Recently, I was privileged to be a part of the most recent issue of LivingHR’s Work Now and In the Future panel series. I was asked to speak about my experiences guiding the human-centric workplace into the turbulent 2021 year.
It was my turn to give tips to human resource executives on the best ways to think about strategies for 2019. As the Vice President for People and Culture at Wonolo, I had plenty to discuss remote work, the Great Resignation, and much more. I’m thrilled to share my ideas with you.
In the beginning, let’s look at some lessons I learned while navigating Wonolo through an event that was once in a lifetime, such as this Coronavirus pandemic. In the next section, I’ll explain how this experience will inform your strategy for 2022.
Staying Engaged Through an Unprecedented 2021
As many other companies did at the start of the epidemic, we thought we could flick a switch and smoothly transfer the experience of working in a workplace to a remote location using Zoom. This didn’t go as planned.
In the ” Zoom Fatigue fog,” we quickly realized that we needed to change how we experience remote work. We needed to tie the passion and purpose of Wonolo’s mission and how we worked every day.
We have made a substantial investment into the Employee Experience Team to create an experience for remote workers that fosters the same spirit of commitment, motivation, energy, and camaraderie as we did working on problems with colleagues at the office. This effort has been crucial in keeping everyone involved this year.
The team for employee experience exists to support people in building connections even when they can’t be in person. Here are a few examples of the activities we have invested in 2021:
In the Virtual Offsite Wonolo 2021 offsite, we asked everyone to take the enneagram test, a self-discovery test, and personal growth based on nine personality kinds. The participants were divided into smaller groups based on their personality type to gain more about one another. This was the perfect way to bring people who usually didn’t speak and was an unusual grouping method. It helped people have deep, more than surface-level conversations.
In Wonolo’s offsite, We kicked off the week by asking everyone to wear corporate colors, an ocean of yellow and black for us. We asked them to wear their preferred sports team jersey the following day. One Wonoloer took the task very seriously and dressed in hockey-themed attire, head-to-toe skates included. The prompts may sound easy and even silly; however, it’s an opportunity to inspire individuals to display their real personalities. You never know who might surprise you!
The importance of keeping your employees active and engaged is not overstated, mainly because many companies nationwide continue to struggle to find and retain high-quality talent. Record 4.4 million Americans resigned from their job in September 2021 alone, further illustrating the Great Resignation’s impact on the job market.
However, I would like you to think differently regarding the Great Resignation while you think about your plans. Here’s why:
It’s OK for Talent to Leave Y our Company
In complete disclosure, I can affirm that Wonolo has not experienced the repercussions of the Great Resignation similarly. However, what we are witnessing is a few key members of our team leaving for new opportunities.
However, as human-centric professionals, we have to be comfortable with the notion that quitting the company is entirely acceptable to pursue an opportunity elsewhere. Making a successful career is a long-term process, which is why, as part of that process, you must support employees who decide that their workplace isn’t the best fit for them.
It’s not a secret that many employees felt burned out in 2021, so try not to see talent-seeking different opportunities as a blow to your business. People have relationships that do not serve us and leave us exhausted. It’s the same with work.
This is why I don’t consider what we’re currently facing as the “Great Resignation. Instead, I prefer to frame this by calling it”the “Great Reshuffling.” And I believe it’s a good factor for the workers.
Human-Centric Strategies Are Not One-Size-Fits-All
When forming human-centered strategies, you need to be cautious about categorizing the team members. For instance, if you believe that all employees with millennials participate in the same activities during an employee retreat, you’ll exclude a large portion of the Millennials.
To elaborate further on my experience, I worked for an organization responsible for the most lavish team gatherings. The company was able to gauge the success of an event on the attendance. But when attendance was less than they had anticipated,,y had to scratch their heads over why people weren’t showing.
However great an event might be, if it fails to engage every single group of your organization’s personnel, it’s probably unlikely to be as successful as possible. When I refer to “groups,” I’m talking about groups based on particular preferences, interests, preferred methods of communication, and a lot more.
This is also true for your approach to recruiting and keeping talent. If you implement rules that don’t reflect your staff’s various qualities and traits that make them unique, then some of your best players could end up working for an alternative team.
It’s Time to Evolve Y our Hiring Process
The most crucial aspect you must accomplish in 2022 is to alter how the hiring process is conducted by establishing an increased sense of urgency.
I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that your hiring process is focused on efficiency and speed. This is because many companies are observing candidates who have multiple opportunities on the table during the interview process, and they need to speed up the process of evaluation, selling, interviewing, and everything else that must happen to get these candidates before anyone else can do so.
The issue is how do you showcase all the services your business offers quickly and in a manner that’s comparable with other offers that applicants already have?
It could also be helpful to broaden the pool of talent. At Wonolo, we’ve widened our recruitment pool to include Canada and other countries outside the U.S. While our platform does not work internationally, we believe that bringing applicants from all over the globe broadens our pool of talent and assists us in identifying diverse candidates, which isn’t bad.
In the end, as per McKinsey’s research, firms in the top quartile of gender diversity in executive teams were 25 % more likely to be profitable above average compared to companies located in the fourth.