A Question to HR: Are You Learning The New Language?
By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist
Have you noticed that the world of work has switched to a new language that everyone is beginning to use? If you want to be good at it, don’t translate and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
When we learn a new language, there is a tendency to translate everything. Translating is inefficient. Babies learn a language by listening, observing and trying out words and asking questions. They are not afraid of making mistakes. That is just how we need to learn the new language that the world has switched to.
Language translators who translate TED talks suggest different ways to do this. “Interacting in the new language is key — it will teach you to intuitively express your thoughts, instead of mentally translating each sentence before you say it. Find native speakers near you.”
Don’t tell employees “it is business as usual”
There’s a new language that is evolving in the world of work. It is nothing like what we have ever seen before. Some leaders are telling their employees, “Nothing has changed; this is business as usual.” The employees know that everything has changed. When the employees notice this discrepancy, trust in the leader drops.
The leaders are being far more transparent and authentic with customers and shareholders that they have never seen anything like this in the past – neither have the customers. Building trust in every relationship of the ecosystem matters.
Read: From the aquarium to the ocean – how the role of the leader has changed
This is the first time in the world of work when the leader is as uncertain about the future as the employee. This democratisation of information or lack of it is creating a new contract between the employer and the employee. When leaders admit they are vulnerable, they are building trust. Being able to say, ‘I don’t know’ is a new phrase the leader has to get used to. It takes a courageous and self-assured leader to admit that it is their judgment and not precedence they are relying on.
Invest in HR Tech
‘Anytime, anywhere’ will be the new way of working. The digital-born companies have announced that they will let people work from anywhere. This is the new language of work. A small fraction of jobs will still to be done in the factory or office. That will be the aberration.
Businesses have to invest in HR technology that creates seamless working no matter where the employee chooses to work from. Assume every employee is a digital nomad. Assume your employees will live and work from a different geography every week. What would you need to do to ensure that they can be hired, onboarded, managed, appraised and rewarded without a hitch? What will it take to ensure that their skills are at the cutting edge? Investment in HR Tech matters more than ever.
Invest in scalable HR SaaS-based software that can be implemented in a few weeks. No one trained 2.6 billion people how to use Facebook. Your HR software should be just as intuitive to use.
Read: Collaboration can change the experience of work
During the pandemic, employers who had invested in HR technology were able to keep the business running without a blink. They were able to adapt to the new language of work. Many were caught unprepared. They are still waiting for things to “return to normal”. That is a future state that will never happen.
Get used to making mistakes
Approach this new world like a baby learning a new language. The decisions you take will often have no precedence. So stop looking at your peers and carve your own path. Instead, look at the digital-born companies if you must. Several digital businesses are letting their employees work from remote locations until the end of the year. Will you be able to do the same? It is not just your employees, your customers are also working from remote locations now.
During the financial crisis, the organisations turned to the CFOs to lead the organisation. This is the time for the CHRO to lead organisations into the new world of work. This is the time to learn the new language that the world of work is switching to. It is time to build your vocabulary.
When you learn a new language, do not be afraid of making mistakes. The native speakers are always delighted that you are trying to speak their language. They will encourage you and help you. Get comfortable with making mistakes. Co-create the new workplace with your employees.
Republished with permission and originally published at abhijitbhaduri.com