Looking back at how the workforce and workplace have evolved over the years, what we do hasn’t changed as much as how and why we do it. Employees are increasingly looking for jobs that offer more personal satisfaction. The call to action for many companies is therefore to create a new set of work standards that put purpose and people first in the workforce.
People want to feel connected and contribute to an organization that values purpose, culture, collaboration, compassion and creation. These concepts are critical to helping companies meet their obligations, promote growth and increase profitability.
“When an organization’s business model is driven by a holistic purpose, alignment between brand identity and sustainable engagement across all stakeholders occurs organically,” said Kim Christfort, National Managing Director of Deloitte Greenhouse. “Employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders all have a greater sense of meaning in good times and bad, and are therefore able to meet challenges with greater ease and resilience.”
I came in contact with Christfort to understand how organizations have evolved in pandemic times and what they are doing to put purpose first in their growth strategy.
Celebrate a good cause
While many people work to earn a living, they also want a career that contributes to something bigger than themselves. Companies will need to formulate a clear mission statement and express their values to both current and potential employees to ensure that purpose is at the forefront of conversations. “It is critical to attract and retain top talent,” said Christfort. “Regularly reporting on progress toward that vision can also create a greater sense of camaraderie, achievement and pride for the work done on a daily basis.”
Group norms, policies, rituals and celebrations, and shared language (such as Deloitte’s Business Chemistry framework) all contribute to an organization’s culture, according to Edgar Schein, MIT Sloan professor emeritus. In the face of long-term hybrid work, employers will need to think more about how they show and share their values and expectations.
Leaders have the opportunity to holistically reshape culture by providing cross-functional learning opportunities and creating time for bonding or networking. “An open dialogue between all departments about what works and what doesn’t work in hybrid work is essential to optimize the hybrid work model and reshape the culture of the organization,” said Christfort.
By bringing more people to the table, virtual work leveled the playing field for many and opened up conversations about inclusion, but it also poses new challenges for fair work experiences. Historically, equity has been considered in the context of diversity and inclusion, but in the context of return to work, the definition takes into account different workplace preferences of hybrid, virtual and personal.
To reduce potential inequalities, hybrid organizations need to address the possibility of within-group/out-group bias and train employees to design more inclusive meetings, regardless of where individuals work.
With increased flexibility in how and when individuals work, people report higher levels of burnout and difficulty finding a work-life balance. Indeed, the job aggregator site conducted a survey that found that more than half (52%) of respondents had a burnout in 2021 – an increase from the 43% who said the same in a pre-Covid-19 survey. .
To counter this, both managers and employees will need to focus on increasing their empathic social skills, such as active listening and sharing information. Tactical changes such as reducing meetings or tackling Zoom fatigue will be pursued in earnest.
The shift to hybrid work is also fundamentally changing the way employees generate innovative ideas. New technology makes for better brainstorming sessions whether individuals are in person or not. Leaders also need to recognize that some of the best ideas come from unexpected parts of the organization, encouraging new ways to make innovative suggestions.
The hybrid working model will continue to be at the center of thinking about what is needed for sustainable growth and profit. Fostering communities that emphasize business, culture, collaboration, compassion and creation will be the driving force in determining success for years to come.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
This post 5 things leaders need to do to grow their business and crush the big layoff
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