The role of HR has expanded greatly since the start of the pandemic – a July 2023 Gartner survey of 287 HR leaders found 70% of HR leaders say they have more opportunities for impact and 58% report they have more authority to determine strategic priorities.
“After drastically changing the way we work, HR leaders are now grappling with whether or not to stay bold and continue to challenge convention when external circumstances, such as the pandemic, are no longer forcing their hand,” said Brent Cassell, vice president, advisory in the Gartner HR practice. “In this new normal, organizations need to be ‘Everyday Bold’, choosing every day to not just take action, but prepare for whatever could be ahead.”
Gartner research found that employees at Everyday Bold organizations are six times more likely to be top performers.
Gartner has identified three key facets HR leaders need to embody to become Everyday Bold:
The workplace transformation of the last three years – increased flexibility, hybrid work, access to expanded talent pools, etc. – has left employees feeling disoriented. A July 2023 Gartner survey of 3,540 employees revealed only 16% feel their organization is predictable.
“Unpredictability can negatively affect employees and therefore business and talent outcomes, including productivity and retention,” said Ania KrasniewskaShahidi, group vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “Stability is not only integral to breaking boundaries, but we’ve found that organizations that offer more stability see a significant rise in employee engagement.”
A June 2023 Gartner survey of 3,540 employees emphasized the big impact stability can have on employee engagement, revealing that when organizations successfully build stability for their workforce through targeted professional development opportunities or strategic planning, they observe a 61% rise in employee engagement.
Workplace trust is currently a struggle as Gartner research shows only 53% of employees trust their organization and only 63% of organizations say they trust their employees.
Lack of communication around key goals, like pay equity, is one reason employees cite for their distrust. Organizations struggling to address this trust gap often turn to employee monitoring as a replacement for mutual trust, as Gartner’s recent data found 71% of employees report they are being digitally monitored.
“To build mutual trust, it is important that employees first feel that their organizations trust them,” said Cassell. “Organizations need to actively signal belief in employees’ good intentions via actions that show employees that their employer believes in their ability and reliability.”
Workplace trust is particularly critical to innovation – in high-trust organizations, 79% of employees bring new ideas to their managers as opposed to 17% in low-trust organizations.
The final piece to being Everyday Bold is the ability to move forward, even in the face of the pushback that many HR leaders encounter both internally and externally. Gartner found that letting go is a critical active ingredient in forging ahead. This includes not just letting go of mindsets that no longer serve the organization, but in many cases letting go of previous priorities and processes that no longer serve the organization in order to make room for the next opportunity.
HR leaders must let go with intention. For example, if an organization is replacing a tool or framework, HR leaders should recognize the individuals who helped maintain what is being shuttered.
“Letting go with intention means acknowledging the loss of what served you well in the past, and deliberately dismantling it to make room for new possibilities, such as new technology,” said Shahidi. “At organizations that let go of existing mindsets and processes to make room for new possibilities, employees are 10 times more likely to say their organization enables innovation.”
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