Happy New Year! It’s time for HR to ‘flip the script’

Happy New Year!

Remember when we kicked off the New Year in 2020 with so much optimism?

In this relatively short space of time, it’s fair to say most organizations have been forced to overhaul longstanding HR practices. And the toll this has taken has been huge. HR leaders saw their workload increase by 9% in 2022 alone.

But with this fresh New Year upon us, will HR leaders really have a better 12 months ahead of them?

In my view they certainly won’t if one thing doesn’t change – getting better buy-in from the top.

C-suite support is essential

For of all the challenges have arisen over the last few years, one problem has been constant: HR is lacking the support it needs from their C-suite.

According to recent Achievers Workforce Institute research, 56% of HR leaders say the C-suite doesn’t understand that the world of work has changed at all.

We all know, of course, that this is not true. All around us employees are making their voices heard that they’re no longer willing to compromise on issues such as work flexibility.

As such, it’s barely surprising that 45% of HR leaders say they don’t have the support they need from the C-suite to implement policies to attract, engage and retain top talent.

So what really has to change in 2023?

These realities leave HR striving to make impactful changes. At the same time, however, they are lacking the “sign off” needed from the higher ups to bring the ideas to life.

If this issue resonates with you and you’re feeling stuck, 2023 planning meetings are the optimal time to speak for the whole organization with patience, grace – and most importantly, hard data.

In other words, the time has come for HR to ‘flip the script’ and communicate with leaders on evolving, yet dire employee needs.

Article Continues Below

So how do you do it?

Take a look at some different scenarios below:

Scene 1 – Your CEO Says:

Our end-of-year bonuses may be disappointing. The budget is tight.

  • How HR flips the script: Budgets are tight across many organizations. Even tech-giants – like Apple and Meta – were forced to lay off workers amid the looming recession. Though employees always appreciate extra cash, showing appreciation also goes a long way. Data shows employee recognition outweighs the perception of a fair salary as a driver of employee advocacy, job commitment and productivity. Also, studies indicate that more than half (52%) of employees say feeling recognized for their work would reduce the negative impact of a salary freeze. While bonuses are great, a sense of job security and steady compassion will likely “fill employees’ cups” this year.

Scene 2 – Your CEO Says:

Let’s mandate all employees to return to the office in 2023. Working in-person full-time is vital to building connection.

  • How HR flips the script: Leadership are the decision makers but, our employees should be the decision swayers – and data shows 85% of workers would like to work hybrid or remote. Employees are open about needing flexibility and when they don’t receive it, it’s the #1 reason people are quitting their jobs. By putting unshakable return-to-office mandates in place, the C-suite will fuel more turnover and less applicants during the already unrelenting talent shortage. In fact, companies where senior leaders are accepting of remote work are 29% less likely to struggle with attraction and retention.  We understand there may be concerns about maintaining real workplace connection, but there are other highly effective avenues to explore. HR technology can be a game changer for organizations with 42% of respondents stating that connection tools would increase their feelings of connection and belonging. However, only 27% say their company provides access to them. By investing in the tools needed to drive connection, we can stand out from our competitors – and drive a culture employees feel proud to be a part of.

Scene 3 – Your CEO Says:

Burnout is a personal issue, not an organizational issue.

  • How flips the script: In today’s landscape, many people are doing more – with fewer resources and equal pay – leading to increasingly high levels of burnout. Shockingly, recent research finds nearly half (43%) of employees feel somewhat or very burnt out, which is a symptom of exhaustion, cynicism and lack of purpose at work. The “quiet quitting” phenomenon is stealing news headlines, signaling employees are disengaged and seeking relief – whether it be an impromptu “mental health day” or a long weekend to disconnect in the mountains. By investing in wellness initiatives or adopting flexible policies such as unlimited PTO, it allows employees to take the time they need to do their best work. Maintaining employee wellness starts with employers who understand that we’re all just human with differing needs and altering priorities.

Scene 4 – Your CEO Says:

We can skip the year-end survey. We have other timely priorities for your team.

  • How flips the script: Employee voices should be echoing in our heads as we make 2023 workplace changes – and the only way we have access to those voices is through regular surveys and honest conversations. Everyone wants to feel valued and taking a genuine interest in employees’ desires will help fill that fundamental, human need. Our organization as a whole will be better for it too. Gathering and acting on feedback drives strong business outcomes with a three-times increase in engagement, belonging, trust, commitment and more. Currently, just 14% of employees say their organization takes meaningful action on employee feedback. This shows a glaring need for less talk and more action. Once our feedback is gathered, we can make decisions based on the employee perspectives and data together.

To flip the script on organizational culture with our current workforce, there must be understanding and compromise.

Employees’ voices are louder than ever – and their willingness to jump ship is happening faster than before too.

To keep your top talent on the roster and attract impactful employees, it starts with an open mind and adaptability in 2023, and a greater focus on employee recognition, appreciation, and building connection.

I truly wish you a successful year ahead.

 

 

Jeff Cates is CEO of employee engagement solution provider, Achievers. He was formerly CEO of Intuit Canada ULC, where he  helped grow brands such as TurboTax and QuickBooks. Earlier in his career, he led Apple Canada’s enterprise business as general business division manager and led Hewlett-Packard’s consumer division as vice president.

Topics