Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Feedback and Talent in the Post-Covid Era

Do you know what today is? If you answered, “National Compliment Day,” then you are correct. In 1650, the Italian noun “complimento” determined the spelling, and its definition is “an expression of respect and civility.” Do you compliment your team, co-workers, and other employees? It’s amazing what a few positive words can do to improve employee morale. To celebrate today, I’ve invited Julie Winkle Giulioni to return to my blog for a discussion about employee feedback, leadership, and the overall employee experience. Highlights follow Julie’s introduction.

Julie Winkle Giulioni has championed workplace growth and development throughout her career. She operates with the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their potential – and she works with organizations and leaders who want to make that happen. She is the co-author of the international bestseller, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want, which has been translated into seven languages; and recently launched her second book, Promotions Are So Yesterday: Redefine Career Development. Help Employees Thrive. Julie is a sought-after keynote presenter and contributes articles on leadership, career development, and workplace trends to numerous publications.

QUESTION: There are many new titles for the head of personnel, aka Human Resources, including: Chief Happiness Officer, Chief People Officer, Chief Talent Officer, Chief Encouragement Officer, to name a few.

One of our leadership/employee engagement/workforce culture colleagues, Marli Rusen from Canada, has said, “The title of Human Resources covers the myriad of responsibilities performed by the HR department. The other titles you mention are too limited in scope and fail to recognize the many roles and responsibilities assigned to those who work in this field. For me, what’s more important than the title is that employees and leaders clearly understand the mandate of the HR department in their organization.”

What are your thoughts to change the title in order to improve the position’s value to all employees?

JULIE WINKLE GIULIONI: Human resources was a popular improvement over personnel, the term commonly used in the past. It was intended to elevate the role and acknowledge that people were as valuable and important as machines, materials, and other resources required to meet an organization’s mission. In recent years, I sense that many feel that the resources part of the title has been emphasized over the human part.

While I personally like to see terms like ‘people’ and ‘talent’ in the new and evolving titles, what matters more to employees than what it’s called, is what it does. Is the function ensuring fairness in treatment, compensation, and the like? Is it promoting equity? Is it keeping them safe and secure? Is it facilitating meaningful work and enabling the growth and development that people crave? If the answer is ‘yes’, then those in this role will be called heroes regardless of formal titles.

QUESTION: You appeared on my blog in April 2021, in an inspiring Q&A about employee engagement and leadership. During our convo, you said, “The most effective leaders are the ones that enable excellence.” What are some ways that effective leaders accomplish this?

JULIE WINKLE GIULIONI: Enabling excellence isn’t a “one size fits all” exercise. Leaders who do this do it one person at a time, getting to know individual motivations, needs, talents, and aspirations. They can then create an environment uniquely suited to allowing individuals to shine.

Some practices that leaders may want to consider when putting together their custom cocktail include:
•    Setting a clear vision, laying out the big picture, and painting individuals into it.
•    Cultivating a culture of collaboration because, given the complexity of today’s workplace, excellence is rarely a solo endeavor.
•    Model authenticity, transparency, and respect.
•    Build and extend trust.
•    Listen hard and nurture generous feedback loops.
•    Engaging people in the decisions that affect them.
•    Offer the resources and support people need to thrive.

SHARE THIS: Enabling excellence isn’t a “one size fits all” exercise. ~@julie_wg #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: During this challenging time of “quiet quitting” and the “great resignation,” what are some ways that leaders can support their employees who work from home?

JULIE WINKLE GIULIONI: During the covid pandemic, and since things have begun to return to normal, remote and hybrid work raised the stakes for leaders everywhere. And when we add the current dynamics around engagement and retention, it’s only elevated the importance of the manager’s role in organizational success.

The good news is that the practices required to capture the hearts and minds of employees haven’t changed. We just need to practice them with greater discipline, care, and intention.

We can support those who may be working remotely by:
•    Getting to know them on a human level – understanding their broader lives, priorities, and motivations.
•    Understanding how they’re really doing – monitoring for stress, burnout, and the need for greater support.
•    Appreciating that many people want and/or need a different relationship with work – and offering the flexibility, sense of purpose, or whatever else is required to make that relationship work.
•    Demonstrating appreciation – because without those organic opportunities in the office, ‘thank you’ may not be agendized the way it should.
•    Ensure humane workloads (and stress-loads) and the resources required to enable them.

QUESTION: During this challenging time of “quiet quitting” and the “great resignation,” what are some ways that leaders can provide feedback to their employees who work from home in a constructive and non-combative manner?

JULIE WINKLE GIULIONI: Offering the helpful information people need to remain aligned and on track (which is essentially what feedback is) has only become more vital in remote and hybrid workplaces. The lack of environmental cues and organic opportunities means that managers must apply the same skills and sensibilities they’ve developed working with co-located employees to those who work at a distance – but doing so even more proactively, frequently, and intentionally.

This means:
•    Initiating the conversation as promptly as possible after an event worthy of feedback.
•    Stating your positive intent for sharing the information.
•    Succinctly (in 60 seconds or less) offering specific observations and the impact of the employee’s behavior or performance.
•    Making it a dialogue by quickly engaging the employee with questions like, “How do you see it?” or “What was your experience of that?”
•    Collaborating on a plan as necessary and offering the support required for success.

It’s also important to remember that feedback doesn’t come in just one flavor. We tend to default to associating feedback with problems, issues, and performance shortfalls. But, if feedback is simply the information people need to remain aligned and on track, then generously calling out what’s going well and working for the employee is helpful – regardless of where people might be working.

SHARE THIS: Feedback doesn’t come in just one flavor. ~@julie_wg #EmployeeExperience #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: As you explain on Twitter, “For decades, promotions have been the default definition of career development, setting unattainable and unsustainable expectations for employees.” Can you please explain other ways to grow from your book #PromotionsAreSoYesterday?

JULIE WINKLE GIULIONI: Research I conducted for my latest book, Promotions Are So Yesterday, suggests that there are seven other development dimensions that offer more interesting ways for employees to grow than the classic climb up the corporate ladder.

They include:
•    Contribution: Making a difference, being of service, or aligning with purpose.
•    Competence: Building critical capabilities, skills, abilities, and expertise.
•    Connection: Cultivating relationships, deepening networks, elevating visibility.
•    Confidence: Enhancing confidence, certainty, and trust in one’s talents and abilities.
•    Challenge: Stretching beyond what’s known and comfortable.
•    Contentment: Finding satisfaction, ease, balance, and joy in one’s work.
•    Choice: Exercising control, autonomy, flexibility, and decision-making authority.

These seven dimensions offer leaders who are committed to ensuring that everyone grows the tools they need to facilitate meaningful development – even with those who have little interest in promotions. For instance, a new role is not required to introduce interesting and meaningful challenges into someone’s work life. People don’t need a different title to expand their network and learn from and through different people. A position change isn’t a prerequisite for changing up one’s work to offer greater value or contribution. Employees don’t have to go anywhere to experience the powerful learning that comes along with making greater or more complex decisions.

And the good news is that these seven dimensions – unlike promotions – are completely within a manager’s and employee’s control and offer development opportunities that are available right within their current role.

SHARE THIS: A new role is not required to introduce meaningful challenges into someone’s work life. ~@julie_wg #PromotionsAreSoYesterday #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My gratitude and appreciation to Julie for sharing her inspiring perspective about feedback and the employee experience.

Image Credit: Sheri Silver via Unsplash.

Check out the previous Q&A featuring Julie here on my Blog:
How Can Leaders Become Architects of Unbeatable Brands?

Connect with Julie at these links:
Website: www.juliewinklegiulioni.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliewinklegiulioni
Twitter: @Julie_WG
Facebook: /JulieWinkleGiulioni.Author

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