There are very few people who would give those involved in this month’s rioting the time of day, let alone the chance to explain why they sought to bring disruption, violence and chaos to the streets of the UK.
But as anyone working in HR will know, communication, whatever the circumstances, is always critical. So I have tried to listen.
Much of the resistance appears to stem from young people claiming to have uncertain futures because, at a time when unemployment is high, the cost of living is rising, benefits are being cut and further education is becoming more expensive, they feel penned in.
Bring these observations into the HR world and it roughly translates into groups of employees kicking out against the way things are ‘always done’ because they feel trapped within the organisational system. They may also feel that there are no opportunities to progress and develop because they perceive that all of the breaks and golden chances are fed straight through to the boardroom or senior management.
But in my experience, there is one thing that HR executives can always hold on to – and it has never been more important to do so than at the moment – and that is career visioning.
Employers always seek commitment and loyalty – two features of the coveted utopia of staff engagement – from their employees. But how often is this situation turned on its head, with employers finding ways to demonstrate true engagement to their workers?
Times are tough, budgets are being squeezed and so perhaps pay rises and enhanced benefit packages are out of the question. But career visioning shouldn’t be. At a time when it seems like HR has no control over the forces that make every work day a hard one, some professionals are definitely giving career development issues more attention.
And career development strategies do not have to be reserved simply for senior employees or only kick in following seismic business changes either. A recent study by Middlesex University
found that 77% of managers wanted more opportunities to develop their skills. So now might be a good time to identify them within your own organisation, rebuild bridges and help them plan their future over the next five, 10 or even 15 years.
The best career development projects are those that involve sitting down with staff members and finding out where they would like things to move to in future, before working out a plan that can be bought into by both them and their employer – a dual-commitment.
HR professionals should take this as an opportunity to find out more about the company’s employees, working alongside them to reach set objectives that will benefit both the individuals concerned and the business.
But, like any relationship, commitment is needed from both parties, not least in order to dispel anxiety about the future and to drive engagement now without having to invest large sums. It has to be a win-win situation.
Elva Ainsworth is managing director of bespoke 360-degree feedback tools provider, Talent Innovations.