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Employee Experience, Future Of Work, Organizational Development

How can leaders ensure people success in today’s complex world?

How can leaders ensure people's success in today’s complex world?

So much has changed during the past two years, and there are still plenty of challenges ahead. The recent pandemic has forced people and organizations physically apart and created an unprecedented global challenge. It accelerated the adoption of technology at scale at a fast pace and reshaped the traditional workplace, changing forever the way people work and interact. As the World Economic Forum predicted, by 2030, more than 1 billion jobs, almost one-third of all jobs worldwide, will likely be transformed by technology, yielding an emergency of mass workforce reskilling.

On the other hand, this period of transformation has left people vulnerable and stressed by the unknown but also acted as a reset button. In the wake of the pandemic, people’s priorities have suddenly shifted, looking to make changes in their careers according to their needs, expectations, and desire for growth and meaningful work. And so “The Great Resignation” phenomenon emerged, hitting a record high during December 2021 and adding yet another challenge: attracting and retaining talent.

A looming recession is now becoming a reality with rising inflation and the first large-scale layoffs already announced. With additional pressure on optimizing costs in the face of an economic downturn, leaders are facing even more questions on what actions to prioritize to ensure business and people’s success amid the multiple challenges arising.

We identified below some actions we see as essential to help people succeed in today’s complex world and prepare them for the future.

Giving employees direction and clarity by setting clear objectives

For organizations to thrive, especially during crisis times, they need to access their people’s full potential. Setting clear goals and giving employees regular feedback on their performance is the best way to keep employees focused on results to give their best. Moreover, clear goals mean better clarity for employees, which is essential in challenging times. Achieving goals and gaining visibility of how their results impact the company’s strategic direction adds a sense of purpose and fulfillment to people. From the managers’ side, tracking progress on objectives and having regular interactions with the employees is an opportunity to identify areas for improvement and increased performance.

Nestor’s HR platform is the best workspace to connect people’s day-to-day activities, performance, and growth objectives with business results. Our platform helps adapt your performance management programs and empowers people to take ownership of business outcomes. Measuring and trying to improve performance through constant feedback and check-ins should be the starting point of any winning people’s strategy, regardless of the period we’re navigating.

Leading with a human-centric approach

According to a recent Gartner survey, “45% of HR leaders say their employees are fatigued from the continuous disruption of the last several years. High employee change fatigue and increased work friction are correlated with a lower intent to stay with the organization.” And some are anxious about job security amid ongoing digitization or the current economic situation.

This means now more than ever people need support from their leaders to keep their morale high and diminish their anxiety that impacts performance. They need leaders who can help them navigate the change, equip them with the information they need, and inspire trust. While leaders should help their teams perform better they should also move forward and address people’s fears and needs through open and transparent communication. They should be emphatic and flexible and foster a human-to-human connection with the employees. Leaders who demonstrate that they care, are willing to listen and are committed to providing support, lay a foundation of trust and gain loyal employees.

Image source: Human Capital Leadership Institute

Building more resilient teams

Challenging times often require sudden changes in overall strategy and a swift focus from long-term projects to new initiatives with a bigger impact on the short term. An adaptable workforce is key to executing these rapid changes. Essentially, this is what we call today, resilience.

According to American Psychological Association, “resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.” Years of research have shown that resilience is not a vague concept as some might think, but a set of skills that includes purpose, mindfulness, or self-awareness. One of the central elements of resilience is perception. Perception is the way we can conceptualize an event as traumatic, or as an opportunity to learn and grow. Depending on the choice, some people are more prone to show resilience than others. The good news is that these attitudes and soft skills that can influence our response to difficult experiences can be taught over time.

In the workplace as in personal life, resilience is an everyday practice, and leadership plays a central role. Some of the practices leaders can embrace in building more resilient teams include: 

  • coaching sessions
  • meaningful 1:1 conversations
  • celebrating even the smallest achievements
  • giving employees direction through clear goal setting
  • active listening
  • authentic connection 
  • creating positive environments
  • fostering an open transparent culture through continuous feedback

Empowering a culture of continuous learning

As shown previously, the nature of work has been in constant change during the past years. Organizations have realized that their workforce is unprepared to deal with these changes and lacks the necessary soft behaviors or digital skills to yield innovation in the long run. Upskilling and reskilling have become imperatives for today’s workforce, and organizations worldwide have started to prioritize people development especially since people are eager for meaningful growth opportunities.

Nestor’s platform successfully links skills to OKRs and goals, performance reviews, feedback, or pulse surveys so that you get a complete view of each employee’s potential in the workplace in close connection with skills. You may conclude that some employees need to develop new types of skills to be more productive and reach their objectives or maybe just enhance some soft skills and behaviors, critical in today’s fast-paced world.

Nestor’s platform allows organizations to keep an inventory of the current skills of each employee, constantly update it and add desired future-fit skills. With the help of Nestor, you can also asses skills level against a job profile and determine skills gaps that might be the starting point of different learning and development initiatives. Also, based on these skills assessments, you can match employees with the most suitable projects inside the organization, whether it’s a new job, a new project, a cross-functional team, or a new learning opportunity. Moreover, managers together with the employees can set individual development goals and track their progress during performance review sessions.

With so many changes and a potential economic downturn, it’s sometimes easy for people’s development to take a backseat. Still, in the competitive and dynamic world of technology, ensuring people’s skills and capabilities evolve in the same direction as the business needs it’s not a nice-to-have option anymore.

Final thoughts

By helping people identify their purpose, leading with empathy, building resilience, and encouraging ongoing learning, you prepare your company’s most important asset: people to adapt and perform in unexpected, challenging conditions — whatever they might be.

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