Balancing Employer and Employee Demands: Ways to Bridge the Confidence Gap
One must first win at the workplace if you want to succeed amongst your competitors… at least in the long run. It’s a simple enough goal but still a challenge to achieve. And it starts with the widespread changes happening currently – be it technology forcing organizations to adapt to an evolving world of business and new types of competition or the people themselves having different ambitions.
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There are several points of view on what works better for a new age company today… Buzzwords like ‘People-first approach’ and ‘purposeful Darwinism’ make the news every once in a while. The question we should be asking is – How do you positively balance between an organization’s growth targets and employee’s needs? This question becomes even more critical as organizations wade through a fast-paced, high-stakes world and their employees’ well-being might not always be top-of-mind.
For me, the right balance between an employer and employee’s needs is when an organization can achieve significant growth even as it pushes the barrier on corporate sustainability… in my book, the latter includes how one engages with employees and drives them to be better professionals and individuals. It’s derived through building a culture led by high performance but that, at the same time encourages diversity of talent and approaches. As in the long term, educating and involving employees about their workplace, how their roles fit into the business growth track and the opportunities for innovation and developing new skills and rewarding them, actually helps the organization improve its performance – financial, operational or people-specific.
Balancing Act: Employer vs Employee Demands
While salary and flexibility in work hours are important factors for employees to continue with a company, meeting their expectations still remains the key. If employers are unable to meet the demands of their employees, they might end up losing them to their competitors. Here are some of my observations on factors that create a disconnect and need to be addressed –
•I have found employees to be more loyal to their employers if their on-the-job experiences are aligned better with the expectations of what was promised to them when they were hired. They feel motivated when they understand how they contribute towards achieving the overall business goals and are acknowledged.
•Employees, today, have more organizations to choose from and are ready to switch jobs than ever before. Hence, strategies that can bridge the gap between employee and employer viewpoints, build diverse talent pools, invest in their health and well-being, embrace new methods of working, and build better work equations can help in retaining these employees.
Few of the employee engagement strategies that can help in minimizing the disconnect include -
•Work hard. Play harder - Apart from salary and performance-related bonuses, the second most important thing that employees consider while choosing their employer is work-life balance. Although we encourage flexi-time work schedules to ensure that employees can have fulfilling and rewarding lives outside the workplace, we still witness certain disconnect between the perspectives of both the groups on the same issue.
In this era of digital workplace, use of technology and mobile devices have transformed an otherwise regular 9-to-5 job into a 24/7 job, leaving employees with very less time for themselves. A research study by Future Workplace and Career Arc found that 67% HR professionals feel that employees enjoy a work-life balance; however almost 45% of employees think they struggle to find enough time for their personal activities. Their tight work schedules interfere in their time with the family. More proactive HR policies such as remote or virtual working can help.
•The Winner takes the Trophy: Over the years, I have seen how Rewards and Recognition has played a significant role in motivating employees to perform better. We need reward programs that understand the employees’ needs while staying aligned to the organization’s business and financial goals. It should address the objectives and needs of both, ultimately leading to meeting expectations of the employees in a more positive way.
HGS, in addition to its annual performance awards, also recognizes and rewards employees who have been with the organization for more than five, 10, 15 or more years. We celebrate their long service with the organization in a grand event annually, thus motivating other employees to continue their association with us.
•Let’s learn something new: The millennial generation shows more interest and finds value in working for organizations that provide continuous opportunities for professional development. Showing interest in their well-being, getting to know them at a personal level and providing them opportunities to develop new skill sets (working with new age technology, leadership training, etc.) help organizations to retain employees for a longer time.
•Be social. Act Responsible: It feels nice when I see our employees, especially the youngsters, being not only socially active on social media but also look for opportunities to create a positive impact on the society and give them a sense of purpose. As employers, we must be cognizant of this fact and encourage them in CSR activities and contribute their bit to the society. It simply creates a better bond and a feeling of pride about their employer.
Achievable Goals and Open Communication Can End Discords
Establishing goals that are relevant and achievable, providing regular feedback on their performances, and most importantly, treating your employees with respect forms an environment of trust and transparency, and encourages teamwork. Having open communication platforms such as Town Halls, skip-level meetings and intranet to share your queries, change your work environment into a more favorable workplace, thus minimizing chances of discord between employers and employees.