Article (February-2021)


Putting people beyond profit

Mimi Nicklin

Designation : -   Bestselling Author

Organization : -  Softening The Edge, Dubai


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Did you know that, according to Deloitte, eighty-five percent of employees around the world are not engaged or are actively disengaged from their jobs? Given we spend five sevenths of our week at work this is worryingly high, especially when you pair it with levels of anxiety, depression and burn out which are all soaring as the year comes to an end.

Putting our people beyond our profit is a discussion that is still relatively new in India but with the experience of having worked from home for such an extended period of time, people are now truly reconsidering what work means to them and how they see the future of their work life choices. En-masse the workforce is reconsidering what their long-term role and value is alongside the balance sheet reconciliation and adjusted financials for year end. People are questioning their need to maintain an office-based role, or to work for a boss that doesn't seem to be able to connect with them, and they are asking the tough questions about the wellness, and the reward, they receive from their work. Empathetic engagement culturally and from their leadership teams has become something employees are seeking out as a basic benchmark for an organisation that values their role. None more so than the millennials who have never been a group afraid to challenge the status quo. After all it was the millennials who coined "work life balance" in the first place.

The requirement for leadership teams today to shift and relook the way they manage and motivate their teams, has been fast tracked and never before have we seen corporation's needing to shift culturally, and indeed operationally, at such a speed. Empathising with employees has been fast tracked to become key in building the levels of cohesion we will need to make up for the turmoil in the months that have passed. The necessity to create connected teams that are motivated to work together as we rebuild, and to protect our top talent from fleeing our businesses, is now critical. People may have never had so many of their freedoms taken from them and today their vision for what really matters has expanded as their demands have shifted. A workplace that heroes employee wellbeing and centricity, is a new baseline.

With entering in 2021, we are all be driven by the need for leadership that goes beyond the rational, and connects with people on a far more authentic and motivating level, within a context that values holistic employee health. This is a time for Regenerative Leadership. It is a time for leaders that can understand their teams beyond the output that they create, and really empathise with them. These will be the leaders that manage to lead their troops to recovery at a pace. Many employees today feel that their eyes have been opened to the possibilities of far more flexible, trust-based organisations. The challenge now is for all of us to keep up with these new expectations. For the senior leaders to repurpose their culture and processes to work for their newly formed employee expectations, and for teams themselves to approach the speed of change with patience. After all, none of us, not even the strongest of leadership structures, were trained for this level of disruption and corporate emotional turmoil yet today we require this expectation management to fundamentally rewire our entire organisational structures. Patience and empathy will go hand in hand if we are truly to uncover the most efficient path to human performance.

For a large number of leaders today, many of whom were trained in a previous era of leadership thinking, this move to more emotionally intelligent, empathetically influenced and regeneratively led business is infinitely difficult to grasp. This can be particularly difficult at speed and leaves us all with far more questions than we have answers. Regenerative Leadership is transformational in its ability to prepare our businesses and teams for this new world of business by giving us the skills to find the solutions that lead and motivate our people. From home working, flexible formats, purpose led goal setting and cohesive sustainable agendas, it covers tenets of organisational success that have been proven to be more valid and more current than ever before. It allows leaders to connect with the needs of their teams accurately and for employees to step into the shoes and realities of the executive teams. It becomes our organisation data set. As we navigate the first quarter of 2021 it will be the leaders that embrace these skills that will be followed by loyal teams as well as generating deeper consumer loyalty. These leaders will be the ones with the wide-reaching perspective and innovative solutions that reach far beyond the micro to make a macro difference; economically as well as organisationally and perhaps even socially. Understanding of our colleagues and teams is no longer a nice to have but a mandate for staff and stakeholders equally. Without this fundamental human requirement, we won't only lose our teams and clients, but we might lose each other.


Mimi Nicklin