Employee experience has become an intrinsic part of every organisational journey which entails engaging, motivating and interacting in the new work exchange. We spoke to Cori Bernosky of WorldatWork about the changing work environment, qualities HR leaders need to possess and challenges of human capital management. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
The New Work Exchange is here and is reshaping older rules to work and productivity. What do you think are some important employee preferences that HR leaders today need to consider to design their talent management strategies?
The New Work Exchange is absolutely here, and it is a very exciting time to be an HR professional in this new era. The older rules of work and productivity no longer apply and today we need to be building organisational cultures that invite the employee to bring their best self to work. Treating employees as stakeholders and creating talent management strategies that emphasise personalised, targeted, strategic, and engaged work cultures are critical as we shift into this new professional world.
Acquiring talent is no longer just about salary. Talent acquisition and retention are now based on an employee’s alignment to the candidates needs and values. Salary is still a critical component of the total rewards strategy and always will be, however now things like an organisation’s stance on climate change, racial and social justice, pay transparency and access to mental health services factor into the decision-making process. Candidates and employees want to work for an organisation that values the same thing they value. That alignment has become critical in the decision-making process as well as the daily decision an employee makes to continue working for an organisation.
How will the role of managers and leaders evolve in 2023? As an HR leader, how do you intend to build and develop leaders ready for the New Work Exchange?
The role of managers and leaders will continue to be the most important touch point for employees in 2023. The New Work Exchange requires businesses to become more people-centric. Everything within organisations, including results and outcomes, is elevated when we see our team members as people and then understand their roles as our most important stakeholder.
WorldatWork’s talent management philosophy aligns to this tenant of the New Work Exchange, by building processes, expectations and best practices that encourages this viewpoint of treating team members as our most important stakeholder. We work with our managers and leaders constantly to encourage this approach and reinforce the notion that we cannot just talk the talk, we must also model the behaviour in all our decisions and interactions. We also believe in empowering our leaders, managers, and employees to make decisions at the local level and encourage a mentor mindset as opposed to the traditional, transactional approach.
What, according to you, are the biggest challenges in reimagining existing approaches towards human capital management?
In the old work exchange, we gauged an employee’s success on things like quarterly numbers, profits, margins, etc. While these things will always be important to healthy organisations, they can dehumanise the team, and do not encourage the emphasis on the full person.
The biggest challenge as we work to reimagine the approach to human capital management is to find the right balance between data driven performance metrics and approaching people as our business. The subtle mind shift that occurs when we see employees as our stakeholders allows us to shift the conversation and focus on what it takes for humans to do their best work. Once that mindset shift has occurred, you can design your human capital strategy to align to your core beliefs and create a high functioning workplace where employees thrive.
What role do you see employee experience play in the hybrid, more digitalised world of work? Tell us about the DEI strategy you use to create high-performance work culture and positive workforce experience?
I am passionate about our WorldatWork employee experience, and we have learned a lot as an organisation as we shifted into the hybrid, digital work world. We are committed to creating a safe and equitable workplace for all employees across the globe. We encourage employees to bring their full self to work and recognize that it requires a balance with policies, which must be fair and provide freedom to individuals but also collectively fair so everyone can succeed.
Most of our employee programming focuses on our core value of Be Connected and what makes our employee experience unique is that our programming is driven by employees for employees. We encourage representation on our planning teams and look to create virtual programming that is accessible and diverse. So, one month our WorldatWork book club might pick a book to read for women’s history month and another month we are all invited to take a virtual tour to learn about Black history. We aim to create programs that are personalised, and it is our hope that at least once a quarter an employee will come across a virtual event or activity that speaks to their personal interests or passion.
What are some imperatives of ensuring a positive employee experience? What are some of the important employee preferences that companies should be aware of while designing their EX strategies?
Simply saying “people come first” isn’t enough in the New Work Exchange. It is critical that organisations and HR leaders do more than just say the words and take intentional actions that support the people first mindset. We need to personalise relationships and avoid the transactional approach to work. Positioning managers and leaders as supportive, empowered mentors is a good first step. Organisations that focus on building relationships, personalising experiences, and creating fair, inclusive and equitable work environments will thrive in the New Work Exchange.