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In the pursuit of metrics like productivity, efficiency, and constant growth, we often forget about the importance of their less tangible counterparts: trust, relationships, and community, Ayelet Baron argues in her article “Why Empathy is Key to 21st Century Business.”
Forcing employees to segment themselves into emotional “personal” and hard-hearted “professional” selves is actually harmful, and carries over into departmental relations.
"When one department, such as marketing, needs to fight another department, like sales, for budget and headcount instead of finding ways to align and integrate around the shared purpose of the business. Imagine what could happen if sales and marketing had a joint purpose and did not need to battle each other. The opportunities and gains would be significant,” Baron explains. She provides three questions to consider in order to integrate empathy into the workplace:
But the first step in building empathy? “Learning how to have empathy for yourself,” Baron says. Something magic happens when we start asking new questions and listening deeply to what is in our hearts and minds. “We can make business a driver of a saner and healthier world for all of us on this planet.”
Job hopping employees are a huge expense for the average business, and rates of job hopping are increasing. Much of this has been attributed to “just the way millennials are,” but Dave Brock disagrees. He provides the following, more realistic reasons, why employees are job hopping more than ever:
Coincidentally enough, Brock explains, great companies that do these things don’t have a job hopping problem.
And consider the childhood experience of the average millennial. “Where prior generations saw loyalty to a company as a virtue, their children saw the companies not being loyal to their parents,” Brock explains. “As a consequence, loyalty to an employer is not part of their value system.”
When leadership does not look out for those under their supervision, providing feedback and the opportunity to grow, people job hop. For most employees job hopping entails a substantial pay cut- that’s how much of an impact poor leadership can have.
So what to do? Empower management teams to provide support to those under them. Encourage those in management roles to value each team member as a person, not a cog in the machine.
While in years past the term “blended workforce” has been used to describe the integration of different genders, races, and generations into the workforce, now it is coming to describe an integrated system of full time employees, part time employees, consultants, and other “Gig Economy” workers,” Mike Haberman explains. But what does this mean for HR?
“There will be many challenges in structuring this mix of workers,” Haberman says. “One of the major challenges HR will have with this blended workforce is how it will work together.” Consideration will have to be given to robotic workers, as well as those who might find themselves supplanted by automation.
HR will be challenged with determining how to train, who to train, what training is allowed by law, and how everything is to be delivered in an effective manner. “It is certain that HR will be tasked with making it work,” Haberman asserts.
Keep this in mind as the Gig Economy reaches critical mass.
“We’re going on well over fifteen years of thinking about employee engagement in organizations,” Trish McFarlane begins. “And the results have not changed much from when we first started the analysis.”
So why bother chasing the white elephant of engagement? For one, tech has changed. McFarlane discusses three engagement solutions that have been bolstered by tech:
But engagement is not a one-way street. There are things employees can do to foster their own engagement, as well:
In other words, focus on the relationship, not “individual inputs and levers.”
Cool workplace incentives are trending up, says Ben Eubanks. But some organizations struggle to create an employee-friendly work environment.
“The difference is that companies with successful incentives programs know why they are offering certain benefits.” Eubanks explains. “Others just choose perks that they think sound cool.” He links to a helpful infographic that outlines ten of the best workplace incentives: