It has been quite the year for our country, communities and families. From a workplace point of view, many industries have been put under pressure to survive and the luckier ones plunged into a new way of working. People stayed committed as ever to performing their role, while missing the real connection to loved ones, friends and colleagues.
In the middle of all of this, a spotlight has been shone on the “essential workers” within our community, the people who care for the sick, the people who educate our children and the people who protect our communities.
In workplaces cultures, of all sizes and industries, HR leaders have continued to showcase just how essential they are by staying committed to creating an environment for their people to flourish. They have had to enhance their approach and practices to have impact in a virtual setting, and coach their leadership colleagues to understand the nuanced situations that their team members find themselves in. The spectrum has been broad: a parent trying to juggle home schooling and working; a single person isolated and missing real connection; a carer trying to juggle their job and family responsibilities.
It is important to remember a Great Place to Work is not about being perfect. In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect workplace. It is about listening to your people. It is about the commitment to want to improve your culture. A great workplace has been building trust levels – between people and the organisation, and people and their leaders – for years. Now the true value of this approach has revealed itself. If we have trust built-up, we can embrace the challenge of a new way of working a little easier. We can figure out a way to connect with each other virtually. We can still perform our role with support from our colleagues.
Already we are starting to imagine how we will work in the future. Many are beginning to ask the question: will we go back to “normal”? Many of us aren’t sure what normal means any more. Popular questions on the minds of many are: will we work remotely in the future? Will it be a hybrid approach? Will it be 100 per cent of the time?
Performance and wellbeing
None of these are easy questions to answer and exciting times lie ahead for us all as we move towards the answers. As we engage with this conundrum, the best solutions will always reveal themselves by listening to your people and asking them what will help them be at their best. It’s not just about where we will work in the future, it’s about how we will work. How will we move to a future workplace, that balances this tension between performance and wellbeing, and that ensures we still have meaningful connections with our colleagues?
The Great Place to Work programme has always had – and has maintained – a very simple definition: trusting the people you work for, having pride in what you do and enjoying the people you work with. Never has this commitment been so important and relevant for us as a country.
We are privileged to partner with so many organisations that are committed to improving their workplace culture using this simple definition. I would also like to thank all the Great Place to Work team who show up for each other every day, and continue to support our clients along the Great Place to Work journey. Without you all, nothing we do is possible. Together, the Great Place to Work community are learning together, sharing ideas and making connections, and we look forward to working with you all this year and beyond.
This article originally appeared in ‘Best Workplaces 2021‘ a Special Report from The Irish Times, published March 2021.
Click here to learn more about Special Reports from The Irish Times.