2020 has been a year of resets and a whole lot of change. Today is India’s 74th Independence Day, a day we have always celebrated together. Who would have thought that in 2020 this day would be celebrated with mandatory adherence to social distancing norms? The current COVID-19 crisis has rewritten the norms for celebration just as it has rewritten the norms of work, of business, and of life.
It is this reset and rewriting of the HR and Worktech playbook that was the theme of discussion at People Matters TechHR 2020, which itself went virtual for the first time this year. Over 5000 progressive business & HR Leaders, HR Analysts, and HR Technology experts & Worktech startups gathered together to ponder and shine the light on the great reset.
So what’s it that HR leaders of today want to let go of in 2020? What are those age old mindsets they want to be independent of in 2020? What is it that they want to be free of in this year of resets?
Here’s what they said at People Matters TechHR 2020!
Stop being custodians of policies - be adaptable and agile!
Shed traditional HR practices and policies and imbibe more agility to respond to the new world of work. The people managers should be concerned about the policies but sometimes they go overboard. In this current time, everyone needs to be adaptable and agile in order to meet the constantly changing and multifaceted requirements. HR as a function revolves around managing people and policies but amidst all this, HR cannot be risked being seen as a hurdle for an agile environment. People managers should use technology, develop a learning organization and become adaptable and agile.
Stop looking at what just people have done, but look at what they could do
Past performance vs potential! Performance reviews can no longer be about ratings and grades being given to employees on their past performance. Rather, they should be about assessing their potential, their strengths and weaknesses to help them become better professionals and grow in their career. From speaker sessions to chat-a-thons at People Matters TechHR India, there was one common sentiment that echoed – help the workforce fulfil their career aspirations. If business and HR leaders invest in unlocking the potential of the employees and themselves, it will benefit them in two ways: it will enhance employee experience and at the same time, help them enhance their internal mobility.
So, stop looking at what just people have done but look at their potential, use data and insights to learn about their capabilities and build a more power-packed future-ready workforce for your company.
If one thing the COVID-19 crisis has made redundant is the habit of punching in and out. With everyone literally gigging it full time from home, marking attendance as a practice seems archaic. Leaders at TechHR pointed out that keeping track of the number of hours employees work during a day is now no more relevant. The focus needs to be on outcomes and not on marking attendance now! COVID-19 has forced organizations to trust employees to deliver their daily work as expected out of them and make that their measure of productivity rather than the age old attendance system.
Stop the urge to respond to 2 AM messages
The blurred home and work life boundaries in the last five months is a wake up call to get our affairs in order and be agile enough in our approach to both work and life, setting clear timelines to adhere to, ensuring both well-being and productivity. There is a need to draw clear boundaries, and have a routine in place. Over the years, while routine became synonymous with monotony, COVID-19 has created a scenario where having a routine is imperative. The lack of structure is bound to compel one to overcompensate, by trying to be available 24*7. Given that the pandemic triggered circumstances are here to stay for time unknown, such structure is critical to become independent of age-old perceptions and do-away with the “always-on” culture.
Stop looking at things from a cost perspective alone
Richard Branson said, “Customers come second, employees first.” It’s a philosophy that brings unexpected benefits to both the company and clients. However, most often management teams see engagement, wellness, and development of their employees as a cost and not investment. If an employer believes that talent management activities are expensive, then they don’t know the cost of ignorance. Companies that are loyal to their employees don’t see activities like training, wellness, development, implementing technology as a cost, but as an investment. And these companies will have a more happy, engaged, and productive workforce.
Stop believing only in the type of innovation that has worked in the past
This pandemic has reinforced one thing that you can’t just bet on the type of innovations and practices that worked for you in the past. And that it’s crucial for you to open up to new ideas and create a culture of experimentation to thrive in the long term. Over the last few months, we have seen a flurry of new initiatives, experimentations, and tech innovations coming out from organizations to sail through this pandemic. The global work-from-home experiment, for instance, has worked for the majority of organizations globally. Even the most traditional businesses have learned to cope with this new style of working. So, open up, start experimenting, and fail fast!
Stop trying to be the ‘hero’
Many leaders have a tendency to take all the burdens upon themselves and place the welfare of their teams before their own. But this will make you sink in today’s situation. The pressures of the pandemic are too great for any one person to handle by oneself. We are all equally human and vulnerable today, and no one will hold you at fault for needing the support of your own. There’s no need to pretend that your boat is stronger than others in this storm. So, stand side by side with your team and trust them to bear the weight as much as you trust yourself.
“Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved.” So free your own self from the old approaches that hold you and the HR function back and embrace the new reality of work.
These were only a few of the many practices HR leaders want to be independent of. In case you would want to highlight something else that you think we missed out on, please share with us in the comment section below.
Happy Independence Day!