A Healthy Employee Experience Demands A People-First Approach
Management has received a complaint against a senior executive being involved in a sexual harassment case. But, this time, it is a man that has been ‘inappropriately’ harassed by another man, causing a rippling effect to your company’s healthy employee experience. Your company’s POSH policy however only has provisions for ‘women’ as victims. What do you do?
You know that a colleague has been taking bribes from a particular client to get work done. However, your whistleblower policy doesn’t make any specific mention about taking ‘gifts in kind’. How will you react?
Your team member’s newborn child is running a temperature and she needs to extend the maternity leave. They have however overshot their paid, sick, as well as medical leaves and your organization does not have a leave donation policy. How can you help?
Instances like these cannot always be predicted. And hence, a standard operating process just doesn’t make the cut to deal with them.
Business First With A People-First Approach
According to a global study by SAP & Qualtrics, the pandemic has left 75% of people feeling socially isolated, 57% feel higher anxiety, 67% of people have reported higher stress levels, and 53% claim to be more exhausted than before, emotionally!
Yes, employee wellbeing has been around for a while. But how many organizations strive to make it a core fundamental of their employee experience?
What organizations really need, is to adopt a people first approach. It’s all about how you make your people feel working ‘with’ you – As a leader, as an organization, as a brand. Employees want to be heard and treated in a humane manner. Well, who doesn’t? If somebody approaches you with a genuine concern, wouldn’t you be willing to walk an extra mile to help them out? That is the same attitude that organizations need to adopt. And before organizations, leaders must be sensitized to be fair and objective.
Respond Not React
Are HR interventions always needed to resolve minor interpersonal differences? Does there have to be a process put in place every time somebody makes a snide remark, bullies someone as a ‘casual joke’, or humiliates a peer, publically? How then are we aiming to achieve a holistic employee experience, if every instance needs to be accounted for with a ‘process’ in place?
Managers and leaders need to proactively connect with their teams to understand the problems being faced in real-time. Data from pulse surveys will only be able to make a surface level impact if not used in the right manner. But only when leaders strive to self-inculcate an empathetic and people-led approach, will there be an actual change in the decision making, as well as the execution process. Because sometimes, processes and policies need to take the backseat when dealing with a critical situation. Sometimes, all it takes to solve a problem, is a patient and a genuinely listening ear.
It is extremely crucial to establish a mechanism for decoding happiness at work, beyond engagement. A well-structured training program that also focuses on conflict resolution can help managers understand how they can support the HR teams by being the bridge between the problem and the escalation.
Creating a holistic and healthy employee experience is an everyday effort and will require every associated individual to willingly contribute. Determining the happiness quotient of the workplace may be difficult at times; even ambiguous. But together, all people problems will have a people solution, instead of a pre-defined process. And when that happens, you can claim to be an organization that is diverse, inclusive, and provides a healthy employee experience.