O.C. Tanner Institute
EVP & CHRO
Chief People Officer
Group Chief People & Transformation Officer
As a new year approaches, organisations across the globe reflect upon a period of uncertainty, underpinned by a milieu of cascading health, economic and geopolitical crises. Against this backdrop, employees continually seek greater purpose from their roles, calling for their employers to reconsider their organisations’ internal policies and value propositions.
As the looming spectre of the ‘Great Reshuffle’ persists, HR leaders are tasked with fostering well-being, mental health and inclusion. According to the O.C. Tanner Institute’s 2023 Global Culture Report, fulfillment is derived from four concepts: community and belonging, growth, purpose, and balance. When these basic needs are met, highly fulfilled employees plan on staying with their organisations three years longer than those who are not.
In a recent Town Hall, CHROs in the UK & Ireland region came together to discuss strategies for creating fulfilling experiences that attract, engage, and retain top talent in an evolving market. Leading this discussion, Meghan Stettler, Director, O.C. Tanner Institute, Harvey Francis, EVP & CHRO, Skanska UK, Nikki Humphrey, Chief People Officer, Virgin Group and Jennifer Tippin, Group Chief People & Transformation Officer, NatWest Group explored how HR leaders can efficiently build and execute new employee experience strategies whilst battling existing challenges.
Raising Awareness of Broader Social Issues
One of the key issues discussed was the organisation’s role in raising awareness around broader social issues. Ranging from Black History Month to World Menopausal Day, CHROs shared the importance of formally recognising social movements, forging a greater sense of community among their managers and employees – whatever their background or identity.
Nevertheless, it is also clear that brief mentions of these issues are often perceived as insufficient in the modern workplace. These mentions are sometimes regarded as progressive box-ticking exercises rather than genuine attempts to drive change.
This is supported by a recent O.C. Tanner Institute report, which found that only 66% of surveyed employees believed their organisations’ DE&I initiatives feel genuine. While this is certainly an improvement from the 44% highlighted in a survey two years prior, there is still a great deal of work to be done in this area.
Another key theme during the conversation centred around the capacity for line managers to become comfortable having uncomfortable conversations, particularly in a period of dynamic social change and uncertainty. HR leaders in attendance shared how this is a crucial step towards fostering well being in the workplace.
While it is not always feasible for leaders to know all the answers, it is important for them to manage this ambiguity by actively working alongside their employees to co-create solutions. This, in turn, gives employees a greater degree of influence over the direction they – and by extension, their organisation – are headed towards.
In a similar vein, leaders discussed how they should make it a top priority to clearly articulate the underlying purpose behind the work their employees produce – beyond purely turning profits. According to research from the O.C. Tanner Institute, 83% of employees said “finding meaning in day-to-day work” was a top priority. Moreover, 69% of employees would change employers for better job fulfillment and one out of three employees would take a lower-paying job if it was more fulfilling.
In the midst of rising social and economic pressures, CHROs expressed how it is crucial for leaders to anchor everything back to their organisation’s core values. While these values may evolve concomitantly with broader social developments, leaders were in agreement that they should help employees to feel connected to the work they produce and the wider impact of their organisation’s initiatives. This is especially pertinent in an era of remote and hybrid working, where articulating a shared purpose across the organisation is critical in cultivating a broader sense of belonging and community.
At Evanta, we will continue to create an open space for CHROs to share their experiences with each other. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact Amelia Donovan, Content Manager at email@example.com. You can share your perspective with the community via our in-person and virtual gatherings such as our Summits, Town Halls, Boardrooms and also through content pieces like this.
Explore more key topics like Creating Fulfilling Experiences with like-minded CHRO peers by joining our UK & Ireland CHRO community. Members of these communities come together several times a year to connect, exchange ideas and experiences, and validate strategies and solutions.
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