Webinar Takeaways: Uniting Your People in a Digital World
Our fourth webinar in this series, “Uniting Your People in a Digital World”, looked specifically at how organisations can ensure that people remain at the heart of what they do in the face of rapid innovations in technology.
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Connecting people at work
Top Employers Institute CEO David Plink opens the webinar by looking at the human aspect at the heart of the best-performing organisations. Referring to the most recent research undertaken in the 2020 HR Best Practices Survey among 1 600 Top Employers worldwide, he explores how HR leaders can connect their people through empathy, purpose and belonging.
For the leading organisations, the pathway to empathy is all about feedback, a sense of the journey ahead and psychological safety. Data insights from our 2020 HR Best Practices Survey show that among Top Employers:
- 91% enabled employees to give feedback into the organisation’s strategy, mission, and vision.
- 67% used candidate mapping to enhance a sense of being on a journey.
- 92% indicated limiting risk to employees and their job security as a key factor when making strategic business decisions.
Top Employers give employees a sense of purpose through values training, genuine involvement and turning good rhetoric into real outcomes. What this means in practice is that:
- 90% of Top Employers trained employees on the company values and purpose.
- 69% actively involved different employee groups in defining their proposition.
- 95% have senior leaders both clearly articulating mission and priorities and helping other leaders to translate these into more specific plans, activities, milestones and deliverables.
What creates a sense of belonging within an organisation? We see that many Top Employers tend to focus on three aspects:
- Climate: the extent to which diversity, fairness, equal opportunity, and transparency are demonstrated.
- Leadership: the behaviour of management, patterns of promotion and clarity around how decisions are made and how leaders are selected.
- Best practices: in the form of diversity in hiring, flexible work practices, family-friendly attitudes, authentic listening, and clear feedback.
For the many of our Top Employers practising the above, the dividends have quickly become obvious in many ways, including talent recruitment and retention, teamwork, wellbeing, creativity and resilience.
The human side of work
Richard Lobo, Executive Vice President & Head HR at Infosys, highlights the need for all organisations to make a further adaptation: seeking a new balance between the duality of humanity and technology.
To amplify human potential with technology, this means applying:
- Intelligence: Infosys found, for example, that something as simple but important as deciding a promotion could be improved radically by bringing more data into decisions. By analysing data around which people were more likely to perform well if promoted to a particular job, better decisions could be made.
- Sentience: this means “sensing” what is happening across your organisation, even at the most remote location. Infosys created a mobile-based application which did exactly this and used feedback to keep a pulse of how people were feeling.
- Micro-change: yearly business planning was put to one side during the pandemic. The business forced to work in a very different fashion. In order to close its offices and help 95% of its workforce to work remotely within a fortnight, a switch to micro-decision making at a local level was needed.
While technology helped in all the above, Richard contends that all businesses must never lose sight of the need to balance this with an enterprise that is human focused. And for this, all businesses need:
- Purpose: people do better when they understand the purpose of their work. President Kennedy gave the direction for a moon landing, after which the purpose of NASA was clear. Similarly, teams at work do better when their end purpose is known and clearly explained.
- Culture: this plays a vital part in why employees join and stay with a company. Organisations need to understand what makes them happy - and what should be preserved even when everything else seems to be changing.
- Learning: the ability to learn and to unlearn is essential to humanity. While many organisations spend time and effort on learning, Top Employers know that differentiating what and how employees learn is fundamental to a humane and happy organisation.
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The “Uniting your People in a Digital World” webinar showed us that that history has been marked by the adaptation of humanity to changes in the environment – and that we are living now through another such period.
A focus on empathy, purpose and belonging can connect people together - and the organisations that prosper are those that can will mesh this sense of connection with the amazing potential of technology. If enough employers can achieve this, 2020 could be remembered as the year in which humans and technology came together to create a better world of work.
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