Tensions in the job market are pushing HR departments to reinvent themselves and implement new schemes to attract and retain talent. In an increasingly competitive market, economic players are deploying considerable resources to enhance the attractiveness of their employer brand. However, a clear priority seems to be emerging: the concept of well-being and individual professional development.
HR teams have a key role to play in this respect. Back in 2016, the Cegos HRB barometer already pointed to one of the qualities employees expect from their HR department: an ability to listen (65%). This means that the relationship with employees is of key importance: it needs to incorporate an “emotional” component.
The goal here is to create a genuinely collaborative experience. In the same way that we often talk of “user experience”, the sole purpose of the “employee experience” is to ensure co-workers can experience special moments in the company, and to enable them to deliver their full potential while working towards a common goal. This is a genuine reality that requires daily effort, not some temporary marketing gimmick for attracting new talent.
This means that women and men, as individuals and not just employees, are the new key assets of any successful and responsible company. It is our task to build the foundations required for their individual and collective professional development.
Employee engagement is founded on three main pillars:
Present a clear project everyone can share, giving all staff a purpose
A survey conducted by Deloitte in late 2017 on more than 2,300 people confirms the importance of this need to find purpose (87% of respondents). The majority of respondents saw this quest for meaning as a collective goal, but it is important not to forget that it also informs daily work at an individual level. For these reasons, the concept of “brownout” – still little known by managers and HR teams – needs to be taken seriously.
Take individuality into account, and acknowledge individuals’ right to be themselves
It is vitally important for companies to take into account the factors driving personal motivation for all their employees. They must then create the conditions needed to produce this individual engagement without always dictating a single, compulsory approach: innovative, open managerial modes, implementing voluntary teleworking schemes, etc. The annual “Family and Business“ study conducted by Viavoice and published in October 2017 offers a good example: 68% of respondents saw the work-family balance as a central issue which could be addressed primarily by considering working hours and adjusting them to individual constraints. “Take Care” acquires its full meaning in this respect, becoming a critical skill for HR teams to master.
Honour commitments and maintain long-term relationships with employees
Once again, the Cegos HRB barometer highlighted the expectations employees have for their HR departments: respect for commitments (65%) and moral integrity (61%). In practical terms, this invokes the company’s ability to fulfil the commitments it made when recruiting the employee, and to deliver on the “famed” promised experience. The subsequent need is then to fulfil the agreed moral contract and uphold its advertised values.
Generally speaking, there are no studies which measure the mathematical correlation between well-being and performance. However, the cost of unhappiness at work, and stress in particular, is responsible for more than 50% of absenteeism in the workplace. This figure alone is worthy of our attention.
This information proves – if any further proof were necessary – that people are at the heart of business performance. Without wishing to paint too rosy a picture of happiness at work, giving employees the opportunity of a professional experience that takes them “to the next level” can make a real difference by surrounding them with long-term, enthusiastic, loyal teams working together in the interests of a shared project in which everyone participates.
However, that doesn’t mean employees should be promoted to the status of kings. The requirements of HR and managers must also be factored into this equation, to maintain a balanced relationship that favours neither individual interest nor collective interest, thus maintaining a win/win relationship in which individual professional development also contributes to collective performance.