The new rules of engagement

Date: 12-Nov-2014

Amit Malik, CHRO, Aviva India

The Times of India

Till date organizations have been dependent on lucrative compensation packages, flexible work arrangements, management support and developmental programmes to engage the workforce. In the ever changing organisational fabric, there is a shift in outlook and expectations regarding values, ethos, culture and career aspirations. The youth today , in addition to the above mentioned qualities, also expects empathy and an intellectual connect from its employer.

In this era of digital activism, the young talent is adept at using Internet technologies. Some are digital natives and some digital adapters but for all, blogging, tweeting, sharing ideas and collaborating over the Internet for solution are everyday phenomena.

Given this, it is important to understand that work-life balance has now evolved into work-life integration wherein the employee needs the option to decide from where to work and when to work. This makes it imperative for organisations to adopt the latest trends, be it access to office intranet, work platforms from remote locations, or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), etc. Similarly , in today's era, where everyone is hard pressed for time, having tele-presence in office for meetings across locations presents a good option of saving employee travel time. 

Another option is using Skype or Google hangouts to conduct meetings; these again provide flexibility in a manner that employees can be a part of meeting from home, cafés, etc. Apart from leveraging technology , social media tools can also present an opportunity to develop HR programmes, which suit employees' needs and help develop a bond between the organisation and its workforce. As most studies reflect, the attention span of any student is about 2.5 hours. Given this, our learning and development programmes must change from full-day programmes to smaller, bite-sized, customized online learning modules. Organisations must use web chats, video content sharing to deploy training modules.

Going back to the Maslow theory of motivation, self-esteem and appreciation are strong motivational forces. The workforce today is no different; they want to share their achievements and recognitions with the world. For employers, therefore, reward and recognition programmes have to take a next generational leap by starting to recognize employees over social media. An endorsement of their skills on professional networking websites will go a long way to build their bond with the organisation.

Employers should be against the censorship of social media websites in offices as this tends to suffocate employees, and weakens their bond and loyalty with the organisations. The risk of misuse of these liberties by employees can be taken by employees can be taken care of by formulating strong and effective policies. The workforce demands clear direction, accessibility to technology, instant feedback and gratification, thus making work a means to an end. Achievement of this end is critical.

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