2022, what a year!
Even as we got the pandemic under control, businesses are still left with the after-effects of a global quarantine that continue to shake the foundations of the workplace. The remote vs. hybrid vs. in-office debate, the 4 day work week, burnout, and the Great Resignation have now collided with inflation, an impending recession, and layoffs.
If there’s one lesson to learn, one skill to develop, it’s adaptability. Those that learn fast, fail faster, and recalibrate quick.
So as we end another year and attempt to start fresh, let’s note down the 7 lessons every people leader should take with them to 2023.
Lesson 1: Issues and problems are almost never black and white.
Problems are never black and white; it's more like a kaleidoscope of shades and nuances that require careful consideration to truly understand. We were reminded of this while trying to understand the Great Resignation. Instead of the exact causes, we found a mix of economic, psychological, and social factors that contributed to a ‘Turnover Tsunami’. But it’s in the effort to comprehend that we uncover the way forward.
Still looking for ways to deal with voluntary turnover? Read the report: Embracing the Great Resignation.
Lesson 2: We must not lose the human connection within teams.
We sought to gain a better understanding of why employees are resigning, so we spoke to Slack's senior recruiter, Sasha Townsend. What better source of insight than the company that's revolutionizing how organizations communicate? The biggest takeaway from our discussion is the need to be flexible to address the needs of the workforce, while still trying to foster meaningful connections. How? By incorporating elements of fun!
Lesson 3: Building trust is more important than ever.
With the workforce moving online, trust-building is become more important and more challenging within organizations. Studies show that organizations with a high level of trust have increased employee morale, more productive workers and lower staff turnover. Furthermore, trust can help to strengthen relationships between colleagues and improve communication and collaboration.
How can you build trust at work? Get tips from an organizational psychologist!
Lesson 4: There will always be new challenges. Learn and adapt quickly.
There’s always another mountain to conquer, whether it’s voluntary turnover, quiet quitting, a recession, burnout, layoffs… To successfully address the ever-changing issues that people leaders face, it is essential to be able to learn fast, take action, measure results, and do it all over again.
Lesson 5: In the midst of uncertainty, lean on data and technology.
What can serve as the North Star in times of great change and an even greater disparity of ideas and perspectives? Data provides us with an objective truth, a solid ground from which we can debate and discuss. Data-driven decisions help to mitigate risk, optimize resources and ensure the long-term success of an organization. Technology also provides the opportunity to automate processes, reducing the need for manual labor and freeing up resources to focus on other initiatives. Ultimately, data and technology empowers leaders to do what technology cannot: marry creativity, data, and empathy to find solutions to difficult situations.
“Ideally, you have data and intuition working together, learning from and validating one another.”
Searching for a process to make the optimal, data-driven decisions? Download the guide.
Lesson 6: We can overcome biases and use intuition to our advantage.
Even when presented with data, people are inherently biased. Human biases are well-documented, from implicit association tests that demonstrate biases we may not even be aware of, to field experiments that show disparities can result from bias against or favoritism towards certain groups. It’s the implicit biases that are most concerning because they are the ones we don't recognize or accept. The solution? Focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)! Increase contact with people who are different from us, challenge our own assumptions, and create awareness of biases through education and training. By recognizing and addressing our biases, we can take steps to overcome them.
Lesson 7: Listen and connect to unleash the power of empathy.
Do you still get flashbacks of work life in quarantine, being unable to leave your home cave? Are there days you feel like a robot, jumping from one task to the next and missing the trips to the pantry for a glass of water where you bump into funny Greg and his corny jokes? From all our interviews and conversations with people leaders and passionate professionals in HR, article after article of workplace trends and issues, the lesson that surfaces most is the need to tap into and develop empathy. How? Simple stop, really listen to what a colleague has to say, and foster the human connections. It’s how we learn. It’s how we adapt. And it’s how we build better teams and organizations!
Make sure you attend once of the many HR events in 2023 to connect with people leaders, swap insights, and create a better employee experience within your organization. Get the comprehensive list of events with all the information you may need here!