It has always been important for business leaders to bring out the best in people around them. But during the pandemic unlocking the human potential and building a relationship of trust with your workforce, peers and the community has become more important than ever. The pandemic has clearly shown that humans are not just a resource but a bundle of possibilities. It has reiterated the importance of people and the role they play in achieving business success.
“Especially when times are uncertain, what sort of human beings you have around you in your business is important. People who will give their best, people who you can trust, who will not be an impediment,” said Sadhguru, Founder-Isha Foundation.
To explore practical and implementable solutions for businesses in a world sideswiped by a global pandemic Isha Leadership Academy (ILA) held its annual Human is NOT a Resource (HINAR) leadership program on a virtual platform on 8th August 2020.
The program was moderated by Shalini Kamath, Founder and CEO, SK & Associates and featured Alok Tandon CEO of INOX. Here are some key takeaways from the virtual program:
Employee well-being in focus: What works amid crisis?
“How people motivate themselves and inspire themselves when the chips are down is very important,” said Alok Tandon, CEO of INOX.
Keeping employees motivated has been one of the biggest challenges that leaders across all sectors have faced. The same sentiment echoed throughout the discussions on Saturday. The many business leaders in attendance shared what has worked well for them to maintain employee well-being amid the ongoing pandemic and how they are keeping the people motivated.
An inclusive decision-making process
It has been found that organizations which had recognized the need to include employees in decision-making had gained their trust and responded innovatively to the challenges.
BS Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN, and Non-Executive Chairman, Shoppers Stop cited the example of an organization walking the talk by engaging employees to find solutions; the employees surprised millions of their customers by calling to check on their wellbeing. The customers, who were accustomed to only receiving sales calls from the organization, were pleasantly surprised by the organization’s expression of concern.
Empowering employees with trust & accountability
It is important to trust your employees in a fully virtual work environment, while extending them the support and providing them with the resources that they need to do their jobs efficiently. The nature of work for each function or role is different. Each employee or professional has their own style and approach to work. For a smooth employee experience, while working in a new reality of work amid a crisis, leaders have to refrain from micro-managing their employees and give them the space and flexibility to work on their deliverables.
As Sangeeta Pendurkar, CEO, Pantaloons and Jaypore, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, said, “Cut my pay, don’t cut my self-esteem.”
Maintaining the human connection
It is important to acknowledge the anxiety everyone would be dealing with at this point of time as well. And the solution for that is not mere meditation virtual sessions but to be there for all, be more compassionate than ever before.
Basab Mitra, Partner, McKinsey & Company said, “With many employees working remotely, organizations must adapt to a new kind of leadership that was less intrusive and more collaborative - building trust and leading for results.”
The new normal has made people excessively dependent on technology and connectivity which are not always seamless and trouble-free. Hence, it is critical to ensure that the human connection is not compromised in the new virtually connected world of work.
When all of this gets over or better, employers and leaders who were resilient, patient, compassionate and were able to prioritize employees’ well-being will not only be better positioned to bounce back but also be remembered and celebrated.