Very Group chief people officer: Five tips to get engagement right in hybrid working world | Opinion

1. Bright basics

The world of work has changed, but the fundamentals of what motivates people have not. At a time when the competition for talent is hotter than ever, you need to get the basics right. Committed people get paid on time; their workspaces are fit for purpose, whether in an office or remote location, and run by people committed to your growth.

Of course, the basics need to be reinvented for the hybrid world of work, so we remodeled our offices and invested in technology to support hybrid work. We also recognize the increased need for leaders to focus on wellness, cultivating shared purpose and building trust. That’s why we’re putting an emphasis on development in areas like authentic leadership and inclusion.

2. Listen

The world is constantly changing, which means our teammates’ worlds are also changing. It has never been more important to listen to our people and take action. We do this through regular engagement surveys, ad hoc listening, and our People Labs – team forums that provide a qualitative overlay to our survey data. Findings are owned and managed by our departments, managers and teams. It is everyone’s responsibility to create change and help shape our culture. Listening and acting should not be a top-down exercise.

3. Inclusion

You’ll get the best out of people if they feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work. That makes them feel more included and engaged, and it also brings real business benefits. We have made great progress, having achieved a Glassdoor diversity and inclusion rating of 4.2 out of 5. But we recognize that we must go further and have articulated our ambition and made commitments to diversity and inclusion that we aim to achieve by 2025.

We make these commitments a reality at our hybrid office and compliance sites through personal engagements, digital and in-person events focused on inclusion, and key event celebrations like Pride.

4. Purpose

People want to be a part of something that matters. Not just for the company, not just for them personally, but for real people, communities and the environment. Whatever that purpose is, companies need to articulate it in the right way and give their people opportunities to engage with it.

For us, it’s about helping families get more out of life. In a hybrid environment, we use digital conferencing, video resources, e-learning, and our performance management processes to help our colleagues personalize our purpose.

5. Growth

In my experience, people want to grow with organizations. As the business changes, they too want to develop and advance their careers. We place great emphasis on developing our people by exposing them to varied and interesting jobs. As we integrate multi-category retail with flexible payments, and are investing significantly in transforming our technology, there is always a lot to try and we try to create a culture where people can take advantage of new opportunities.

Innovation Summit Artwork

Innovation Summit

Do you want to know more about Sarah? She will take the stage at the Retail Week Innovation Summit on November 10 to discuss how retailers can win the war for talent and engage their workforce.

You can also hear from Kingfisher’s CTO, Lego Group’s Senior Vice President of Retail, DFS COO and many more.

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