Woman at Work

Organizational ecosystems are constantly evolving as new employees enter the workforce and external factors shape the needs and priorities of staff. The way that leaders adapt to the changes will have a significant impact on their ability to hire, engage and retain exceptional talent. 

To position a business for success, I encourage executives as well as Human Resources and Organizational Development professionals to assess how they are responding to support the workplace culture elements that are quickly changing from perks to expectations. 

7 Culture & Climate Shifts to Incorporate 

#1 – Respecting Flexible Schedules 

A concern that I’ve heard many leaders express is that embracing this trend would prevent them from setting expectations, defining schedules or requiring staff to be in the office for periods of time. These practices are all still acceptable in a workplace that honors flexibility. The difference is in how managers react when challenges or personal circumstances arise.  

Children get sick, the weather becomes inclement and family members arrive in town in the middle of the day. Providing employees with some control over their working hours or the ability to collaborate to get coverage will earn their appreciation and ensure that work still gets done. 

To respond to this trend, identify guidelines to help supervisors recognize when and how to create accommodations for the personal and professional needs of their direct reports.  

#2 – Honoring Well-being 

Burnout has been on the rise across the globe, resulting in both quiet (and loud) quitting! While there are multiple causes for this stress, an unmanageable workload tends to be the biggest contributor.  

Leaders who want to retain talent will need to set reasonable expectations for their people. Ambitious objectives can still be part of a business’s strategy, and it’s essential to recognize that not every target can be a stretch goal. For their mental and physical well-being – as well as the success of any project – staff need time to decompress between big initiatives. 

Aligning priorities for the corporation, defining what achievable goals look like and providing tools to empower individuals to manage their stress are important aspects of a supportive climate. 

#3 – Embracing Learning & Growth  

Research by Korn Ferry shows that 85 million jobs could go unfilled by 2030 because there are not enough skilled workers to take them. In the past, executives may have turned to the hiring market when new capabilities were required; however, they will increasingly need to look inward and train existing staff to perform the roles that are needed for the future. 

The good news is that a focus on development melds nicely with team members’ desire to learn. 76% of employees are seeking opportunities to advance and expand their careers. By helping personnel build new skills, companies will create win-win scenarios for their people and their bottom line. 

To promote a learning culture, prioritize employee development and cultivate an environment where people are invited to experiment, make mistakes and learn from them.  

#4 – Inspiring Purpose 

A firm’s mission, vision and values have historically been a central part of workplace climate, and in recent years there has been an even greater call to create a strong sense of purpose for personnel.  

That is because people are increasingly seeking meaning in their work. Most individuals want to know that they are making a contribution through their daily actions and that they are supporting something bigger than themselves. They also have a desire to create connections between their personal values and the business’s objectives. 

Being clear about the organization’s vision and what it hopes to achieve can help to attract the right team members. Then, encourage leaders and managers to regularly make connections to this mission through their communications. 

#5 – Cultivating Inclusion 

While some diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives have lost some of their funding this past year, the need to create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcomed and valued is not going away.   

When employees feel a strong sense of belonging, they are more likely to perform and be more engaged. And, personnel are clamoring for inclusion. Younger generations are seeking out workplaces where they can be seen and valued, and where they are not required to hide aspects of who they are. 

Creating a psychologically safe atmosphere where individuals are appreciated for their differences and encouraged to share their strengths and perspectives is vital. 

Bullseye image

#6 – Boosting Autonomy 

Employees want their voices to have weight, and firms that engage the insights of their people will be better positioned for success. When staff have a sense of autonomy, it allows for faster decision-making, increased motivation and improved performance 

Rules can still be identified so that decisions are handled at the appropriate level and guidelines are in place to lead people toward an informed conclusion. The distinction is that staff are entrusted to exercise some control over their work and are invited to have greater ownership over their outcomes.   

By cultivating a climate where workers can weigh in on decisions and understand the goals of the business, leaders will inspire a climate of autonomy and accountability. 

#7 – Supporting Stability 

Change is a constant these days. As much as we read about disengagement and quiet quitting, there are also a significant number of stories about organizations planning for layoffs or reduced headcount. These headlines can cause stress for both the employer and the employee. 

Companies that engage their staff will be the ones that help them feel supported even in difficult situations. Treating employees as valuable team members and empowering them with the knowledge to be successful will serve both the corporation and the individual. 

While it is not possible to plan every eventuality, supervisors and executives can demonstrate care and concern for the needs of individuals while also offering training so that the workforce is equipped with in-demand skills should challenging times arise. 

As employee expectations are shifting, I believe there is a real opportunity for companies. The trends noted above are not simply beneficial to team members. They also lead to better business performance. By taking action to ensure that organizations embrace these valuable trends, leaders can create a motivating, high-performing environment where staff and the bottom line thrive. 

Looking for more opportunities to strengthen your culture? Download our latest toolkit to start making positive change today. 

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