As regular readers will know, every Wednesday at HR Community Hour, we exchange experiences and knowledge with peers. We explore creative approaches to the new problems that many are facing in the workplace during these challenging times. Recently, we discussed how caring leadership and organizational culture is often outsourced to HR. But it shouldn’t be this way.
The workplace has changed forever. Many employees have been recruited and onboarded in the last 12 months without meeting their colleagues in person. Understanding an organizational culture will determine how engaged an employee feels in their new role. It will also be difficult for existing employees to feel engaged when their organization has not defined or documented their company culture and values.
As organizations embrace hybrid working, a different form of leadership is required to help teams thrive. But caring leadership is something that every leader has a responsibility to own. We need to ensure that everyone displays a certain amount of transparency, empathy, and openness. It’s not a responsibility that sits solely with HR. The senior leadership team will need to step up and invest the time to understand what the culture looks like while also setting the tone for the future.
When embedding a culture of caring leadership in an organization, HR will need to work closely with leaders to help them understand how important it is and bring it to life with real stories and successful use cases. The message that HR must deliver to the C Suite is that it’s not just another HR initiative. It needs to involve the entire organization, and it must start from the very top.
With the leadership team on board, HR should bring together different people from all levels and every area of the organization. Ensuring that a diverse range of voices across the entire organization share the things they’d like to change in a safe space without fear of retribution is critical. These shared experiences and inclusion stories will enable you build the foundations of a culture of listening.
When exploring how to create a listening culture, HR can lead the way by creating focus groups and listening sessions throughout the organization. HR should be a business partner who talks to employees and helps uncover what they like and dislike about the culture in the organization. They should also run surveys that will help capture the voice of every employee and present leadership teams with the results.
Caring leadership is not something that C suite leaders or HR teams can implement on their own. They need to work closely together and ensure that they include everyone throughout the process. Only then will they be able to unlock the ROI that diversity, inclusion, and belonging deliver to an organization while also removing microaggressions from the workplace.
Ultimately, the more voices you capture in an organization will determine the amount of buy-in you get. Caring leadership is a team sport where everyone plays an integral role and not something you can simply outsource to HR. When attempting to capture every employee’s voice, don’t be afraid to seek additional help. Outside consultants such as myself and my team at Employee Fanatix can help kickstart conversations and create safe spaces through facilitated sessions where everyone’s voice is valued.
If you are interested in learning more about how HR, leadership teams, and every employee can play a part in a more caring approach to leadership; please reach out to me.