What does it take for organisations to grow and flourish in a VUCA environment? A strong HR force amongst other things. And as a part of this column, Kenneth W Wheeler tells us the equilibrium mantra that can act as a compelling purpose for every HR individual to play the part and be the driving force to effectively manage, sustain, thrive, and scale in the VUCA environment!
To be victorious in today’s prevalent VUCA environment one must maintain a calm and composed state of mind and use an equilibrium approach to maintain a good balance. The most equipped to don, this hat is the HR fraternity. This conviction drew me to identify the HR Equilibrium Mantra that can act as a compelling purpose for every HR individual to play the part and be the driving force to effectively manage, sustain, thrive, and scale in the VUCA environment!
However, before we deep dive into it, here is something worth noting – VUCA environment has always existed; the difference in today’s world comes from two key components:
A) The Pace of Change is Relentless:
The market, customer, business and even employee behaviour are changing at a rapid speed which you cannot escape noticing and being overwhelmed with. Everything is accessible instantly and on-demand. Business models keep evolving at short intervals to adapt to the new external environment. New technology becomes redundant in the blink of an eye. Employees have shorter tenures with organisations and look for purpose-driven work.
B) Impact of Scale is Exponential:
Technology has shrunk our world and hence the scale of impact for any VUCA event quickly gets engulfed as a global phenomenon. Uber, which started as the movement to change how local transportation is consumed in the US, quickly became a phenomenon touching millions across the World.
To draw parallels to the VUCA environment at work, we must look at the following HR disruptors:
- Influence of younger workforce behaviour
- A new era of ‘Youth Leadership’
- A burst of GIG economy
- Diversity and Inclusion norm
- Conscious rise of CSR
- The constant need to upgrade skill sets to be future fit
- Balancing Technology touch with Human touch
The workforce today is more digital, global, diverse, automation driven and social media proficient, which makes the transition from ‘change is the only constant’ to ‘change is the only normal’! What makes HR a centrifugal force in this situation is what I have complied and titled an HR Equilibrium Mantra!
What are These HR Equilibrium Mantras?
1. Power of Observation
To take an effective business decision today one rests on the reliability of available business data points. When it comes to data points on people/employees, the excel sheet depicts just a small sample; what matters most is the people data that only an HR can share by the means of observations. Daily observation on employee behaviour pattern, enthusiasm, motivation mechanism, their dreams, aspirations as well as their fears and challenges can be accomplished only through the HR mechanism. HR with a gifted eye can feed that equilibrium people data to business heads as it is always the ‘people’ that make a company grow, thrive and prosper.
2. Intuition to See Through the VUCA Fog
HR leaders can see through the VUCA fog, anticipate and take real-time action to manage an outcome in your favour. Strategic HR leaders penetrate through the fog and bring in that great equilibrium to proactively see VUCA as an opportunity to shine. While most see the VUCA environment as challenging and difficult to thrive, HR looks at it as a supreme opportunity to bring forth the best in you and your abilities and, most importantly, have others see and build a similar perspective.
3. Build Resilience to Cultivate a Growth Mindset
HR, in the capacity of a coach and a consultant, presents the best equilibrium to promote a culture of resilience. When the fast frequency of change is inevitable, resilience promotes a growth mindset where employees’ core thinking transitions from uncertainty in the face of constant change to building an ability to come back stronger than before. HR creates a resilience mindset where individuals become creative, curious, agile, proactive and comfortable with continuous change by being agile to adapt effectively and produce the best business results.
4. Bring Visibility to Every Incremental Victory
In an ambiguous situation, when your roadmap is uncertain, the need to bring visibility to success stories and assurance acts as a great motivational fodder. HR equilibrium impact in executing this thought, in reality, can hardly be debated. It is important to realized that it is always about achieving small gains consistently and winning the confidence of all stakeholders to maintain the desired customer, business and people progress.
5. Power of Empathy
Empathy is the strongest HR equilibrium element to successfully manage VUCA! HR professionals thrive on displaying the ‘human’ element naturally and hence will always stand tall in empathizing with all relevant business stakeholders, clients and as well as investors. HR leaders using this powerful tool represent themselves as trusted partners for companies’ top think tank to always find the most effective way of maintaining sanity amidst VUCA environment at work – Who else but HR can be the ‘custodian’ to drive empathy!
6. Agility in Learning and Development
Organisations are focused on growth to increase output, decrease cost and improve efficiencies. What organisations miss out is that the foundation to achieve or build number growth depends on ‘Development’. Agile L&D is what promotes the development of people skills, new processes, systems and scale, new technology, leadership maturity and the mindset to move from ‘static’ to ‘dynamic’ to an ‘adaptive’ approach. The equilibrium of HR brings in the development domain is significant. To wrap it up on an enthusiastic note.
The HR Equilibrium Mantra profoundly aids Leadership to convert the question of ‘WHY’ when a courageous decision is announced and there is volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity around its success to ‘WHY NOT’ and influence all around them to take challenges head-on while keeping calm and composed. It is the secret weapon that helps you to be customer, business, people and investor triumphant – pay heed or be left behind!