Leena Nair’s pre-pandemic advice on human touch becomes more relevant as the virus rages
As Covid-19 pandemic forced people into isolation and redefined how we connect, and technology became woven into people’s lives like never before, Leena Nair’s wise, almost-prescient words that she spoke more than two years ago appear to have become more relevant as the virus continues to disrupt lives and livelihoods.
Addressing a packed audience at People Matters TechHR India 2019 conference, Leena Nair, who stepped down as the CHRO of Unilever after being named Chanel’s global CEO on Tuesday, stressed on the need to “become more human” in this world of digitisation.
"As the world gets more connected, we’re getting more disconnected. As leaders, we need to focus on digitization, but at the same time, we need to become more human,” Nair had said.
No doubt that technology has connected us in ways we can’t even imagine. Yet, there are also worrying statistics about the rise of anxiety, depression and mental-health issues among the workforce today. The need of the hour for organisations is to reflect on how to have a dialogue with their employees in this changed scenario.
The key to human experience is effortlessness, whether that’s to do with people analytics or emerging technology tools. “Experiment with different platforms and tools. Even as you do that, have a clear focus on the human side,” she had advised.
Here's is what Nair had suggested before the pandemic struck, which has only accelerated the digitisation process:
- Purpose: At the heart of the digitisation journey is purpose. "100% of employees go through purpose workshops at Unilever. And the level of engagement is far higher among these employees,” she said.
- Wellbeing: If employees aren’t feeling good, they can’t function. Companies need to invest in employee health and wellbeing. For every dollar invested in wellbeing, a company earns a return of $2.5 dollars.
- Invest in learning and leadership: Companies need to invest in learning agility and leadership. As hierarchies give away to network-based teams, companies need to ensure that everyone is equipped to be a leader.