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Leadership and the Evolving Employee Landscape

Employees are the core of an organisation and it is important to understand what employees need from their job.

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In companies today, there is a lot of openness and no issues can stay hidden or away from the glare, inside or outside the company. With respect to any crisis, the first and foremost thing the leaders have to do is sensitise the team about it. This sensitisation is the first of the 3 steps leaders have to prepare for.

The second is a plan of why they need to tide over the crisis, and how. It is important for everyone to know why they shouldn't give up, and what the journey after the tunnel could be. The plan has to be realistic and pragmatic since now everyone starts doubting the intentions or abilities of the leadership which led to the crisis. Once a plan is shared, it has to be followed through and executed in the weeks and months to come. This is the phase where everyone has to remain focused on the job at-hand. Distractions and doubts are constantly flowing through the team, and there is an air of demotivation around. The leaders have to constantly rally the team, share progress and celebrate small successes.

Employees are the core of an organisation and it is important to understand what employees need from their job. They need a good workplace and culture, compensation, personal growth and learning, and the understanding of the impact they are bringing about. Every employee has different things they look forward to, but these buckets capture all of them. All the steps that one takes towards employee retention should affect one or more of these said factors in a positive way. 

A big focus area is learning opportunities for employees which can be via initiatives beyond the scope of work or through learning courses and workshops. These learning programs could be sourced externally or from peers within the company.  Compensation looks like an easy target for most but is also one that should be treated with caution. No matter what the company compensation scale is, it is important for every employee to understand the rationale behind this scale and how it will grow for them.

Today, the employee-employer relationship is evolving. Unlike a few decades back, there wasn't a binary employer and employee relationship like today, where one sets the agenda and other has to follow it. Or there isn't the kind of antagonism between the employer and the employee that was seen earlier. Every member of the organisation has a certain level of ownership and belongingness today. The ecosystem has also evolved in such a way that employees today are more powerful than companies, and far more powerful than employers at any point in history. Keeping that in mind, you have to give employees all the opportunities, ownership, chances to shape the company and their careers. The shift in power also leads to the average tenure of any employee to be low, and that is the biggest challenge from an HR perspective. One has to plan in a way that the show goes on and doesn't suffer for these reasons.

In the present day corporate setup, the role of a CHRO is becoming way more important and strategic than most realise it. It is not technology, or capital, but the people which drive a company forward. It is the culture that sustains a company in the longer run. The role of the CHRO is to ensure that the culture and values are strong, and they propagate through the company and all employees over time. Every small change that a CHRO or the function brings about on this front gets embedded in the employees. These changes are amplified through the company, impacting every aspect from product development to marketing and customer support. The HR function has to be in the background and is crucial as it safeguards the company and holds it together. 

The first step towards the success of a company is to understand the employees. This can be achieved via consistent reviews to understand the individual aspirations of every employee, as well as their strengths and areas for improvement. This leads to a clear learning plan for everyone. The different ways via which this can be facilitated are -

•    Group sessions and workshops in the company

•    One-on-one sessions with their mentors

•    Courses taken either online or in person

•    Involvement in projects and initiatives which contribute to their learning

•    Other initiatives for all-round development of the employees

The success of an organisation is a balanced combination of good leadership, a strong HR system, and an employee-centric work environment.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house



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