Covid-19 redefined the mechanisms underlying the world of work and busted numerous myths associated with physical workplaces. It challenged us to find ways of leading during times of uncertainties, made remote working a new normal and pushed organizations to redefine productivity and performance standards.
With so many disruptions, the clear priority for organisations has been business survival by the means of client retention and revenue generation, however, there is enough evidence to suggest that more agile and adaptable companies have not only focused on technological enablement and digitization of products and services but also thought towards effective people management.
At the Great Manager Institute, we undertook research, immediately post the lockdown to understand how our clients were coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and what were their major concerns. Some of the people related concerns that were voiced by organizational representatives were challenges in staying connected with teams, collaborating, addressing insecurities and ensuring the well-being of employees.
As the next step of our research, an online pulse survey was carried out to study the employees’ perception of managerial effectiveness. A pool of 405 employees representing varied industries such as manufacturing, IT, BFSI, Retail, Education, Hospitality, logistics, responded to the questionnaire. Some of the key findings indicated that Participative Management is the largest driver of People Effectiveness. Additionally, working on team connect, communicating expectations clearly and being approachable and supportive emerged as key drivers of people effectiveness perceptions. The pulse survey also provided valuable insights on areas of strengths and improvement for managers to enhance employee experience and satisfaction.
Why should organizations bother about the pulse in current times?
Many leaders and CEOs may not be completely convinced that current times warrant a focus on people management and employee experience. However, past research has consistently shown that a disconnect with employees can lead to a sense of demotivation and disengagement which may deepen the challenges of customer retention and profitability for organizations.
The 5 ways in which organizations can use this tool to enhance their ‘people potential’ is summarized in our PULSE Model:
Probe and get the feel of the organization:
Employee experience is an intangible entity requiring an index that can capture employee concerns and perceptions. The Pulse survey provides an objective index to measure employee perceptions. In our sample, while 68.2% felt that managers were effective in their people management skills, 45 % of the respondents felt that there was not enough consideration for work-life balance, personal-connect and a sense of togetherness and celebration, indicating that managers are struggling to Connect, Develop & Inspire© their teams. Such insights immediately help organizations to identify areas that require interventions and create action plans to address the concerns.
Uncover trends and patterns of effectiveness across departments and work teams
A pulse survey can help in the demographic slicing and dicing of information to identify organizational levels and work-teams where the employee experience is managed well and those where greater handholding may be required by managers for effective people management. For instance, our findings indicated that people effectiveness was good at the supervisory and senior leadership level, but not at the managerial level. The difference of the mean score was statistically significant indicating a need for better people management skills by managers. Such insights can also help organizations identify the development needs of managers and design training initiatives accordingly.
Leverage key drivers that enhance people management
Each organization is unique. While there are some universal principles that govern people management, organizations may be facing unique challenges based on the employee profile. A pulse survey can clearly indicate the unique drivers of people effectiveness in the organisation and help them understand the expectations and pain areas across various demographics and leverage key areas that enhance employee experience.
Support managers in creating a positive environment.
As our GMI ambassador Marshall Goldsmith right said, “The difference between you changing your behaviour and another person changing their perception is not what we think we say, but what they hear.” Likewise, the true success of people management ultimately lies in the eyes of the beholder, which in this case is the employee. An insight into the perceptions of employees can also help organizations identify gaps in managerial skills and find ways of bridging it.
Empathise, let people know that you care
Current times warrant leaders and managers to put themselves in the shoes of employees to appreciate the full impact of the uncertainties and anxieties that employees are experiencing. Whether it is acknowledging the hardships of working from home or understanding the emotional upheavals that an employee is going through, leaders are expected to be empathetic and tuned. Conducting a regular pulse provides a great opportunity for leaders to tune in and sends out a message to employees that the organization cares and is invested in them.
Our PULSE results indicate that there has never been a better time to connect with employees, be tuned to their views and care for them. It creates an atmosphere of trust, respect and engagement that will help organizations to weather current times and reap the benefits when green shoots appear, and business moves from a survive to a thrive mindshare. Thus, we strongly recommend organizations to carry out a Pulse survey and embark upon the journey of employee well-being and organizational effectiveness.