True engagement with workforce goes beyond lip service...

When employers realise that, it gives them a new perspective on handling employees' expectations

By Sanjeev Pradhan Roy

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You are awesome, congratulations. Business people and manager working on their new project in classroom.
You are awesome, congratulations. Business people and manager working on their new project in classroom.

Published: Thu 18 May 2023, 4:32 PM

We are just mortals sitting on a giant rock and hurtling in space at 67,000 miles per hour!

That mirrors our existence in real life, as we traverse the unknown. And unknown is definitely the tomorrow, compounded by the challenges of today’s landscape, be it economic, geopolitical, nature-led, cultural or... talent. And in that exists the variables of a discerning Maslow workforce.

Work, family, friends, colleagues play their own part in personalising the professional.

One often hears the ugly phrase in tough handout situations.. “Hey, it’s all business, nothing personal!”

The fact is that if one spends more than half their waking hours at work, it is personal. If one sacrifices quality time with family at the cost of long extended work hours only to be plucked off like a bad feather one day, then it is personal! If one has to trade off a well-meaning vacation with their parents only to fulfill an autocrat boss’s diktats, then it is personal. It’s time most employers actually got “personal” with their employees beyond lip service, as true engagement is beyond surveys!

In the classic David versus Goliath parable, David is well-advised that it is not too big to hit, but too big to miss! David here is the talent at large and Goliath represents the rigid corporate that has unapologetically fed the “employer market” mindset so far, spewing archaic policies and resistance to change with the world. The mess in most organisations on candidate and employee experience is too big to miss and will significantly hit its capability quotient for winning in the market.

We often hear about SMART goals and smarter way of working, akin to our smartphones. Whilst the smartphones have an in-built feature to update their software automatically, do the organisations often upgrade their cultural software too in order to stay relevant? I am afraid not, hence the “smart” element is pretty deflatable and the scorecard definitely not balanced.

Hybrid or WFH privileges, anyone? These innocuous terms will soon fade away, as the so-called unconventional way of working (remote, gig, few hours in a week, paid study days, etc.) will all get normalised, as new-age businesses of unicorns, soonicorns and minicorns rule the roost.

Google ran a project called Project Aristotle in 2016 on what drives performance and they concluded it to one variable — psychological safety! No compliance, no control, just having their back, empowering them to bring their true selves to work and create meaning at work whilst being made secure!

It’s no longer the physical, it is the metaphysical, the beta version that is at play, whichever verse or reality you are part of now. Add to that the advent of app-led business models most of which are unicorns that have pretty much outsourced everything to human-like AI, machine language and algorithms virtually.

Human cloud economy, social infrastructure, digital nomads, work-where-there-is-Wi-Fi workforce, rights and protection for gig workers, inability to negotiate terms in a marketplace and dynamics of co-working are all the existing and future trends to watch out for!

The big question is — are we ready to reskill, reimagine and reallocate while organisations eventually get rearranged?


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