This article is part of our new State of Employee Feedback Series which will interview a diverse mix of HR experts and thought leaders with a goal of better understanding their perspectives on the current state of and future of HR.
The following is an interview we recently had with Terence Channon, Founder and President of NewLead LLC.
It is a very interesting and perhaps even divisive time – and a lot of things are happening that on paper don’t seem to add up. This suggests that organizations must look at HR in more complex and nuanced ways. For example, many businesses, particularly in fields like retail, construction, and transportation are struggling to hire new team members, despite raising wages. Yes, perhaps they are not raising them high enough, but as the wages increase, you are not seeing an increased trickle of applicants. It almost defies the laws of economics. I think there are a lot of unanswered questions about what candidates want and what organizations can offer – and it clearly goes beyond pay and compensation. It’s a very different way of having to look at a challenge and resolve it – throwing money at it just isn’t working.
More and more feedback and research suggest that employees want to feel purposeful, fulfilled and productive in their lives – and in a holistic way – not just professionally. Communicating purpose, aligning work efforts with a person’s aspirations and personal success levers need to be incorporated into employee feedback and performance evaluations. As hiring managers and business owners, we must do a better job of looking at the person holistically – not only what makes sense at the business or organizational level.
Encourage sharing of purpose when it comes to work. The “what” that needs to be done should become less important than the “why.” If each team member has a deeper understanding of the purpose of a project, that really encourages open dialogue, including among team members and when it comes time to performance reviews. In the movie The Matrix, one of the council persons said “comprehension is not a requisite of cooperation” and generally, true, but organizations will get better performance if team comprehension becomes the goal, not merely cooperation.
The ability to encourage collaboration and build teams across disparate cultures, time zones, and personalities will become significant focus areas for HR professionals in the coming years. Remote work is accelerating and not just the proverbial work at home days. Companies are onboarding new team members from different parts of the country or even the world. This is very exciting for globalization and global prosperity distribution, but it is not without its challenges. Facing pressure from deadlines is difficult enough when there is a close-knit tribe; the pressure can mount if there are added stressors of distance, less in-person interaction, and scheduling challenges due to time zone issues. HR will have to be proactive in helping team members manage these challenges as well as understand that where people live shapes who they are on a deeply personal level – and that makes for a high-variable culture environment that will require sophisticated HR support when it comes to cultural and emotional intelligence. Lastly, since employers will have to look at the well-being and performance of a team member holistically, more emphasis will be placed on HR in aiming to understand personalities, personal success levers, personal preferences in work style and more. And this will take some advanced knowledge of psychology, human interaction, & diversity – not just organizational HR theory.
Hiring, managing, and implementing best practices in HR will become more human, accessible, and customized. It’s no surprise seeing how smartphones and social media have changed consumers’ expectations when it comes to customer support and ordering tasks. This group will come to expect the same level of accessibility and personalization from their workplaces.