A business might have quality products or state-of-the-art services, the latest manufacturing technology, and the latest processes. But, are these enough to be counted among the tops in the market? Here lies the dilemma that keeps the top management, policymakers, leaders, and managers confused.
Where are we going wrong?
Why are we not getting close to the target?
What different are other organizations doing?
It’s simple yet unrecognized and unattended. It’s the workplace experience of employees who deliver the job not the manufacturing technology or business processes, who sell the product to the end-users and face multiple hurdles in the market or in the manufacturing units every day. If a business has the latest technology or best products, it will be imprudent to contemplate that competitions are behind them. Every business has the same target- to be the best in the market. Products, services, processes, and technologies – all will be obsolete now or later. It’s the vibrant workplace and people working there that make the difference. An organization cannot make them “obsolete” like a machine or product. The employees can be given (or gifted) a vibrant workplace where they will be self-motivated to improve knowledge and skills for the sake of better performance and for the sake of seeing their organization at the top.
So, what makes a workplace a vibrant workplace? What keeps the employees going no matter what the challenge is? Let’s have a look:
Employee experience and expectations
Employee experience should meet employee expectations. It’s not possible to make people a hundred percent happy, but the organization must pay maximum attention to this aspect. This is a huge task with so many people working for the organization having diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Undoubtedly, this is challenging in itself but achievable and this is where the strength of organizational culture lies. Managers, leadership, policymakers, and the human resource department need to work in tandem to give every employee a vibrant workplace experience where they feel that “yes it’s where I wanted to work!”
Improved employee experience means better talent management. In the long run, it pays off. Employee expectation has changed a lot in the last two decades. Today, almost 50% of the Indian workforce is the tech-savvy generation whose expectations are quite different from that of the professionals of the 1980s and 1990s. It’s also seen that many of the comparatively older generations of employees who are in their 40s and 50s have developed new expectations that are beyond salaries and promotions. People in the workplace expect a positive mindset and more focus on life beyond the professional world. The more they get to it, the better for the organizations. Today, spending time with family and friends is as important as salary and assignments. Organizations that take care of this side get through the new challenges with flying colours.
Leadership role has got a new dimension
Leadership role needs appreciation in the changing employee expectation. The leadership needs to be sporadic enough to understand the changing expectations and what can keep the employees engaged. It should be kept in mind that talent retention and development are the greatest challenges for organizations today.
Leadership should be on a constant mission of interacting with employees.
To be curious what the employees think about the workplace environment and culture.
How much satisfied are the employees in the present condition?
Leadership should have the customized solutions for each and every employee and that should be prompt.
The HR role is redefined
HR also needs to redefine their HRM strategy. They need to have real-time solutions for all common issues. Now, what are “common issues” may also need a revisit. Several companies have already taken diverse employee-friendly steps that will keep them ahead of competitors who are still taking such steps or ignoring the matter. The HR is in the best position to coordinate with key people in an organization such as leaders, departmental managers, employees, and of course the top management to bring in focuses the key concern of the time. Having employee insurance, free meals, or subsidized tours is not enough. HR needs to look into the core expectations, future possibilities, how the expectations affecting or will affect the output, and how the other organizations in the industry are tackling the same matters.
Managers play the most critical role
As far as the employee experience and expectations are concerned, line managers play the most vital role. As HR can coordinate the whole matter, line managers are the key sources of information. They are dealing with employees directly and every day. Managers must have the requisite leadership qualities. They must ensure employees are free to interact with them. Gone are the days when a manager was a “boss” and nothing else. There is still the “boss culture” prevailing as a legacy but that cannot be the solution. Expectations of employees are changing with time. Managers must be focused. They must act as a superfast scanner that can read their employees instantly. They must the key agent in developing a healthy workplace environment. They should not run after one-time success but work hand-in-hand with all change-makers for sustainable success.
At the same time, the policymakers (Owners, Chairman, CEO, COO, MD, Directors, GM, or whatever the official position is called) of the organization should come forward with all necessary resources and an open mind to offer full freedom to everyone concerned like leaders, HR, and line managers to act on their own capacities. When responsibilities are decentralized, people can fetch wonderful results.
The ultimate goal is “Improved workplace experience”!