A more human workplace is key to the future of work

The workplace is changing, drastically. In a new article for Silicon Republic, Eric Mosley, co-founder and CEO of Globoforce, offers some insight into how that change will manifest and what companies need to do to keep up with the future of work.

Mosley writes, “The world is experiencing a workplace transformation. It is the perfect storm: fundamental changes in our workforce are combining with technologies to empower our HR leaders and our people as we move into the future of work.”

“An output of the human era in HR is the dismantling of old HR processes. The pillars of human capital management are truly crumbling. From performance reviews to performance ratings, forward-thinking organisations are looking past the old way of thinking and building new ways to connect the modern workforce. How companies inspire their people to achieve their fullest potential will be the core differentiator in the 21st century.”

“The ideal workplace of the future will be one where culture and humanity co-exist as business leaders’ foremost priorities for creating a ‘great place to work’ environment. This shift in priorities will continue to evolve and strengthen as companies realise that, more than ever, their successes rely upon the happiness and wellbeing of their employees; in other words, how human they can make their employees feel.”

“The modern workforce craves humanity as workplace dynamics continue to shift more to collectives, rather than individuals. Employees look for meaning and value at work, both in what they do and what they accomplish. They want to ultimately understand how their efforts help their company succeed. They desire recognition for their contributions to the organisation, and rely on management and colleagues to provide that validation and appreciation of their work.”

A culture of inclusivity will be essential

Mosley continues, “To me, an inclusive workplace is one where every employee – regardless of nationality, colour or race – is empowered to have a voice, feels respected, has a strong sense of belonging and is comfortable bringing his or her whole self to work.”

“As an entrepreneur and CEO of a technology company, I firmly believe in hiring employees on their merit, not on their sex, race, colour, nationality, personality, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. To me, a culturally diverse workplace is one that comprises a multigenerational workforce as well.”

“As human beings, we want to contribute in workplaces that are positive, joyous and inclusive. Therefore, it’s important to appreciate and recognise the good work of your employees. Build a more human culture that gives people a voice and makes them feel connected to your organisation’s mission. Respect diversity of thoughts and views. Treat employees as human beings. Allow employees to bring their whole selves to work. Put the human needs of an individual first and provide positive reinforcement. Blanket your company with good will and see for yourself how the energy levels of your employees rise up as a result. Cultivate a culture of trust.”

The human experience will drive retention

“Today, every organisation is clamouring for employees who are fully committed to their company’s mission and willing to invest discretionary energy to turn pipe dreams into reality. However, statistics show that it’s near impossible to find such employees, and even harder to retain them. So, what can organisations do? Where can they find committed employees? How can they retain, engage and inspire them to reach their fullest potential?”

“The answer is simple: in their own organisation.”

“The human experience goes a long way towards helping employees feel more assured in their jobs, which means they’re more likely to remain with a company for a longer period of time. Yet, even though the economy grows stronger, this presents a challenge to companies, given that increasing job opportunities mean employees can become more tempted to pursue new jobs, or develop higher expectations of their current company.”

“To prevent turnover, companies need to focus on keeping their employees happy and feeling recognised, particularly those employees who are high performers and could be considered flight risks.”

‘When people are part of a winning, performance-driven team, stronger results and connections occur within a company’

“A new global research study from IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute and Globoforce’s WorkHuman research instituteThe Employee Experience Index: A new global measure of a human workplace and its impact – finds that employees who experience a higher level of humanity at work tend to perform better, and are less likely to quit their jobs.”

The trends that will define everything

Mosley lists six trends that can be seen as catalysts toward the new way of thinking, catapulting organisations towards long-term, sustained growth.

1. Continuous conversations and feedback

Annual performance reviews are an outdated model – a relic of old HR processes. HR is moving towards continuous conversations. These regular check-ins align employees behind an organisation’s priorities. Built into these conversations is employee feedback. The heavier concentration for feedback will naturally veer toward the positive side, which is the proven way to elevate performance and meet employees’ higher-level needs.

Crowdsourced recognition is a critical component of that positive feedback, empowering the entire company to recognise great achievements and behaviours. It also provides managers with data points from throughout the year to reinforce the type of performance the company seeks. It turns performance management into a frequent, ongoing and more natural human exercise, building trust with organisational leaders and optimising performance.

2. Crowdsourced ‘reward and pay’

HR is heading toward the re-architecting of pay. The new model leverages the ‘crowd’ to determine where the money flows, matching reward with performance to unify and direct people toward company priorities. According to joint research from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and Globoforce, organisations that dedicate 1pc or more of payroll toward social recognition are more likely to report greater impacts on financial outcomes.

3. Team engagement

When people are part of a winning, performance-driven team, stronger results and connections occur within a company. Team engagement is a critical component of the employee experience, higher in importance than both individual and company engagement.

Today’s companies are a series of teams, where the work happens on a daily basis and where the strongest employee connections are built. By uncovering and recognising individual strengths, the team is more empowered and efficient, as people are able to thrive with their personal skills and abilities.

4. The new role of a coach

The role of the manager is fundamentally changing from ‘command and control’ to ‘inspire and empower’. Decades of research has long proven the need for managers and leaders to provide higher levels of empathy towards employees, with the aim of developing and growing their skills and strengths.

Forward-thinking companies around the world are driving this shift toward contemporary management. It’s moving towards a more human approach, through which managers become mentors to their people and teams, coaching, teaching and guiding. It’s also the underlying foundation to making continuous conversations and feedback possible; the human element and interaction that gives meaning to words and meaning to work.

5. HR as culture facilitator

The megatrends reshaping business and management put HR in the position of coach to the entire organisation. HR as the facilitator of the culture becomes the enabler to drive a more human workplace and positive employee experience, breaking down past bureaucracies.

6. Individualisation

Each employee is at the centre of their journey within the company. New technologies are enabling HR processes and functions to be centred around each individual employee. These personalised apps can create an experience that focuses on an employee’s own cycles, projects and milestones or service anniversaries with the company. This brings an employee’s uniqueness and needs to the forefront, using technology to create a better human connection and adding relevance to the employee experience.

Research shows that driving a positive employee experience results in stronger business results. According to the Employee Experience Index, a positive employee experience is linked to better performance, greater discretionary effort and intent to stay at a company.

Data will drive HR change

“With the amount of data available now, HR is shifting toward cognitive HR, which allows organisations to explore employee data to predict outcomes and share valuable insights. For example, social recognition data can help generate many data points, including the core values that are key to an organisation: employee productivity and morale, cross-functional teams and high-potential employees, to name a few.”

“These shifts can only be successful with widespread adoption and a philosophical shift within an organisation.”

“Progress is only possible with a new mindset: to lead with empathy, not fear; to move ahead and allow employees to explore new, game-changing ideas. Many companies are shifting to a ‘fail fast’ approach – a lean organisation that drives continual, incremental wins. This approach gives employees more empowerment and autonomy to align their work endeavours towards ideas and projects that can fundamentally change a company’s upward trajectory.”

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