Now Is the Time to Be a Changemaker
By Henry Albrecht, CEO, Limeade
In a world that's constantly changing, HR is more important than ever. Employees want to feel valued and respected by employers. Work isn't just a paycheck -- it's bigger. But I've seen a lack of engagement and productivity. In fact, only one-third of U.S. employees are engaged in their work, according to a Gallup report.
At Limeade, we're focused on changing this employee engagement problem.
We're known for pioneering "employee well-being," but we're onto something much bigger than superficial "wellness." We're on a mission to improve well-being in the world and change the future of work. And we can't do that without changemakers.
Changemakers are bold and brave. They're relentlessly optimistic and care deeply. They see a problem and take action. Changemakers reinvent culture, reinvigorate how work gets done and give everyone a voice. To resolve the current engagement crisis, the workforce needs changemakers.
So how do HR leaders and CHROs -- people like you -- become champions of change and disruption? Here's four ways you can be the change today:
Push the Status Quo
As workforces experience radical shifts or growth challenges, it's up to people leaders to empower employees and build the bridge between well-being and engagement.
Commit to pushing yourself and the status quo. Don't get stuck in traditional approaches to employee engagement that fail to generate real change.
Determine the biggest roadblocks for innovation and roll up your sleeves. If you want to change a policy or support your employees' well-being with a new program, the meaning behind it has to be true to you. You can't fake it -- it's about walking the talk.
If you want to see change, you have to be a driver of innovation and you have to be a forward-thinker. Recruit the boat rockers -- the risk-takers, the go-getters, the high performers.
Transform from the Inside Out
New technologies are reshaping how work gets done -- that's no surprise. There's been a change in workflow, communication and processes. Programs with tools like interactive videos, pulse surveys and peer-to-peer social recognition now allow transparent feedback and communication. When you transform from the inside out, your focus is to produce innovation and create opportunity from within. Great change agents serve as a catalyst for change throughout an organization.
Make your company a force for good. Think of the lessons you've learned in the past, and act on them. Transformation requires organizational commitment. To transform your business, you must be willing to experiment, be flexible and help employees approach change with a fresh perspective.
Encourage managers to engage with employees by asking for feedback. Listen, trust, support and then commit. A lack of trust results in a lack of willingness from your people to step outside the box. It's not just about connecting with employees -- professionally and personally -- it's genuinely connecting with employees in a meaningful way.
This goes beyond a pat on the back or praise for a job well done. Put your people who serve your customers first. Create a safe haven where open and consistent communication is encouraged. Ask employees in one-on-one meetings about one thing that's working well and one thing that isn't. When you go the extra mile to relate to your employees -- the impact is significant.
Educate and Encourage
Our research shows that employees who feel they have higher well-being are more likely to be engaged in their work. Allow employees to influence growth. Encourage an entrepreneurial mindset and connect roles to a purpose. Find the link between well-being and engagement, and build relationships that inspire mutual commitment. When companies invest in the well-being of their people, their people will be more engaged and drive better business results.
Start with education. Give your employees the tools and resources they need to learn about well-being improvement. Encourage employees to follow well-being best practices. Be a champion of change and act as a role model. Take a vacation and use all of your PTO, allow flexible work hours or plan activities to bring your team together outside of the office.
It's because of changemakers that I've seen a hospital system change its culture to let nurses know they can't take care of patients without taking care of themselves first. Or financial services companies that win by caring about more than cost-cutting. Great companies require great changemakers. Whether you're a CHRO or a scrappy new hire with your sights set on the chief culture officer role -- you are the ultimate changemaker.