT workforce having to deal with tumultuous days ahead. Change may be a constant factor but seeing it through successfully does not get easier each time you initiate it. However, behind every threat lies an opportunity and vice-versa. Through AI-led innovation, the HR fraternity is all set to transform for the better.

  • This is an exclusive interview which was originally published in BW People
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