This was the 4th time in a month that Aaradhya’s son had fallen sick. The rising pollution level and rainy season triggered bronchitis in her son. Each time it took atleast 3 -4 days for her son to recover and she could not focus on the strategic project which she was working on. As a Manager it was not just her work which was getting impacted but the whole team’s work was suffering. The Business Leader was concerned about the project progress and discussed it with Shakti, the HR Business Partner (HRBP).
What should Shakti as an HRBP do? Should she wear the hat of an Administrative Expert and check the number of leaves Aaradhya is left with? Should she act as a Change Agent and worry about the example which will be set in the team if they gave too much flexibility to her? Should she think like a Strategic Partner and evaluate the impact on business due to her absence? Or should she become an Employee Champion and consider how best can she keep a HIPO such as Aaradhya engagaed?
The daily dilemmas of HRBPs are not easy. In this age of VUCA, there are no chances that it is going to get any better soon. So how do we ensure that HRBP is equipped to address these dilemmas effectively?
Meaning of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking is a mental attitude in which one expects good and favorable results. It is a process of creating thoughts that create and transform energy into reality. A positive mind waits for happiness, health and a happy ending in any situation. 1
Power of Positive Thinking
Research has revealed that being positive helps in making better decisions even under pressure situations. Not only do positive people maintain a broader perspective and see the big picture but they also cope with stress better. Positive psychology is gaining popularity in the workplace because it is seen as an effective way of cutting stress, boosting morale and improving productivity. It is high time for HRBPs to think positive and facilitate employees to do the same to create high performing and highly engaged organizations.
By being positive HRBPs would replace their negative thoughts with positive ones and focus on how a situation can be addressed more effectively. They would focus on possibilities (WHAT CAN BE DONE instead of WHAT CAN’T BE DONE) and encourage business to do the same. They would be committed to live by the values of organization and support business to choose the same path.
HR’s contribution to the Think Positive mission
Recognizing Positive Thinking as a value
The impact of positive thinking on organization success and employee wellbeing cannot be underestimated. The success recipe for many and more successful people is their determination to make a lifestyle around positive thinking. It is thus a natural conclusion to make Positive Thinking as an organizational value to emphasize the importance organization intends to give to it. Leaders should practice positive affirmations, managers should use words that evoke strength and employees should be encouraged to use positive words when talking. HRBPs should set guidelines and processes / systems to enable the same.
Building talent capabilities
Positive thinking is not sustainable if it is not backed by equipping employees with skills that would help them in responding effectively to work situations. HRBPs should partner with business to conduct regular talent reviews, run leadership development, succession planning, HIPO development, employee development programs. They should regularly monitor the success of these programs and proactively indulge in process improvements.
Honing feedback giving skills of managers
As a wise man has said, “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” With recent changes in performance management system the need for constructive feedback cannot be over emphasized. The feedback needs to be constructive and future oriented else employees will feel burdened with overdose of feedback. HRBPs not only need to provide periodic behavioral training to their managers but also assess them on how they are faring on this skill. HRBPs need to provide individual guidance to managers in case they are struggling to be positive in their approach. Leaders need to take initiative and set right examples for others to follow.
Promoting Work Life Balance
Introducing employment policies that encourage work life balance for employees can bring real benefits to business. It not only leads to employee loyalty, lower absenteeism, less stressed workforce, improved employee health, lower attrition rates but also increases productivity. HRBPs should encourage employees to spend time on meditation, physical exercise, healthy diet, inculcating hobbies, spending quality time with family. Good habits help people to embrace life warmly and remain focused on work.
As another wise man has said, “The arts, quite simply, nourish the soul. They sustain, comfort, inspire. There is nothing like that exquisite moment when you first discover the beauty of connecting with others in celebration of larger ideals and shared wisdom.” HRBPs should not only enable high performance but also create a culture of celebration of key milestones in the team. Good work should be appreciated and recognized. Apart from this special occasions in the lives of employees such as birthdays, anniversaries etc. should also be celebrated. This helps in connecting employees and spreading positivity in the organization.
Infact, the power of positive thinking can empower HRBPs to perform their multiple roles in ways unimagined before. It is high time for HRBPs to Think Positive.