HR : 3 key focus areas for 2021

More than ever, companies need to find ways to boost motivation at work. Remote working is not going to stop any time soon, and it is likely to grow and become the norm. We share some insights into which are the 3 focus areas this year to help your teams be successful.
January 22, 2021
202122_Causedirect_HR_3_focus_areas

More than ever, companies need to find ways to boost motivation at work.

Remote working is not going to stop any time soon and is likely to grow and become the norm. Some teams are already seeing a change in behaviour during video conferencing. Without the ability to see each other in person and socialize, people are beginning to adopt a more informal approach to conferences, to give them a more casual and friendly tone.

Humans are social animals by nature.
The lack of connection can make an already stressful situation even worse – especially if there is the fear of losing your job.

How can we improve this dynamic and restore morale to the men and women who work in your organization?

Without making an exhaustive list of all the avenues that could be explored, I would like to mention 3 focus areas that I consider essential.

1. Ensuring well-being in the workplace

As we’ve seen, most of us are stressed at the thought of not only losing our jobs, but also of not being able to adapt to the new standard, not being able to learn fast enough, and, thus, of becoming obsolete or “too old.”

It’s still too early to tell, but the pandemic has likely increased people’s isolation, with the corollary of increased depression, burnout, and other psychological problems.

For all of these reasons, it is important to focus on the well-being of your employees.

This can only be done by:

  • putting people at the core of your organization,
  • giving your employees back their confidence
  • assigning the right levels of responsibility, thus boosting your employees’ confidence,
  • and by recognizing their involvement, making it known to everyone.

A “one-size-fits-all solution” will not help, because everyone has unique experiences. We must take time and invest in the mental well-being of our employees.

It’s not so much a matter of budget, but more of adapting your work culture and posture.

How?

For instance, you can promote compassion and empathy, by regularly asking your teams how they are doing, how they’re approaching the transition, if the reorganization that was deployed went smoothly, and how you can better support each individual.

Some people highly miss the spontaneous interaction that happens when working on-site.

If appropriate and based on the recommendations of your government and health officials, you can check if there are safe ways employees can still come into the office sporadically, so that they can stay further connected to their colleagues.

(Some organizations are also promoting working from a coworking space, if/when appropriate.)

Another idea would be to offer your teams online mindfulness sessions with experts, to teach and foster the benefits of meditation.

You could organize healthy weeks with outdoor activities and cooking suggestions designed by nutritionists.

… and so much more.

In short, it’s about caring for your employees and developing a culture of empathy and kindness. Research has shown that the simple act of helping someone (of volunteering) affects our well-being.

(When we help someone, our body produces serotonin and oxytocin. Both of these hormones boost our feeling of well-being.)

Cultivating empathy, promoting solidarity actions, such as raising funds for a cause or volunteering will considerably reduce stress at work and create a safe work environment.

2. Build a culture of innovation and virtual collaboration

With employees having no physical engagement with each other, organizations may find their innovation and collaboration initiatives hampered. When teams work remotely, inclusion becomes more essential than ever.

Instilling a culture of belonging could well be the main goal for 2021.

One way to boost motivation is to foster innovation.
Specifically, you can encourage your employees to break away from their routine work to take initiatives that can lead to concrete projects.

Activities such as sponsoring skills or challenges to solve a societal problem can also contribute to strengthening ties and creating this innovation-meets-motivation culture.

Through storytelling, a blog can also allow employees to discover each other.
For example, a woman can talk about her experience as a mother of a little boy with autism.

The simple act of talking about it can create solidarity among colleagues through collective action, and encourage other parents who are going through similar experiences to talk about it too.

People love stories.
Especially if the stories are inspiring, and from the heart.

A blog could be helpful to enable your teams to express themselves and share their stories. Sometimes it’s amazing how a simple exercise of writing can significantly improve the well-being of employees.

3. Encourage learning, and not just any way

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” said Benjamin Franklin.

These words are more relevant than ever due to the high rates of employee disengagement and their lack of motivation. A sustainability strategy only makes sense if it involves your employees and if it is translated into concrete actions.

One way to encourage learning – and compensate for the decrease in human interaction – is to use game learning techniques (for instance, online challenges). We recommend contacting gamification specialists to ensure the success of your program.

The interest of game learning is that it can in most cases involve several participants, which has the effect of reinforcing collaboration and teamwork.

In conclusion:

We live in a new age of work environment. People have imagined it for many years, but we are fortunate to be able to exploit it.

It’s incumbent on companies to continue to understand the challenges and opportunities that this hybrid way of working creates, and to come up with new approaches to increase collaboration and innovation.

In short, we need to become more responsible.
The time to act is now.

The idea that the business, especially if it is a publicly-traded organization, must first serve the shareholders, leads most to take short-term measures to the detriment of the staff.

It is essential to take care of the employees, to ensure their well-being, and to support the transition to the new reality of work.

 

Patrick Vieljeux

 

 

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