The mayhem brought on by the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges in all spheres of life. As the world slowly stumbles back to normalcy, it has become extremely important for CHROs to rethink and recalibrate the modern workplace fraught with multiple issues such as high attrition, skill deficits, and reticence to return back to the office. As CHROs struggle to address all these pain points, it is necessary for them to design a work culture that inspires confidence and a sense of shared purpose and belonging.
In this article, we explore the key areas of focus for CHROs to breathe life back into the workplace.
1. Create a vibrant, agile, and collaborative work environment: The CHRO needs to strategically plan for the ongoing shifts in the workplace. They must dissolve traditional workplace models in favor of new-age models which are much more collaborative and place the employee at the center of their universe for in order to win in the marketplace, one must first win the workplace. The CHRO must lead the organization by delineating policies for an agile workforce, implementing L&D activities, and nurturing a pool of talent for the future. The CHRO must bridge the gap between employees and leadership and initiate a dialogue where the employees are emotionally invested in the company and seek fulfillment by contributing to the growth of the company rather than aiming merely for financial or personal gains.
2. Address the ‘Catcher in the Rye’ Syndrome: Home confinement and personal loss of life and livelihood during the pandemic have left people with a sense of disillusionment and disengagement. Companies need to invigorate employees by instilling a sense of shared goals and vision. This will help to provide employees with a sense of purpose and validation. Organization-wide events and health and wellness benefits will promote a sense of belonging which has become significantly important in recent times of loneliness and isolation. Aristotle’s view of man as a social animal reiterates the need for human beings to ‘belong’ in order to prosper and grow. A positive experience of being valued and recognized at the workplace will ensure long-term engagements which can go a long way in addressing the problem of rampant attrition.
3. Bridge the Skill Gap and Nurture Talent: Rapid advancements in technology have led to a skill deficit where employees need to be brought up to speed with the latest technology. It is necessary for CHROs to identify these gaps and strive to integrate reskilling into the day-to-day workflow of employees via apprenticeship programs. In addition, CHROs must implement a system where potential talent is identified, groomed, and nurtured to take on future roles by investing in long-term skill development via degree apprenticeship programs. This will ensure the creation of a talent pipeline and at the same time create long-term relationships with employees. Studies indicate that employees tend to stay longer at organizations where they are heard, valued, and incentivized to grow within the organization.
4. Adapt to the Changing Work Environment: Numerous organizations are losing workers due to the organization’s inability to offer the support they require. The pandemic has let the cat out of the bag so to speak by revealing to us that remote work is possible without impacting the bottom lines. In such a scenario if organizations exercise rigidity and insist on physical presence at the workplace, they are more likely to lose people. Employees need to be sympathetic to the changing dynamics of employees on the personal front and extend support by offering greater flexibility in the form of hybrid work arrangements.
5. Create a Culture of DE&I: In today’s world, it is imperative to promote a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion where the workplace can benefit from the diverse skills and sensibilities of people across genders, races, and languages. As the world rapidly transforms into a global village and businesses expand beyond geographical boundaries, cultural sensitivity will go a long way in sustaining business relationships. People from different backgrounds can help provide creative solutions and a fresh perspective to address logistical and cultural hurdles bound to arise in the changing work environment.
The role of CHRO is among the most important in the company as it needs to focus on the essential resource for the success of any business: People! It is the responsibility of the CHRO to drive the growth trajectory of the organization by investing time, effort, and resources in hiring, grooming, and retaining the right people in a rapidly changing environment. They must set in place the desired values of the organization by way of the policies they implement and thus create an ethos where each individual’s desire to excel will translate into phenomenal growth for the organization.