Article: Stranger Things in HR: Navigating the new world of work

Life @ Work

Stranger Things in HR: Navigating the new world of work

Taking inspiration from one of our favourite shows, Stranger Things, we look at the world of work and the lessons embedded in the show, that can be useful for every stakeholder at the workplace.
Stranger Things in HR: Navigating the new world of work

The world of work went through a transformation, where we saw the emergence of new business models, work models, technologies, ideologies and definitions, bringing forth gaps that never existed. In HR, strange things have become a phenomena, with employees finally fighting for the things that they’ve been denied for far too long and employers grappling with newer challenges at every turn. The result is for all to see - The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, Moonlighting, Hybrid Model, The Great Awake. As we look at the world of work, let’s take hints from the Netflix show, Stranger Things, on how to navigate the new world and explore the depths of our love for work, loyalty  and passion for learning. 

Building Your A-Team

At work and in life, nothing is possible without your A-team. But building that A-team is becoming a struggle for TA experts and organisations. In the show, Eleven had her band of loyal friends, Mike, Will, Lucas and Dustin, who were later joined by Nancy, Jonathan, Max, Steve, Robin, Erica, and Eddie. The disruptions, troubles, challenges at work are common, now more than ever, as employees have to keep adapting. But if you have to get through it all without losing yourself, you need extremely loyal friends, who would help you at all costs and not throw you under the bus. So know at all times, who you can trust and lean on them when the times are rough. They will be your anchor, pulling you off the sinking ship that is the workplace. 

And that’s the stepping stone to better teamwork, collaboration and cohesion. Once you have your team members trusting each other, you can see the transformation. Not every individual is alike but uniqueness can be advantageous to achieve common goals. All you need is a bond that lasts beyond work. 

Follow The Light

Just like Joyce makes the connection about the lights in an effort to find her son, Will in the Upside Down in Season 1 of the sci-fi series, each one of us at work needs to understand the unique patterns that drive business in an organisation. Understanding your role and how it contributes to the larger picture can help you stay motivated and on the path of achievement and accomplishment. If there isn’t a purpose or way forward defined by the employer, carve your own purpose and the goals towards it. Don’t let anyone rob you of the joy of working, ever!

With Quiet Quitting and disengaged employees plaguing HR leaders, there is a need to understand and assess what motivates human beings to work. The world around changed with the onset of the pandemic, but the innermost needs of humans still remain the same. Dig deeper into the minds of your employees to find ways to encourage and empower them. 

Nurture Your Own

In these times when employees are looking for ‘the one’ organisation, Hopper and Eleven’s relationship built on care pops up. While there may be challenges to overcome, but if you care for your own, you will see the results. At the core of it, people need to know that they belong, that they matter and work outlines that definition. So, care a little more and worry a little less about how it translates into revenue or profits. 

Fight The Good Fight

The band of friends and adults in the 80s-based show try to fight and destroy the Mind Flayer at the Star Court Mall in Season 3 with each of them giving their all, taking in all the facts from each other. That’s the way each of the cross-functional teams need to work on diverse projects to use the domain knowledge and find solution while harnessing the power of different minds. At the end, if the fight is for a good cause and you are standing up for what’s right, you’ll never lose. Even when everything is lost, that’s when you will keep going if it’s for good because the good fight brings with it hope. 

HR and talent leaders have to look at their organisation’s ESG, CSR and DEI policies to assess and understand the good they are contributing to the world. If you have that, people will line up to work in your organisation, whose success will change the world for good. 

Be Your Own Superhero

We all want to be superheroes and emulate the traits we lack. But being a superhero doesn’t mean you have to be someone else altogether, but being your true self. And while the workplace policies encourage everyone to be their uninhibited self, most times, managers listen but each and every voice needs to be heard. Eleven was strange but she did find her footing even without her powers. At work, do your best work possible, and leave the rest. Rise above and be your brilliant, resilient and agile self. 

And with the spotlight today on rewards and recognition, we believe that’s never enough to retain an employee. Any new practice for the sake of implementation reaps no rewards. 

Harness The Power of Music

It was during Season 4 in The Duffer Brothers show when we came across the power of music to get out of the Upside Down and ultimately, that power holds true even in our world. In your times of distress at work, or when people have been awful to you, find that space of yours and listen to powerful music that’s shaped you over the decades. Music has a way of rejuvenating and healing the most damaged pieces of your mind. So, the next time you have someone saying unkind words to you, rather than huffing and puffing, just find your corner, gain strength and decide with a calm and composed mind, the way forward which works best for you. 

At work, you will face far too many curveballs, some at par with your expectations and some that came out of nowhere. Don’t let anything make you feel any less than who you are and music is always a great tool to have in your corner. 

Evil is Omnipresent

The heart might hold the key to your innermost feelings but don’t let it get lost in the world of work. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes you fall under the spell of evil. But evil never ends, it evolves, as depicted in the four seasons of the show. No matter how many jobs you change, toxicity is right around the corner. So, give your all to your work but draw strict boundaries that lets you recover and realise that work is just a part of your life. Chase dreams, purpose and passion and not money, mockery and evil motives. 

Be well at all times and build the right mechanisms to switch off from work. It’s a necessity if you wish to overcome the small and big challenges that would dominate the world of work in the next decade. Work can always wait while life is being lived!

And if you are indeed eager to find out about the strange things in L&D, you can be a part of People Matters L&D Conference ’23 on October 13 at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, where we will reflect upon the superpowers in the AI-powered digital economy with some of the visionaries, who’ve been shaping the L&D landscape. Register now!



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Topics: Life @ Work, Strategic HR, #PMLnDIN

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