Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
One of the things I believe organizations are struggling with right now is planning. Over the past couple of years, organizations – and individuals – have made plans, changed plans, and maybe even abandoned plans. On some level, I can see organizations saying to themselves, “Let’s wait until we have more definite indicators about the future before we make or change any more plans.” I don’t blame them. Planning is a time and resource investment.
While there are a few plans we might not need or even want to make right now, there are a few we can make that will not disrupt what we’re currently doing. At this year’s SAP SuccessFactors virtual conference, President Jill Popelka spoke to the theme of “Changing Work for Good” and outlined three aspects of work that will drive our talent strategy into the future.
PURPOSE. We all know that employee engagement increases when employees feel a sense of purpose. This happens when employees know how their work benefits the organization and the community. This isn’t going to change in the future. In fact, Popelka talked about the workplace human experience becoming even more personal and purpose driven. Organizations have the opportunity now to think about how to give employees a sense of purpose that will drive when and where their people work.
BENEFITS. We’ve been seeing a shift in employee benefits over the past few years to an offering that’s more holistic. Employees will be looking for an employer that they can trust to offer benefits that are internally equitable and externally competitive. The good news is that organizations appear to be making the connection between benefits and productivity. And they are offering benefits packages that allow employees to take care of their whole self.
FLEXIBILITY. Another area where we’ve seen change is in employee work schedules and flexibility. Regardless of your views on remote and hybrid work, employees have been looking for flexibility for parenting, caregiving, attending school, and just relaxing and recharging. Popelka made the connection between the employee’s desire for flexibility and managers effectively supporting and coaching employees. In today’s business world, being a capable manager has never been more important.
What I really liked about these comments was the focus on the things we already know. We know employees need a sense of purpose. We know a comprehensive benefits package is necessary. And we know employees want flexibility. Second, we’re talking about aspects of work that we can plan for or change right now that will deliver huge returns in the future. Finally, none of these really involve changing the company culture. It’s more about getting the company’s talent strategy on track with employee needs and wants.
To me, that was the beauty of this conversation. I get it – there are things we can’t plan for right now. The world is still a little uncertain. But that doesn’t apply to everything. My takeaway from Popelka’s comments was that the thing we can – and should – be planning for are our employees.
Organizations that want to hire, engage, and retain the best talent need to have a talent strategy in place. They need to have a strategy in place now. Employees want to know that for all their hard work they will be paid fairly, be able to take off when they need to, and their efforts will be recognized. That’s not a ridiculous request. Employees wanted this before the pandemic, and they want it today. It’s time for organizations to step up and change work for good.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of San Francisco, CA21