It’s unfortunate that it’s taking a pandemic of epic proportions for Global Inc. to explore this question of alternates in the talent strategy. Over the years, many organizations have made pot fulls on digitizing workplaces, HR processes and automating workflows, to call it a transformation! No, I am not against these incremental steps, however, I cringe when our minds stop functioning beyond automating & digitizing. In my various roles as CHRO, I have most certainly looked at this aspect, but as one aspect…and not the only.
Through this canvas, I would like to explore some aspects of talent (ie: us employees, managers and leaders, alike.) and Corporations, in the new normal.
From sourcing to assessing to interviewing to onboarding; things will & if I stick my neck out, should change. I will steer clear of tele/video interviews, as that’s passé. Let me dwell on sourcing and onboarding.
What this sustained remote working (for industries that can afford it) is highlighting is the fact that being physically located in one premise is more a manager’s need than a business requirement. I ask around and am told that productivity has not dipped- actually, to the contrary! This leads us to believe that we can source our talent from far wider geographies without the need to re-locate to where the office is based. So, you are broadening your talent pool, and reaching those candidates who would love to work for you, but mobility was restricted.
“The Diversity & Inclusion agenda that many organizations hoped to accomplish, can be a reality, faster. Here, I am not getting into the prep that is needed to be more accepting of the diverse talent that we wish to hire. I am just assuming that enough prep has already gone in.”
Through this, the sociology of your organization undergoes a change over time. This changing sociology adds a new dimension to your cultural fabric and throws up a whole new configuration of your workforce.
Implications for Managers and Leaders
If the sourcing base were to change so fundamentally resulting in changed constitution of the workforce, what challenges would our managers and leaders encounter?
For starters, we would need them to trust. Starting with themselves. Yes, trust themselves that they can manage/lead such a spread out and diverse team. (here I am not talking of those leaders who already lead teams pan geography). However, they need to re-imagine how they lead ie: old methods of ‘watching over’ and being always available, would need to change.
Leaders will also need to start ‘promoting’ their teams much more. Many a times, actual visibility of members helped in recognising them too. With dispersed teams and concentrated leadership, giving your team the needed visibility would become a sine qua non.
We will need to articulate our expectations (timelines, quality, etc.) very clearly. Much will happen over the written medium, and thus sharper & focussed written communication will be heightened. Our spoken ability too will need recalibration, as virtual meetings can’t last forever; like many physical meetings did in office.
We will need to open hearts! The logical mind will adopt very well i.e.: we will learn how to ‘monitor’ tasks, how to review goals etc. Simultaneously, we will need to be far more tolerant, inclusive & accepting, work with fewer assumptions & judgments and be empathetic.
For an Employee
Very important for us to be able to prioritise and stick to that backlog. This prioritisation must be in sync with our manager (lest we lose their trust), and if for some reason you feel the need to reprioritise, dialogue again with your manager.
Remote working does not mean you don’t take leaves! We need to be very careful here. We need legit time off (and here I am not referring to those 1 – 2 hours breaks that we take). There will be days when you need your full day off, for whatever reason. Please be sure to apply for that leave! Don’t try and camouflage. That’s how trust is built or broken.
One harsh lesson that this pandemic has driven home; don’t selflessly extract from mother Earth. Take as much as you need (not want) and replenish more than what you take. Just look around, Earth is healing itself from our tragic exploitation and healing fast. She seems to be telling us, “I can selfheal, if you are too busy in your capitalist pursuits to not care. Just let me breathe”.
I hope Global Inc. acts more sensibly and sensitively towards Earth first, as its prime stakeholder. Yes, we corporate role holders understand this language of ‘stakeholder management’. Please treat this Earth that we are fortunate to walk on, as one of the most important stakeholders. Then come your employee, government bodies, shareholders et al. Learn to respect Earth, and it will manage itself.
Treat your vendors (I like to call them partners) with the same respect that you like to be treated. This 30-60 day credit policy is ludicrous. They need finances as much as we do; they have obligations towards their ecosystem too. Don’t boss them.
The bare minimum that we do under the umbrella of CSR; expand the ambit and don’t just cut a cheque at the end of every financial quarter/year. Do a little more than the bare minimum. Don’t count the ROI on this; this is just a token that you are reciprocating for the largesse of your community, your region, your country.
While if the last para sounds too lofty, here is one thing that we must do i.e.: Make it a rule for corporations (that have the wherewithal and opportunity) to encourage at least 10 days a month to work from home. And ideally, local industry bodies should orchestrate this measure in such a way that all firms in a given town/city implement these 10 days synchronously on the same days across all establishments.
Give Earth a chance for her to give us one……