Stretching beyond the horizon of incentive-based goals and performance appraisals, the new reality of employee engagement is underway. This new way of conducting business emphasizes on the rally for an aspirational mission and dynamic goal-setting under the guidance of capable and “humble” leadership.
Over recent years, the conversation, mainly led by big tech companies, moved further away from traditional management models and towards the importance of the well-being and the “happiness” of employees. If you find yourself scoffing at the significance of this notion, think again. According to recent research from the University of Warwick happiness in the workplace “made people around 12% more productive” and allowed them to use their time more efficiently. It turns out that employee satisfaction and happiness do have a massive impact on an organizations’ bottom line!
Yet, to achieve employee happiness, an organization needs to have solid foundations already: An effective performance management system, positive culture, employee engagement and effective leadership.
Over the past few years, more businesses realize the importance of people-centric business-doing. It is no secret, after all, that low workplace happiness is systematically associated with lower productivity, less than optimal financial results, and employee turnover.
High employee turnover, or simply put, the loss of productive talent, is an indicator of dissatisfied and sometimes overworked employees who, during the workday, did not enjoy recognition, growth, promotion, reward and, perks, among other things.
Employee satisfaction, engagement, and happiness are thus centre-stage and ramify beyond meeting goals and objectives. They call for an organizational construct of climbed-performance where employees are the ones to make a difference on the competitive edge of the firm under the wing of competent leaders. Talent in this manner will surface as existent, ever-evolving, retainable.
It is no secret that effective and impactful workplace culture should be formed and adjusted to serve the corporate mission, vision and strategy. Corporate strategy, in turn, is dictated by managerial success stories and moulded by workplace practices, entailing the corporate leaderships’ visionary ideas.
Positive culture, or the lack thereof, has the power to make or break an organization and has the potential to elevate or undermine its performance. It can drive employee engagement and retention, attract much-wanted talent and impact happiness and satisfaction.
Research by Deloitte confirms that 94% of executives and 88% of employees consider a distinct corporate culture pivotal to a business’ prosperity. Deloitte’s survey also found that 76% of these employees trusted that a “clearly defined business strategy” aides the cultivation of a positive culture.
Performance management and a people-first approach to doing business are quintessential for individual and organizational growth and sustainability. Employee satisfaction and commitment are considered prerequisites regarding achieving productivity and engagement, yet the latter depends significantly on the role of the leader. As academic literature suggests “people exert extra effort in their jobs if they perceive their leaders as effective”.
Slowly but steadily, a new type of management model gains consensus, moving away from historically established inelastic hierarchical structures to the magnum opus of Robert Greenleaf known as “Servant Leadership” in a bid to enhance employee performance and trust. In this framework, the leader transforms into a humble enabler who leads by example and removes obstacles for others to help them thrive.
This type of leader is more humane than the charismatic or the transformational leader, more caring about the happiness of teammates and follows the ongoing mission to wave all barriers for others. Alongside this leadership style surfaces the organizational model of the inverted pyramid. The latter aims to increase agility, communication and flexibility among the members of the organization disregarding century-old principles. The business equivalent of the Darwinian survival of the fittest is the ability to conform to this new reality and change archaic modus operandi incorporating new operational principles together with more employee friendliness.
A study led by the University of Tennessee proved that organizations with employee friendliness reached better returns on assets and equity in comparison to other organizations with lower scores. “These results suggest that creating an EF culture is value-enhancing when managers make choices that are in line with shareholders’ interests,” the study concludes.
According to a recent McKinsey survey, working from home proved more effective in terms of engagement and well-being of employees while at the same time established a strong correlation between their engagement, well-being, productivity and the fulfilment of their stated needs.
The pandemic, beyond a shadow of a doubt, rises, as an opportunity for leaders.
An opportunity to emerge as present, transparent and empathetic and actively address workplace challenges by responding to employee needs and by cultivating the context for trusting relationships and social cohesion to flourish.
In the recent turn of events, the competent leader is invited to treat the COVID-19 era as a chance to return stronger, namely to view it as a situation in which opportunities abound. Individual commitment and performance are critical factors for achieving a competitive advantage. Competitiveness, in turn, is the heart of survival and profitability for every business. To put it succinctly, in a world where products are easily duplicated, and services are as easily emulated what is it that makes a difference in competitiveness?
The ones, of course that produce innovation; the collective talent. Investing in talent and prosperity, inarguably, is the foolproof way to bring that competitive edge to your business.
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things.
He is the one that gets the people
to do the greatest things.”
– Ronald Reagan