With the new year well on its way it’s time to know exactly what we’ll be facing in the workplace this year. Some of the trends emerging in 2019 will no doubt continue, such as awareness around mental health, diversity and inclusion and equal pay. But what’s next on the horizon for leadership teams to deal with?

From an HR perspective, pinpointing the most challenging factors is a difficult task. The organisation and its development usually rest with the people professionals, and as we know, the people are the most important and complex part of any business. Keeping employees engaged and motivated is paramount to success. Here’s how we can aim to create more happy employees and boost productivity in 2020:

 

Take a good, long look at your parental leave policies and agreements

The issue of short or nonexistent paternity leave has been highlighted over the last few years. Some organisations are finally giving fathers (as well as mothers) the opportunity to spend more time with their families. A slew of research has been done on the subject of parental leave. In a 2018 paternity leave study, it was found that “longer periods of [paternal] leave are associated with more frequent engagement in developmental tasks and caretaking when children are infants as well as during the first few years of children’s lives”. Multiple other studies have confirmed the need for fathers to bond with infants as well as giving mothers the support and care they need after birth. If, as an organisation, you want to demonstrate an understanding of how important family is and that you respect your employees’ needs, then a change in leave policies is a great step forward.

 

Employee experience is at the top of most lists for trends this year

Success lies in a great experience for your staff which transfers to your customers and clients. It’s a simple equation. Imagine a workforce that is engaged, grateful and happy. The likelihood of that spilling over into their productivity and execution is high, meaning the end results of their efforts are more likely to be the outcome you are looking for. Obvious examples to look at in this regard are Google, Apple and Facebook, supplying sophisticated work environments, self-directed development, and high remuneration. Since we don’t all have the same resources as the ‘giants’, there are a few alternatives to consider, e.g.

  • Optimise your recruitment process. This is the first contact and therefore a memorable time. Make sure the process candidates experience is authentic, timely and clear.
  • Take Onboarding to the next level. This is the stage where organisations lose people, by underestimating the need for clarity and communication during what is arguably the most important time in any new job.
  • Learning opportunities are invaluable. Take the time to refine your offering to ensure your people stay motivated, up to date and interested in their jobs.
  • Flexibility has become the norm. Make every effort to offer employees a way to contribute in their own time and in a way that makes their lives easier. Working from home to save on commuting, earlier start or end times for those who need it or even onsite exercise facilities. These are all relatively easy ways of facilitating balance.
  • Minimise bureaucracy and hierarchy. In organisations where the lines are short and leaders are quick to connect with their teams, the results are faster and often better. Making sure your people feel included and can collaborate without layers of approval or long waiting times is crucial.

 

Data is everything

Technology today makes it easier for HR teams to collect and analyse data, thereby enhancing decision making. Whether it be assessing leadership skills, budgeting for recruitment or training or gauging employee engagement, this is a valuable tool to adopt in your organisation. Collecting and analysing information can help improve attraction strategies, close skills gaps, reduce employee turnover and ensure higher engagement.

 

And last but not least, the all-important purpose

In recent years we’ve seen a surge of interest and research on purpose. It has been established that purpose is a driver for success in almost every field. If employees understand the purpose of their organisation, their department, their own jobs and those around them, they find greater satisfaction at work. Not to mention drilling down to find their individual purpose. Clarifying purpose from the top to the bottom ensures everyone is working together on what’s most important. By facilitating workshops or training on finding self-purpose you can motivate and challenge your people to bring their A-game.

 

With the speed at which the world is currently moving there is no way to predict with certainty what will or won’t be best to do. However, keeping your employees top of mind and ensuring they experience satisfaction and want to add value will help any organisation to be successful. As an HR team, it’s important to remember that our value lies in the service we can provide to our leaders and business units, to improve communication, collaboration and development of everyone in our scope. Together is always better.

What are your methods to help and guide your people to becoming engaged and motivated this year and beyond? If you need coaching, advice or a tailor made programme to get you there, get in touch with Azkua today.

 

Lynette Croxford. Guest author and Azkua Network Partner

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