It was a rainy Sunday evening. I was sitting in the balcony with a cup of coffee and gazing at the beautiful sky. I was thinking about the sky changing colors. How the sky changes colors making space for others and new beginnings. A grey sky was a clear indicator that a new beginning was just around the corner. I was about to finish my cup of coffee and I got a call from one of my old friends.
We spoke about the current COVID related scenario, asked about our families and the future of organizations. This brought up the situation of his company. He told me that he had recently taken over a company. He said, “ I have always had this vision of creating a collaborative and participative work environment. This company has been under the control of a leader who had a very different perspective on leadership. Employees were scared to ask him questions and never participated in decision making.”
“Given the current scenario, I have had multiple meetings with HR managers and they are completely on board with my vision of transforming the company culture. The main concern of the HR team was that they were sick of controlling leadership philosophy. This control not only curbs the creativity of employees but also their satisfaction levels. This makes them feel that they aren’t valued in the organization. As per studies, Myers, K.K., Sadaghiani, K. Millennials in the Workplace: A Communication Perspective on Millennials’ Organizational Relationships and Performance. J Bus Psychol 25, 225–238 (2010), millennials are completely unattached to organizations which makes job-hopping a really big problem. Although, I understand all these concepts but creating such a culture is a difficult task. How do you suggest I should go ahead with this?”
To his query, I replied, “ I completely agree with you! Creating such an environment is imperative in this generation. Appreciation and constructive feedback is the way forward. I am glad to hear that the HR team is collaborative. Usually, new leaders have a tough time dealing with this. Before I begin with the role of HR managers, I would like to tell you that change starts with you. I know it might sound like a cliché but it is true. Leaders are always judged which is why make sure you hold yourself accountable for your actions. You’ll always be under the limelight and your actions will make statements and rules. These rules will be implemented on their own without any kind of enforcement. People tend to understand and execute them accordingly.
To your question, make sure you are working WITH HR managers and HR managers don’t work FOR you. This perspective will make them feel comfortable working with you. Here are a few pointers that will help you:-
Make one on ones (o2os) regular
Understand the value of o2os with employees. It is one of the best frameworks! Train your HR managers to learn the art of this activity. Always remember to follow the framework:-
Appreciate – Discuss Problems – Solve their problems – Provide constructive feedback – Commitment – Gratitude
Understanding risks and strategizing accordingly
Evaluate all emotional and practical roadblocks that might be affecting your company culture. Technical difficulties and policy changes are one of the most important points that need to be considered.
Train your employees so that their work is efficient and effective. This will not only develop your employees but at the same time immensely benefit your organization.
Blind Feedback Mechanism
A lot of employees don’t take feedback positively while some are not able to give feedback. This makes employees feel timid. Have a blind feedback mechanism where people can send in the feedback on a single day anonymously. This will avoid gossip and conflict between employees.
Communication through employee engagement activities
Communicate your ideas through employee engagement activities. Instead of conducting a seminar to present your plans, communicate your plans through activities. It will make a mundane task fun.