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15 Sep 2023

10 Things Every HR Professional Wishes 
✨ Leadership ✨ 
Knew About Employee Wellbeing

(Send this to the leaders in your company! 😉)

In today's fast-paced and dynamic business landscape, effective leadership is make or break. 

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.” — Sam Walton

HR professionals often find themselves advocating to leaders in their organisations to adjust their people management strategies. During these conversations, there tend to be topics that come up time and again; areas where HR and company leadership don’t seem to be speaking the same language. In this article we’ll explore the ten things every HR professional wishes their leadership team knew, so you can start speaking the same language and align your people strategies with organisational goals.

1. People are your most valuable asset: Invest in their potential 💰

HR professionals firmly believe that people are a company's most valuable asset. Leaders should recognise that investing in employees' development, wellbeing, and engagement directly and swiftly impacts the organisation's performance and bottom line. Prioritising a people-centric approach is key to nurturing a productive and motivated workforce. People strategies are not a luxury item, but a core business driver.

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2. Culture starts at the top: Lead by example 🔝

Leaders are the most significant influence on an organisation's culture. HR professionals would like leaders to be mindful of their actions, as their behaviour sets the tone for the entire company. Rather than starting with “how can I change this behaviour on my team?”, leaders should instead start with “how can I demonstrate the behaviour I want to see on my team?”

“The fastest way to change team culture is to change the leadership.” — Josh Axe

By visibly practicing and calling our desired values and behaviours, leaders can foster a positive work environment and inspire employees to do the same.

3. Effective communication is essential: Break down barriers 🗣

Clear and transparent communication is vital in fostering trust, engagement, and collaboration within teams. And communication needs to be proactive, not just something that happens when the team starts asking questions. By then it’s too late. HR professionals consistently emphasise the importance of leaders being open, approachable, and actively listening to their employees. A study from the McKinsey Institute suggests that employees who feel included in more detailed workplace communication are almost 5 times more likely to report increased productivity. By providing timely feedback, setting clear expectations, and encouraging open dialogue, leaders can build stronger relationships and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

4. Inclusion is imperative: Embrace diversity to drive success 🚗

Inclusion and diversity should be more than just buzzwords for leaders and not just a tick box on their to-do list. HR professionals stress the importance of building diverse teams and fostering an inclusive, equitable culture. By embracing diverse perspectives and experiences, organisations can unlock innovation, improve decision-making, and attract top talent. Forbes research shows a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance: inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time. Leaders must champion diversity and inclusion initiatives and create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

5. Learning & development drive engagement: Your business will grow as fast as your employees do 🔥

Investing in employee development not only enhances team skills but also increases employee engagement and loyalty. HR professionals encourage leaders to provide opportunities for continuous learning, such as training programs, mentorship, and career development plans. Deloitte survey found that for every $1 invested in learning & development per employee, there was a $4.70 growth in business revenue. By fostering a culture of learning, leaders can empower their teams and contribute to the long-term growth of the organisation.

6. Employee wellbeing drives performance: You can’t separate success from self-care 🧘‍♀️

A healthy work-life balance and employee wellbeing are critical factors in driving productivity and reducing burnout. Leaders should prioritise creating an environment that supports employee wellbeing through flexible work arrangements, personalised mental health resources, and recognition of work-life integration. A happier and healthier workforce leads to higher employee satisfaction and retention rates. Aggressively pushing for results without recognising that you’re managing humans not machines is unsustainable and ultimately futile.

7. Data-driven decisions: Metrics do matter 📊

HR can have a reputation for representing the “soft side” of the business. But HR professionals consistently advocate for leaders to embrace data-driven decision-making when it comes to managing their workforce. Deloitte study shows that companies that devote the proper time and resources to build workforce analytics capabilities will be better positioned to out-perform their competitors in the coming years. By reviewing people analytics and HR metrics, leaders can gain valuable insights into employee performance, engagement, and retention. These insights help to identify trends, address challenges, and make informed decisions that drive organisational success.

8. Everyone hates change: It’s your job to show the way 🧭

Change is inevitable in today's business landscape, but humans are hard-wired to find change difficult. Therefore, leaders play a crucial role in managing change effectively to make it energising rather than exhausting for those around them. HR professionals stress the importance of involving employees in the change process, communicating the rationale behind it, and providing the necessary support. Engaging employees during times of change fosters a sense of ownership and minimises resistance.

9. HR as a strategic partner: Unleash the full potential 👩‍💼

HR professionals should be seen as strategic partners to leadership rather than administrative support. They possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can elevate organisations to new heights. Leaders should actively involve HR professionals in strategic discussions, decision-making processes, and planning sessions. Is someone from HR in all your key leadership team forums? If not, why? By leveraging HR's insights and perspectives, leaders can harness the full potential of their workforce, align people strategies with business objectives, and drive sustainable growth and success.

10. Recognise and appreciate employees: Motivation will help your team soar 🙏

Leaders spend a lot of time worrying about what’s not going right because recognition and appreciation are powerful motivators that are often forgotten. HR professionals emphasise the importance of acknowledging and rewarding employees' contributions. Whether through a simple thank you, public recognition, or meaningful rewards, leaders can create a culture of appreciation that boosts employee morale, motivation, and overall job satisfaction. And this won’t only help your team. Leadership is hard, so taking the time to celebrate where things have gone right can help with leaders’ motivation, too.

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Conclusion 🔚 

HR teams and business leaders care about the same things in the end: empowering the organisation’s people, shaping the culture, and embracing diversity. But sometimes it can seem like they’re speaking a different language. By bookmarking the ten points highlighted in this article, leaders can stay better aligned with HR and avoid repetitive disagreements by finding common ground… Only by collaborating in these 10 areas, can organisations grow and thrive in today's rapidly evolving business landscape, and achieve remarkable results.

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