Who Turned Our Sand Clock? 0

Harini Sreenivasan
My article of May 2019 (Mirror, mirror on the wall…Are organizations diverse at all?) made many eyeballs turn. When I wrote that piece, I was trying to break myths around diversity in organizations. While gender diversity is good, that is not the only aspect. My 4-point approach towards driving diversity has been well received by my readers. Has anything changed since then? Not really, I would say. In fact, with the pandemic and its effects, diversity and inclusion has taken a prominent place once again. Geographical boundaries have blurred and opened up tremendous opportunities for diverse co-working. Time to re-think and reboot!

On a lazy Sunday morning in March 2020, I smiled and greeted Life. My conversations with Life have been going on for a while now and I was almost close to winning a bet that ‘I drive my destiny’. Wasn’t it beautiful with many hours spent in the skies, jetting across cities, meetings, and student interactions? Life grinned back at me and my cell phone beeped with notifications. Amongst many were reminders from Khyati Sehgal, my dear friend and editor of All Things Talent magazine. Oh yes! In my happy flirtations with life, I had missed the deadline for my article.

As I began to quickly type, my attention got diverted to a very unusual call for curfew all over the city. It sounded strange at first and only got stranger as I realized that the entire world was going through an unprecedented crisis! Hey! Am I losing my bet?

Harini Sreenivasan 2Since then, the time has flown past, the way we work has changed completely and once again there is a reminder about the missed deadline. This time wisdom overtook my confidence and I type this piece with a thoughtful smile and a hopeful heart. Let’s walk down my memory lane with All Things Talent and reflect. I have been a crusader of change, advocating happy workplaces (April 2019 article). For me, “Aah to Ahaa!” sounded like a measurement of stress-free workplaces. Happy, high performing teams are nurtured with care. It’s proven beyond doubt that even today, when team members are physically distant and led remotely, it is only trust, transparency and empathy that seems to keep them going.

The year gone by has had organizations redefine their expectations from the workforce. New ways of working have emerged. Now when one looks at the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) “through the looking glass”, it goes without saying that it needs a complete revamp. Strategy makers are at it, drawing empathy maps with personas and identifying the intersection between employee expectations and employer expectations.

The year gone by has had organizations redefine their expectations from the workforce. New ways of working have emerged. Now when one looks at the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) “through the looking glass”, it goes without saying that it needs a complete revamp (June 2019 article). Strategy makers are at it, drawing empathy maps with personas and identifying the intersection between employee expectations and employer expectations. Corporate Inc is heading towards new value propositions and employer branding.

Also Read:  Agile HR - A Solution-Driven Approach to the Future of Work

Sandclock

The world is now gravitating towards digital and so are our dashboards and reports. Looking into the future with predictive analytics is gaining momentum since we want to make ourselves future resistant. “Are we ready for predictive analytics?” (An article I wrote back in August 2019). Asking the right questions in the right context has provided us with very useful insights which are leading indicators for us to pave a forward path.

What is our solution to the future of work, you ask? Of course, quick response to the stimulus, rapid course correction and most importantly, keeping a people-centric approach reigning over processes and tools. Doesn’t it look like Agile is here to stay? In the current context, working from home or wherever we are, does the concept of a ‘9-5 job’ really exist? Even if it did, “are you making a living?”. To address this, organizations are revisiting their strategies by following these simple hacks:

  • Drive home simple messages and live by them at all times.
  • Make positive messaging the DNA of your organisation.
  • Leverage your employees as your recruiting army and experiment with new ways of hiring that are more inclusive.
  • Encourage them to talk about their success stories on social media – Do not feel threatened to let your employees talk in conferences and forums.
  • Leverage on their personal brand value instead.
  • Revamp your on-boarding process – Early engagement results in positive brand building.
  • Create strong career development opportunities – Let employees know that there is room for them to grow.
Also Read:  Create Happy People, Not Just Successful People @ Workplace

These strategies need a strong foundation so that they sustain and do not crumble. My co-author Rajesh Navaneetham joined me on “Our tryst with Trust” in February 2020 to articulate how trust can be made the fabric of the organization by weaving in communication and transparency as the warp and weft. This is exactly what we need at this hour! With trust built-in, “aren’t we cool about working from home?”. Yes, we are, and this does require a balance between the head and heart, just the right amount of emotional intelligence. Remember, too much of it does take you to its “dark side”.

Talking of matters of the heart, there was a much talked about “Corporate Love Story” in July 2019. While many have lost their jobs, there are many more who are untiringly making efforts to help them make a livelihood. Humanity has risen to the occasion and ‘Ms. Purpose’ is doing her best even when ‘Mr. Profit’ is battling for life.

The pandemic is the culprit that turned the sand clock upside down! About this time last year (October 2019), I was beginning to feel VUCA was an oft-used acronym and perhaps even as an excuse at times. That’s where life got the better of me and threw me into another VUCA. Of course, we are the “Avengers that manage the VUCA”, aren’t we? Here we are finding solutions to the challenges of the new normal and plugging each gap, slowly but steadily. We are not going to let the finger snap happen!

Phew! What a roller coaster ride it has been. At this point, my friend and co-author, Sahil Nayar, joined me on the onward journey to assure all our readers who mean the world to us, that with our collective strength and wisdom, we have “sailed the storm and are gearing up to dance in the rain” (Sep 2020 article).

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