Vi proponiamo l'articolo in lingua inglese scritto da Lara Bonelli, Consulente di Great Place to Work® Italia .
As a Great Place to Work® consultant, I get to see tons of data generated by surveys in companies of different industries and organizational structures. The methodology in use to evaluate the overall quality of the workplace entails a 360° analysis of the corporate culture, with special attention being paid to the employee’s perspective. When it comes to their relationship with management, I’m often captivated by responses to the statement “Management shows a sincere interest in me as a person, not just an employee”. While many might think this claim embodies a naive concept, a “new age” approach to work only a few get to experience, I believe it has deep implications for some of the HR trends we frequently come across nowadays. Here's some of them:
Soft skills training
Companies seem to be increasingly concerned about the importance of social skills. How can we develop emotional intelligence and empathy? How can we be open to innovation and maintain a creative attitude? How do we foster collaboration? Piles of books have been written and new training methodologies created to find a formula, a path to unleash these special qualities. Very often, the underlying idea of this concept is that, while performing our daily activities, we’re someone different, disguised in some super-hero role with special powers we were not given by nature. Which in turn means that the skills we use within the workplace are something different, or even detached, from the abilities we use in our daily lives.
This approach might shift if we take the opportunity to build relationships with people, rather than roles.
Simply put, more authenticity and sincere interest in others are crucial for us if we want to be active listeners, open to different perspectives, and willing to cooperate. In the end, no teambuilding activity could ever lead to a real “family feeling” unless people truly care about each other first.
Talent and diversity management
When you allow people to be just as they are, you can see their natural, inner talents.
Most people development techniques fall into the temptation of searching for the way to tap into individual potential: looking at it from another point of view, this is often a way to stress people performances and fix their shortcomings, with the final aim of fitting them into the positions they will ultimately fill in the future. No wonder if most people feel “unsatisfied” with their career path, no matter what efforts many organizations put into special development and succession plans. Moreover, a working environment that celebrates individual differences is most likely not demanding of special diversity and inclusion policies. Last but not least, an atmosphere which allows people to bring out their true selves is most likely to generate the perfect match between a company and its candidates, with positive effects on turnover and “regrettable hiring” metrics - my personal head-up: never, ever accept a job if you have not been asked, at least once in the recruitment process, about your personal interests and passions.
It is commonly agreed that the number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their relationship with their immediate superior. That being said,
the ability to connect with people, and not only professionals, is reflected in a manager’s personal influence, resulting in better co-worker engagement and inspiration.
This is something that goes beyond any leadership model decided at a Corporate HQ, and it’s sharpened into day-to-day conversations: acting as a role model is not only about achieving goals but also broadcasting effective behaviors that can only be consistent when caring about the quality of personal relationships first. This is, in the end, what integrity is all about: being true to yourselves and others, no matter what “character” you’re playing. A caring manager can also bridge the gap between executives and employees, promoting better two-way communication and therefore higher levels of credibility and mutual trust, along with a relaxed atmosphere that allows sharing.
Chances are most managers would think “of course I am truly interested in my co-workers”. However, there’s more to caring than chatting about weekend plans or celebrating special events in their private lives; showing interest means actively helping out in a tough moment, accepting personal setbacks and welcoming individual preferences, while paying attention to people’s morale, without considering its swing as merely “business as usual”.
Think this is a fairy tale? It is simply what a great place to work for feels like.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of any other entity.