Find meaning in the moment
If talent professionals can’t find and model what meaning looks like at work, we won’t be able to do the important work of transforming organizations and the people within them.
The concept of meaning from a talent perspective helps establish a sense of unitary identity by which organizations and teams operate. This is why we choose to work for a company, or with a team, or for a leader. The strength of an employee’s sense of belonging depends, in part, on how meaning is expressed on a regular basis.
Talent professionals are tasked with creating strategies that identify top talent, measure employee performance, and encourage leaders to regularly engage with their teams, but often fail to incorporate the concept of meaning versus well-being. employees.
Gone are the days when leaders were told to keep employee exchanges business-only, encouraged not to ask personal questions and to avoid sharing anything personal at all costs. This paradigm cannot and should not exist in today’s world, where employees must be treated as individuals while being held accountable to the same standards.
It’s natural for many leaders, especially new ones, to shy away from such engagement for fear of not knowing how to address the employee or help them through times that may be deeply vulnerable. Yet talent professionals have a unique opportunity to model vulnerability and be agents of change for business unit leaders and the employees they support.
As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded that the value of finding meaning in human exchange cannot be underestimated.
The best talent management practitioners often strive to create spaces and frameworks for leaders to engage in regular one-on-one conversations with their employees. They also work diligently to help leaders transform those conversations from status updates and metrics-focused discussions to building and cultivating connection and understanding the employee perspective.
Suppose talent professionals struggle to educate and coach their leaders to have meaningful conversations at work. In this case, one of the best places to start this journey is to look at our own experiences, how we communicate our concerns, ideas and challenges, and most importantly, how we feel when our voices are heard. How does meaning manifest for you? What do you value as an employee in your organization? How does your organization tell the story of the employee experience?
As a learning or HR professional, it’s important to create, recommend and publish content that highlights how employees have grown and developed through one-on-one conversations, which can be transformative. for everyone. We all have a role to play, and collaboration can foster brilliant new ideas related to employee experience and wellbeing.
Creating safer spaces for leaders
One of the best ways to change organizational culture is at the leader level, not because it’s easy, but because they have the most influence on actual change. While talent frameworks and skills are an essential part of any talent management strategy, increased support and training provided to leaders at all levels of the organization gives employees a chance to feel like their company recognized the value they bring to the table.
If we believe that a leader’s skill set contributes to organizational culture, we must also believe that providing leaders with safer spaces to practice, make mistakes and correct their leadership style is essential in order to facilitate this change. Creating these safer spaces for leaders to be vulnerable, whether formal or informal, should be a priority for L&D and talent teams in the immediate future.
As talent professionals strive to create cultures of belonging, the need to assess where unique opportunities lie will be specific to each organization. The beauty and power of transformative conversations are rooted in trust and respect. When these conversations have meaning and employees feel heard, they will feel comfortable enough to share new ideas, opportunities, and processes that could help the organization move into the next wave of success.