HR In 2022: Mission First, People Always
The function of Human Resources has one mission in 2022; to create a people-centred workforce experience that reinforces organisational purpose and culture. This is how you make people thrive, be effective, happy, and committed.
A thriving workforce is a required ingredient of a thriving business. Tuning into what shapes and supports the whole person is an important exercise in driving engagement and overall wellbeing.
It is time to abandon the notion that work and life are separate, that we somehow act, feel, and function one way at work and operate or feel differently in our lives outside of work. The ideal employer is a proactive protector and positive supporter of the lives of its workforce; it is the employer’s responsibility to care for people. Period.
“The function of Human Resources has one mission in 2022; to create a people-centred workforce experience that reinforces organisational purpose and culture.” – Jason Averbook, CEO and Co-Founder of Leapgen.
Any organisation who did not believe this pre-pandemic is feeling the current talent crisis the most. People are hurting; in the midst of the pandemic, Gallup reported 7 out of 10 people globally were suffering or struggling.
We made some progress in 2021, but parts of the world are still recording their highest COVID case counts yet. We have taken huge steps backwards when it comes to eradicating global poverty. Some of the world’s richest and most profitable companies are experiencing the highest levels of attrition because their people do not want to stay there. Those profits came at the expense of people.
People leaders who are having a hard time getting buy-in, approval or funding on programmes, technologies, or solutions that can help people thrive in your workforce likely still have not made the case that the #1 customer of your function and your business is your people.
Here in the United States, our military uses an expression: “Mission First, People Always.” It is a mindset, leadership, and training approach for combat readiness. The military knows a soldier will spend most of his or her career preparing for combat and very little time, if any at all, actually engaged in combat. Leadership is obsessed with maintaining the cohesion and care of its units so that people can perform optimally, both in wartime and in peacetime.
The global talent crisis is not a result of the pandemic; a number of compounding factors in multiple overlapping crises simply pushed humanity to the breaking point. The global talent crisis is a human outcry. People will separate from what no longer serves them, realising life is too short to struggle unnecessarily, to live in fear, to endure toxic culture or indifferent leadership, or to forsake happiness.
Organisations feeling the impact of the current talent crisis the most will rush to hire more people as fast as possible. This is the wrong solution. Rushing to replace unhappy people does nothing to address core problems. The solution is just what I said above: make people the #1 customer of the HR function and your business.
People are the ultimate differentiator for business, so this should not be hard to do. When you use this principle as your guiding star, you will begin to identify and address foundational issues preventing you from delivering a people-first culture of connection, one where people can thrive, feel like they belong, and want to stay.
Mission First, People Always. Connect your people strategies to organisational purpose. Obsess over their experience, their care and wellbeing, their mental health and ability to thrive. Put their needs first; make them feel safe, cared for, and connected to your mission; help them find joy at work. They can and will rise to the occasion, but only if people leaders set the tone.