We have some stellar thinkers in the HR field today, so we decided to present a sampling of their pithy advice. Each of the HR thought leaders profiled below have their own unique take on managing your human capital, and you may even find a favorite or two whom you want to follow.
"You can't prevent attrition if your organization doesn't attend to employee experience."
In a recent Forbes article, HR thought leader Biro writes about the urgent need of focusing on the employee experience. She points out the disconnect that occurs in many organizations, where human capital is given lip service but no top-level executive is in charge of overseeing the well-being of workers. "Do you have a senior people manager?" she asks, "And if so, are they in the C-Suite?" Biro is a big fan of HR tech, but in her Forbes piece she observes that technology won't solve problems unless it's guided by a strategic vision. And that vision has to focus on what it's like to be an employee.
"Don't underestimate the power of recognition and how vital it is to create a positive work environment."
In his recent commentary on CNBC, Novak describes the crisis brought about by toxic leadership. He observes that "actively disengaged workers are costing the U.S. as much as $600 billion in lost productivity" and that the cost of millennial turnover may be as much as $30 billion. He points out that "everyone likes to be appreciated for their contributions" and that employee rewards should be offered along the way, whenever you see great work. That way, momentum stays strong and your people will feel personally invested in the company's mission.
"Managers need to stop telling people how to get better when they can't provide enough staffing, training, tools or information for their people to succeed."
When providing informal feedback to employees, Green reminds managers that they have to start off by being fair. Informal feedback, provided immediately after a particular employee action, needs to include a listening component. He points out, "Do not deliver a lecture. Staff tune out managers when all they do is give a speech." When you listen to your people and empower them with the tools that they need, you may find that performance issues resolve themselves.
"Most of us work for a reason: we want to spend our time contributing to others and creating something bigger than ourselves."
Founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte, Josh Bersin is a global HR analyst and HR thought leader.
Bersin writes about the concept of meaningful work as a necessary foundation for employee engagement. He unpacks the concept of "meaningful" in the context of a job that can often feel routine. A meaningful job has four characteristics:
- Autonomy: Workers need the freedom to accomplish tasks in their own style.
- Selection for Fit: Managers should match tasks and employee skills.
- Small Teams: Human beings perform most effectively in groups where they know each other.
- Time for Slack: Workers need a chance to reflect and compare notes.
"Ensuring employees remain interested in their work creates a greater sense of purpose and deeper connection to their tasks and the company as a whole."
Natalie Baumgartner is Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers and she has spent her career translating engagement and culture research into software that enhances the employee experience.
In her recent Chief Executive Magazine article, Baumgartner points out that it's important to remember humans are beings of change. Employees' passions, interests and entire lives evolve over time. It is a costly retention error to believe talent who started their journey enthusiastically will always remain so. She shares, "While change is obviously a natural process, it’s important to catch dips in passion before employees start looking for new jobs. Use daily polls or pulse surveys to gauge interest, engagement, and overall job experiences. These frequent check-ins open the door for ongoing discussions about their future opportunities with the company."
"I am starting to think of chatbots as your newest HR team member, one that allows employees to easily retrieve answers to frequently asked questions."
Meister works at the cutting edge of HR tech and is a major HR thought leader in the space. She maintains a vision of the direction that human resources is headed in. She promotes artificial intelligence as the source of solutions that make management more responsive to employee needs. When workers perceive the HR department as being their ally, performance will improve throughout the organization. Meister points out that some 75 percent of workplaces will use chatbots for some part of their HR solutions by 2020, and she notes that this technology will help HR leaders to create an employee experience "that mirrors their best customer service experience."
"The best jobs turn coworkers into friends."
In a blog entry about the recent tax cut, Ruettiman writes about how this infusion of cash offers companies an opportunity to invest in social recognition. "I'd spend the money on a strategy that shores up your culture," she advises, and then goes on to point out that "social recognition is a proven management practice that unlocks the full potential of people by providing purpose, meaning, and appreciation for the work they do every day."
Fostering employee engagement is an art and a science, and HR thought leaders approach it from a wide variety of disciplines. Their insight can provide you with the tools you need to create a positive, productive culture in your company. To learn more insights from HR thought leaders, download our white paper, "The Future of Employee Engagement: Informal Chats with Today’s Leading CHROs and Executive HR Leaders."
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