It was a rainy Sunday afternoon. As I sat down near my window, sipping tea and listening to the radio, I felt connected to the world. This feeling or sense of oneness wasn’t new. In these harsh times, as an HR professional, my priority is to stay connected and keep a finger on the pulse of engagement and communication.
Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of work, triggering widespread disruptions across HR functions - right from engagement to talent acquisition. With virtual workplaces becoming the new normal, the challenges have only just begun.
The complications of a virtual workspace are pushing HR professionals to rethink and reimagine how they can provide employees with a seamless work environment and help them stay engaged. Meetings have turned into video calls, tasks have devolved into emails and workplaces have been compressed into laptops. At times, one cannot help but feel that we are only talking to boxes on the screen! Therefore, these days, it has become all the more necessary for HR teams to connect and rebuild a stronger relationship with the voices behind the screen. It’s what radio jockeys or RJs do - using their voice to connect with millions behind the boxes.
Radio jockeys know how to forge a personalized connection with their audience. This made me think about how RJs like Ameen Sayani have been mastering this art over the years and how they can effortlessly strike a chord with the audience, just with their voice. Indeed, in the ‘new normal’, HR professionals have a lot to learn from RJs - they need to learn how to connect with employees spread across multiple geographies.
Here are a few tips and tricks we can learn from RJs.
- Keep it simple and honest: RJ Sayema Rehman at Radio Mirchi believes you need to connect from the heart, by being honest and selfless, whereas RJ Vidit at Radio Mirchi says successful engagement is all about keeping things simple. Why complicate things? Likewise, it is better for HR teams to keep things simple and honest while attempting to build connections with employees. You should put your heart into it - engagement with your workforce shouldn’t look like a forced attempt.
- True empathy: Empathy is required in every conversation and connect. RJ Sayema believes that respect and empathy win hearts. For HR personnel, it is truly imperative to put themselves in the others’ shoes and establish an unshakeable bond with employees. Empathy must supersede every other emotion in order to truly connect.
- Thorough research: Whenever you turn on the radio, at any given point in the day, it seems like the RJ knows exactly what to play, say or do for that particular moment. This can be attributed to research - sometimes casual, sometimes meticulous. An RJ makes an effort to know his or her audience. Likewise, a key competency for any HR professional is to understand employee behaviour. A competent HR person in today’s diverse workplace must know what employees need or want. This allows HR to provide an improved experience to employees, tailor-made to their preferences. This in turn will help employees repose their trust in HR.
- Consistent listening: RJ Sayema says that all you need to do is listen. That builds connection. A true listener will understand and analyse any situation in a much more competent manner than someone who does not know how to listen. Listening is, therefore, a key HR competency that each HR professional needs to be adept at. The sources to listen and absorb are ever increasing and they pave the way to providing a personalised connect with each employee. This helps in providing a personalized connect with each employee.
- Reinvention: If you were to look at a RJ in the present day and compare to how they were at any moment of time in their career, you would find a stark difference. Whether be it presentation, speech, energy levels, and so on, things change with time. It is known as “reinvention”. RJ reinvent themselves to remain relevant and together with the times. This helps them maintain their audience. A HR personnel, traditionally, has a specific set of activities to carry out. This seeps into how they interact with the employees as well. To remain relevant, a HR must be in tune with what the current employee wants and needs. Else, the HR risks losing the respect of the employees
- Multiple communication channels: In the present world of social media, RJs have taken to alternative modes of communication like Instagram, YouTube and so on to reach out to a global audience. Similarly, HR teams need to build a unified work culture and a positive employer brand by seeking alternative methods of communication, instead of relying heavily on traditional methods such as pulse surveys, engagement activity, etc.
RJ Vidit has nicely summarized that there are only two things at a radio station: a voice and a heart. We all are dealing with humans, and If you talk from your heart, it will touch the heart of the audience.
A modern employee requires modern HR techniques to feel connected and engaged. The traditional ways don’t cut it anymore. An employee today wants to be understood, to be valued. Incorporating modern HR techniques will get the best out of an organization’s most valuable asset – its employees.
Let’s become the RJs of our organizations.