Several reports have identified belonging as the top employee experience driver. Employees wish to feel fully accepted as members of the workplace. According to Qualtrics research, only 20% of employees who feel they don’t belong are engaged versus 91% of those who feel they do.
A sense of belonging has a clear impact on employee engagement. Especially, amidst ongoing uncertainty and the existing remote work environment, employees are feeling the need to connect more than ever before.
In a recent interview with Rose Leitch, Director People, APAC at Procore, we discuss the key trends shaping the future of work and influencing the role of HR. The increasing importance of belonginess and connection at work emerges as a top trend.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
With uncertainty still abound, what's your best prediction about what work will look like and what would be the major constituents of the future of work?
It’s no secret that the world of work has pivoted in the last couple of years. Work flexibility used to be earned, and now it’s a given. Employees expect to have flexible work hours and work-from-home options as a minimum standard. Moving through 2022 and beyond, leading organisations will continue to support their employees in doing their best work, wherever that might be, while providing opportunities for meaningful connection and collaboration.
The pandemic has reminded us that there’s more to life than work.
Employers must now take extra care in their employees' needs, physical, mental, and financial health, and their purpose. Our philosophy at Procore is to 'treat people beautifully'. When this mentality is shared, positive results can be seen. Employees are happier at work, and there is a higher standard of work being completed. Ultimately, this means our industry is served to the best of our abilities. ]
Given these trends shaping the now and future of work, what are your top talent priorities for 2022?
At Procore, a key talent priority is continuing to build an inclusive culture and an environment where every single person feels comfortable and safe at work. Diversity, inclusion and belonging are fundamental to our culture and we are always looking to improve our efforts in this area. We are providing employees with increased resources to drive a sense of belonging that is key for employee engagement.
Hiring and scaling for the future, while retaining and engaging existing employees in order to serve our customers also remain top of our list. Procore is expanding in new markets globally, including ASEAN–where we are currently building our team in Singapore.
We have also changed performance reviews strategy to build a culture of continuous rich and meaningful feedback. We have done this by replacing annual reviews with regular feedback loops, introduced quarterly check-ins, and removed performance ratings and labels. This is to ensure each individual is considered and supported as a whole person to help them thrive at Procore.
As organisations, leaders, and individuals struggle to make sense of this new normal, what are the missing links?
It’s important that wellbeing is at the top of every organisation’s and leader’s agendas. We want every employee to know we support their mental and physical health. What is often missed, is supporting employees with financial wellness education. If we’ve learned anything from the past two years of uncertainty, it’s that wellbeing involves considering the whole person.
When you put people first, you begin to see their full potential reached. This improvement in their lives, in turn, helps to improve the lives of everyone in construction.
Another missing link for many businesses is transparency, which can affect trust.
At Procore, one of our core values is openness. We’ve found that consistent communication with employees and transparency about what’s happening at a business level encourages trust and fosters high engagement with our teams.
As companies start reopening across several parts of the globe with renewed vigor, how can they get the work ‘culture’ right especially in the hybrid world of work?
Open communication in the workplace is core to ensuring everyone achieves the right balance. If people work better from home, we should let them. The same goes for working in the office. If companies force staff back to the office full time, you lose their trust and esteem.
The pandemic meant companies had no choice but to trust their staff to work remotely. Now that people have proven they can work effectively from home, reversing this decision could be damaging.
Saying that, there’s absolutely no doubt that face-to-face collaboration is incredibly important. Humans are naturally wired to operate through connection and collaboration. At Procore, we are considering many new initiatives, such as anchor days in the office, and mini-conference gatherings in the office for team brainstorms and planning sessions.
The balance of hybrid working will differ for each individual. We don’t want to insist people return to the office through a policy. Instead, we want them to want to come back to a wonderful working environment. Employee wellbeing will always be a number one priority when assessing what works for one person, and what doesn’t work for someone else.
How do you see the role of talent leaders evolve in 2022 and beyond? What have you learned?
The value that talent leaders bring to organisations has never been more evident than during the pandemic. With ongoing skills shortages and a heightened awareness of employee wellbeing, this critical business function will continue to evolve.
As part of this, technology will underpin HR processes and decision making, with increased use of data and automation to predict future challenges and support business growth.
One key thing I have learnt in the past couple of years is that companies need to have a growth mindset and be able to adapt to change. As we continue to adapt to the post-pandemic working environment, there will be higher scrutiny of HR strategies.
Moving forward, talent leaders who keep track of and align with national and global workplace best practices, while listening to their employees' voices, will be in the best position to support growth within their organisation, and best serve the industry that they are operating in.