Supporting Teams and Individuals
The business world has shifted beneath our feet. We’re in an age of instability, some would call it the rise of the ‘independent contractor’. No longer are companies expected to treat their employees like family, the age of the lifetime employment guarantee is long gone.
Some would say such an age would usher in the death of traditional HR functions. The end of consistent performance reviews, check-ins with senior staff, bonus structures or team building exercises. We’re in the age of individuality! Every man (and woman) for themselves, right? One of the paradoxes of the ‘sharing economy’ is that it’s in many ways ushered in a more individualistic approach to the way in which we conduct business. We’re no longer expected to consider the people we work with as long-term or potentially lifetime colleagues. All good and well, but where does that leave the notion of workplace support? How do we continue to support individuals and teams within the workplace in ever increasingly uncertain times?
Space for Honesty/Habits
Honesty in the workplace isn’t simply a case of having everyone share everything on their mind. Nor can honesty be forced or coerced when it comes to any group of individuals. However, what we can do is create a habit of honesty. That means regular face to face check-ins which offer people the opportunity to share what’s working well for them as well as what could be going better.
I’ve often been amazed by the rise in what some have labelled ‘the passion economy’ – a term meant to signify the shift in the modern job seeker who places fulfilment in the workplace before notion of long-term security or financial package.
In supporting people within the workplace it’s important to set up process by which their deeper motivations, ideas and ambitions are discussed. I need to be clear, this isn’t a case of simply asking ‘where do you want to be in 5 years’ (rolls eyes). Let’s rephrase that question, instead let’s ask ‘who do you want to be within (insert time frame)’.
In asking that question what we’re doing is encouraging individuals to name their aspirations, who is it they want to be like, where do they see themselves going? In terms of providing support this allows an organisation to look at the parameters of an individual’s role and how that can assist them in realising there deeper ambitions.
At some point we’ve all been sent on company sanctioned training courses. In most cases you’re sent as opposed to having expressed any huge desire for the training you receive. If we want to support individuals and by extension teams within the workplace I believe there’s a shift in approach required. No more will training simply be prescribed, instead what we’d do is offer employees the opportunity to make a the case for their own self improvement.
This isn’t a form of institutionalised chaos, no. Instead, this approach seeks to empower those within the working environment to take responsibility for their journey, for their progress within the workplace and by extension, beyond it.