The world of work is transforming – and at an unprecedented rate. The single reason that is driving this change is the Covid 19 Pandemic. WFH (work from home), remote working, flexi-time and other factors have become mainstream, with organizations and businesses scramble to cope with the new changes that are the need of the hour. Since the old ways of working are being reinterpreted, business continuity is the single biggest concern today. And it is here that the human factor comes into play – a people-centric transformation can significantly impact the transformation of the organization.
A properly formulated, decisive and positive culture can help to foster a highly engaged and productive workforce. A workforce that is happier and more tightly connected in a time of common workplace change and challenge. If organizational performance and agility can be driven by investing in the workforce and building a positive well-being culture in the workplace, imagine the difference! Try and visualise a workplace where workers put their best foot forward and are given the resources (motivational, psychological & social) to deliver at their full potential. Remember, there is more to business than simply getting the online business registration done.
The on-paper presence of business holds no value if organizational practices are not built in an employee-centric way. Give employees an environment where they can find meaning and purpose from their work, leaders recognise the “human quotient” in their teams and support them, how productive the organization can be? Building such a vibrant, positive culture in organizations would not only benefit the organization but also the economy. Let’s look at ways about how organizations build this people-centric positive culture:
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Seeding Positive Leaders:
Teams are more enthusiastic, when they have a positive leader. Seed, mentor and train managers to be more positive as they lead their teams. They will need to lead by example – empowering where required, guiding where needed and stepping up to the plate when, often. The workforce slowly transforms when there is an air of positivity, can-do and enthusiasm. This collective sense of well-being is what positive leaders will need to envision and work towards. It involves being genuinely concerned about your team and building them up, equipping them to deliver. Positive leaders help to build the team spirit and this encourages everyone to do their best, enhancing productivity & driving outcomes.
Identify & remove obstacles to Positivity:
Building positivity will start with removing dissatisfaction – leaders will need to analyse and find out what are the causes of dissatisfaction for the workforce. And then work towards negating these. If the work environment is safe and the team has the resources they need, it’s a good 1st step. The obstacles that hinder the team’s progress can be roadblocks to their positivity – find out the motivators and work on growing and reinforcing them. As Frederick Herzberg, a prominent psychologist said, the causes of dissatisfaction must be removed. And then the motivators should be added. There may be resistance to this, objections and disagreement – but if the final goal is kept in view while driving this change, it is well worth the effort. Support from the reporting manager or leader is often a huge motivating factor too. The removal of obstacles in itself creates “space: so to say – in which positivity, enthusiasm and motivation can be nurtured & harnessed for the growth of the organization.
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Once the obstacles to positivity have been removed, the team will need to be managed positively – a shared sense of purpose needs to be built. The organization can create a vision and mission statement and leverage them to build camaraderie & esprit de corps. This helps teams become more engaged with their work, their colleagues and the organization. Managing by objectives is one of the oldest tricks in the book – but applied for an objective like this, it is highly effective.
The staff’s motivation will increase once they know exactly what they are to do, and more importantly, how their work is beneficial to the business. Communicating effectively is central in building positivity. If leaders are pen and transparent, it will encourage people to speak up and build trust. Yet another practice is to Manage by walking around – it will give immediate insights into bottlenecks to productivity and then leaders can decide how to remove them. This helps gain knowledge if there is a mismatch between policies and “shop-floor” level execution. Building strong relationships with team members by resolving their problems and communicating effectively are a great asset in managing positively.
Leaders will need to work proactively towards building trust and confidence every day and remind people of the positive impact of their contributions. Doing this will in itself take focus but the benefits for the team and organization can be massive. Positivity can become a habit if reinforced. Build confidence amongst the team by allowing a degree of autonomy – celebrate their successes. Collective celebrations of milestones achieved help in building a common sense of purpose and team bonding. Leaders will need to keep watch for any negativity – even if a single member becomes negative, that can impede the whole effort. This needs to take action and resolved – but done with sensitivity, respect and empathy. Mindfulness, positive affirmations can help to resolve the issue and mainstream the team-member again.
Recognising Positivity as a force for good and harnessing it is a tool that can make organizations thrive. And not only for the sake of business – it can be beneficial to the community and society at large. Positive, confident, helpful and productive individuals can uplift the entire sentiment & outlook of society. Leaders would do well to recognise the immense benefits of Positivity and instill it across the organization.
Swapan Dholakia is a senior Communications and Trade Advocacy professional. His current interest areas are trade diplomacy and leveraging Communications to impact society & audiences at large.