One of the juiciest phrases I heard in 2021 was: HR is the New IT
Let’s assume for a second we can all agree on one thing: at the heart of everything you do in your business – no matter your industry, country, product – it can’t be delivered, invested, improved or possible without great people.
Just like you can’t imagine running your biz without your computer, email, the cloud and a bazillion apps on your smartphone, there is no way we could imagine working without a great team.
Yet, is our people infrastructure as valued as an IT infrastructure? (I suspect if you’re reading this, the answer is yes!)
Even in my biz, where I don’t have any full-time staff, it’s the six rockstar contract team members I’m lucky enough to work with that totally make “Greatness Magnified” (as opposed to being called “Kinda Okay Sometimes” that, humbly, I tell you we might need to rename the biz if everything were down to me.) [Monica, Tami, Mallory, Stacey, Rose and Yvonne as well as Azadeh, Mike and Grant, I hope I tell and how you enough how very grateful to work with you.]
How Important is Engagement When We’re in a Crisis?
Short answer: more.
People are opting out mentally and physically when they don’t feel engaged.
We’ve inadvertently begun to think about the word “engagement” and transposed the word “score” or “survey” at the end of it. Sure, the measuring engagement was a huge step in the right direction of valuing people; however, when it becomes about the thing (the survey) and not what it means, it’s times like these that we think it’s not about engagement.
Oh, but it is.
When I recently spoke for Harvard Business School’s Online Global Community, we discussed this very issue. This is exactly where engagement comes in.
Why do you think some organizations and teams, even in industries racked with turnover turmoil – are riding the wave while others are drowning in it? Look at how many people feel they are invested in, believed in, and that they fit in.
And it’s okay if you aren’t entirely sure your organization is bursting with engaged folks. Perfection is the enemy of imagination, and nothing about the world of work today is basic.
We’ve taken one huge etch-a-sketch to the very notion of work.
Employees are saying, “please, outline a vision that I can believe and want to be a part of.” In fact, better yet, you take one dial; they take the other and co-create it.
Don’t “Regift” this Crisis
You wouldn’t choose this talent crisis, but we’ve got it.
Own it. Look at it. Find a purpose for it. Because it’s here, it’s yours, and it may just be a crisis you never put on your wish list, yet you may find it was the best gift you could hope for.
These are the ideal moments to use external forces to leverage what you always wanted to create for your workforce and your culture. Lean into the challenge. Learn about it. Join forces with others facing the same struggles. You maybe need to humbly say, “I don’t know,” however, right now, this is insight”. Just know, there is a statute of limitations:
- Do it early, and you are progressive
- Do it curiously, and you are collaborative
- Do it uncertainly, and you are authentic
Just don’t do it begrudgingly. Few will have faith and feel engaged if they believe the turnover tsunami is being treated as simply a temporary problem to be solved.
We all know deep down this is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for to create massive workplace system changes that exponentially elevate the employee experience; to put cognitive, emotional and social muscle behind creating a workplace that everyone – from the prospective employee to the 30-year veteran – will aspire to be a part of.
A Seat at the Throne
HR is the new IT. No longer must HR claw their way to the table, at least not as long as we have a talent crisis. Not only does HR have a seat at the table, but we also need to escort them to the royal throne. We need to throw ourselves at their mercy as “people majesty,” Implore Human Resources, Organizational Development and people leaders to “show us the way to keep our people.” They have delicious ideas, keen observations, and creative solutions. Together, create novel strategies and recommit to doing what works with intention, focus and close study.
The work kingdom that people will choose is one where they feel they belong and are valued. No one is interested in being lost in the crowd. Every person needs to feel valued and appreciated. It’s a basic human need. So let’s let HR do what they do best and guide us on how to ensure everyone feels this way.
The Most Important Question
The most important question you need to ask today is: Are we giving our people a reason to come back tomorrow?
In other words, why does your talent choose you? Do they want you? Do they opt-in?
If they’re not opting in, they will opt out. You not only stand to lose them in body, but you could also lose them in energy (discretionary effort) and passion (innovation) too.
When you seek evidence that people chose you, even going so far as to ask them, I hope you feel like Sally Field on Oscar night, “you like me! You really like me!” And not Rocky, “Adrian!!!“ as they head out the door.
Recognition is the answer.
We just love supplying you with resources to help inspire your recognition program; learn more:
PS – If you’re considering rebuilding your recognition program this year, did you know we have a program to help you do just that? It’s the step-by-step process and tools I use to build or rebuild a corporate recognition program. From small not-for-profits to global multinationals, the approach to creating a recognition program that retains the best is the same. Learn more here.