Each Employees: Adult, Consumer, and Human

October 25, 2023 thehrobserver-hrobserver-Lucyadams

Organisations are facing challenges from pace of change, agility of teams, changing workplace, financial pressures, loss of trust in leadership, disruptive technologies and uncertainty. Therefore, most organisations are behaving in a parental manner. 

HR professionals find themselves wearing one of two parental hats while in the worklace; the caring parent or the critical parent. Is it a case where HR does not trust people to behave well and do the right thing?

“If our organisation is going to drive and thrive, we need our people to behave in different ways,” said Lucy Adams, CEO of Disruptive HR during her session on leading talent in a disrupted world at HRSE.

“We are seeing a shift from parenting and instead moving more to adult to adult relationships” said Adams. This means organisations start from a position of trust where managers are encouraged to use their judgment and employees drive their own performance and careers.

Adams explains that the more HR does not parent employees, the more employees take ownership of their own career development and get their own feedback to move themselves forward. 

Adams goes on to explain that one of the trends she’s witnessing is where HR views employees as consumers that cater to their own needs. In some organisations, HR ask their employees what the reason is for working for the organisation –  therefore, obtaining insights on career motivation. These results are driving HR to provide different learning opportunities through various methods.  

“Let’s not provide one size fits all and assume that everyone is motivated in the same way,” she said. 

Other organisations have segmented incentives to help the organisation and HR understand personal motivators and why they are working; is it because they have a mortgage and want to ensure stable cash flow? Or is it because they are working towards saving for retirement. 

“Different incentives for different types of people, customizing what they do and providing options,” she said. 

Further examples include customised onboarding so people can learn at their own pace and comfort  – allowing their careers and development to evolve in a personalised, tailored way.  For example, Thrive Global has personalised recognition by asking people to tell them about a time when they felt valued and recognised as they share it with managers who can work on creating a better experience for their employees.

The third trend is looking at employees as human. “What we are seeing is that there is a shift away from the old practices that have dominated our field,” she said. 

In the past, processes she explains were not designed with the employee (or end user) in mind but moving forward, HR are now looking at practices that are human centric – making the employee feel recognised, valued and appreciated. 

“HR teams are now becoming human experts, not process experts,” she adds.

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