Blog: Is your organization listening to you?


Is your organization listening to you?

The author met David Sturt, EVP OC Tanner which triggered a series of thoughts regarding culture building and employee engagement.
Is your organization listening to you?

A month back, I had the privilege to meet David Sturt, the Executive Vice President of the OC Tanner group. For those who are not aware, Sturt is involved in cutting-edge research in the rewards and recognition space with the OC Tanner Institute. Over the course of his visit, he was the keynote speaker at the People Matters Total Rewards and Wellness Conclave 2018 held on 12th January 2018, apart from also being the keynote speaker during the closed roundtable discussions organized by People Matters in Delhi and Bangalore. During all of the discussions and interactions that he had with the HR community in India, and via the People Matters channels, revolved around the most important aspects of what defines a work culture, employee engagement and the essentials of great work in an organizational setting.

Be a listener

Before I plunge into all the incredible insights which were shared by Sturt, I would first want to set the context of why organizations need to listen to the insights that he had to share. Listening to your employees helps. It is similar to how marketers understand their customers and target audience, which helps them in devising marketing programs. The employees are also like internal customers and hence the best way to design employee engagement programs, or reward programs for them is to understand them.

 Think employees first

Today, most Indian organization have the aspirations to be global. And the most important metric that defines success, at least in India, is probably profitability. While the HR technology that is on offer has great takers in India and is more readily accepted than other developing nations around the world, the human side of technological implications on the culture of the organization, or most specifically on the employees emotional well being at the workplace are not understood by many. 

Adopting HR technology

A lack of comprehension in this regards could potentially lead to the unethical use of technology, something that organization worldwide are even today struggling with. In the era of fourth industrial revolution, workforce trends already favor a gig economy. And, I think a lot of that movement has also to do with the current workplace practices.

And this is why it becomes even more important for organizations and HR professionals specifically to think about their talent strategy, and not in terms of just identifying the talent pool and sourcing employees, but also in terms of creating a culture which is attractive to the employees. If organization today could start to define their employee value proposition in terms of culture, then possibly they would have less of a trouble in onboarding the candidate, and also in defining a culture fit for the organization.

Creating positive culture requires conscious and strategic effort

For those who have read about the importance of culture fit, and not just in terms of hiring new people, but also the impact of culture when it comes to acquisitions and mergers, they would see that I have made enough case for an organization to focus on a ‘positive culture’ building efforts. And now, we will jump on to the what Sturt describes as the six talent magnets.

The talent magnets are nothing but the precise attributes which make an organization’s culture attractive. They are as follows: Purpose, Opportunity, Success, Appreciation, Wellbeing, and Leadership. To know more about them in greater detail, you can also read the article 'Creating an engaging employee culture'.

Moving ahead and implementing the talent magnets

While a lot of research already talks about the increased engagement levels of the employees within the organization when they are connected with the purpose of the organization, the question that comes to one’s mind is how many Indian organizations are actually connecting their employees with a purpose?

And the question which is even more critical is ‘Are organizations actually committed to the purpose they claim to espouse?’

If employees see a gap in what the organization communicates and what they practice, the connect with the organizational purpose will not be possible.

For that matter as per the research which was shared by the OC Tanner Institute with People Matters, 1 in 5 employees believes that their organization has no reason to exist. Maybe, it is time for the organization to truly reflect and think about the purpose they serve.

Create learning opportunities

The second aspect was about opportunity. What was really striking about it is that though most organizations think of promotion as a form of opportunity, many employees are not necessarily looking for only promotion. For that matter, for most employees, the sense of opportunity lies in contributing to the organization’s goals and learning along the way. For that matter, what employees want more than anything else is a ‘seat at the table’, and the opportunity to influence major decisions at their workplace.

When the research states, that more than half of the employees feel that their skills are underutilized at the workplace, it is the time that the organizations figure out how best should they utilize the skills and the platforms and the opportunity that needs to be offered to them.

Enable your HiPOs

The third is Success. Research states that successful organizations are more innovative, more focused, more productive, and have a firm intention of making a difference to the customers. But more importantly,  employees feel that they have the tools and resources available in the organization which ensures that they actually make a difference to their own lives at the workplace.

Here the question to the organization is, ‘Are the organization giving their employees enough resources which would enable them to deliver their best?’

The truth is that many organizations in the world have resource constraints, however, the challenge does not only lie here but a lot of times organizations also do not have the clarity of what needs to be categorized as an investment and what needs to be categorized as a cost center. Organizations not only need to align their long-term resource investment strategy as per the organizational goals, but also identify the HiPO talent in their organization and also invest in resources that enable their most coveted talent to succeed within the organization.

Keep tuned in!

I have already covered the three talent magnets which were discussed by David Sturt. YOu can read about the other three talent magnets here: Appreciating, taking care and leading people: Key to culture building.



Talent Magnets: 6 Essential Aspects of Workplace Culture, OC Tanner Institute

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Topics: #Culture, Talent Acquisition

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