By: Milind Mutalik
Inflection points like the current pandemic have demonstrated how quickly organizations can adapt to new ways of working. Consensus is evolving to the hybrid model as the new normal. Collaboration is the key to how effectively teams can deliver across different locations and time zones. With these changing dynamics, organizations are auditing and reimagining every function in an organization.
HR as a function is core to this change, and within HR itself, the foundational elements of talent engagement and talent acquisition are prime for an audit. Practices prevalent before the pandemic cannot be templatized and applied as-is. ‘Virtual’ is the new way, and all HR functions be it talent acquisition or engagement have been virtualized.
Organizations big and small are grappling with the challenges of attracting quality talent and retaining top performers in the Virtual world, and one mantra which will navigate them through this is “Do What you say and Say What you do!”. While it might look simple at first glance, HR practitioners are aware of how difficult it is to implement this.
A sharp focus on the six key areas of Brand, Role, Confidence, Challenges, Common Understanding, Connectedness and Belonging will help set the charter for success in the new era:
- Brand: Articulating and living the ‘Company Value Proposition’ is core to a successful employee engagement strategy. Companies need to ensure their messaging to external world is consistent and in line with realities inside their organizations. Thus, prospective employees will know what is and what can be expected. They can accordingly align their career and growth paths. This can be the differentiating factor in the competitive talent market, and employer branding needs to be built on these fundamentals.
- Role: Consistent and detailed messaging throughout the candidate journey is imperative in attracting and retaining talent. HR leaders should define roles, fitment, advancement opportunities based on what is prevalent, to highlight the organizational growth and engagement prospects. This clears any ambiguity and sets the path for effective career advancement. Many a time, HR leaders fail to communicate this in their employee reach-out programs.
- Instilling a sense of confidence: New joiners typically go through confirmation bias if their decision to join is in line with their beliefs. On the other hand, existing employees need a personalized development charter with a reinforcement that the organization is aligned with them in realizing their growth plans. Both these objectives can be met if HR leaders can understand these unstated needs and build confidence-building programs into their processes. Such a plan nurtures a sense of belonging and sets the stage for a long-term commitment to the organization.
- Communicate the challenges: Effective communication is key in fostering healthy company culture. Businesses go through ups and downs. Leadership should rise to the occasion and ensure formal and informal mechanisms are built to address employee concerns and discuss the mitigation plans. HR leaders need to ensure that the communication flow is kept constant across the employee lifecycle to avert the existence of a parallel communication channel in the organization.
- Creating common understanding: Reinforcing the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) at all the touchpoints in the candidate’s journey will ensure that employees have a uniform understanding of culture, policies, and processes. Recruitment teams and the prospective candidates should be aligned to avoid any gap between what is said and what it is.
- Nurturing connectedness: As the lines between work and personal life blur while working remotely, maintaining employee wellness is vital. It transcends employee experience and includes physical, mental, and financial wellness. Organizations that build connectedness using this, will be able to see their employees transform into brand ambassadors, who not only will stay longer but will also motivate others to do so. Such employees will also help refer to talent of similar mindset.
In a nutshell, continuous employee engagement and holistic wellness are rapidly evolving as a strategic priority for most organizations. Healthy and engaged employees working in a happier and productive work environment is the key to business success. Businesses can build such a workforce by being true to their North Star and Walk the Talk.
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