Health & Wellness
An employee-centric organization is one that can grow
By Isabelle Sauve and Bruno Seguin
By Isabelle Sauve and Bruno Seguin
Traditionally, work life has been about conforming and complying with organizational policies, procedures, plans and rules. With new technologies allowing fast paced global interaction — amongst other factors — the centre of attention is rapidly shifting from a focus on institutions to a convergence on human capital. Individuals are gaining more power as organizations compete to recruit and retain the best talent, making the workplace pendulum swing from employer-centric to employee-centric.
According to LinkedIn, the best rated companies are putting themselves in employees’ “shoes” and talent professionals recognize employee experience is swiftly becoming extremely important. Glassdoor explains organizations who put their people first experience higher financial returns, better customer satisfaction scores, increased employee retention, greater innovation and greater competitive advantage.
An employee who feels valued will give more in return and be invested into the organization and its goals. To achieve strong employee investment, the first step is to share those goals and spend time explaining them instead of simply distributing a document. Organizations usually communicate their short- and long-term goals in documents called business plan and annual general report. Indeed, it is the task for all managers at every hierarchical level to communicate and federate all employees around these key documents.
Employee experience is a key ingredient. Managers must not only listen to what employees say but also be proactive and act. Listening to employees means more than just asking for feedback. Mark Levy, former head of employee experience at Airbnb and Allbirds, states “employee experience is about doing things with and for your employees, not to them.”
In the case of law enforcement agencies, it is imperative for practices to reflect current realities and steps to address employee needs must be upgraded. They must ensure operations and business plans respect the central role of employees.
Employees tend to go above and beyond when they feel respected and are encouraged to be creative rather than restricted by a parameter of rules. Job satisfaction, employee loyalty and retention are largely predicated on how they are treated in the workplace. Employees are the spine of any organization and must be respected as such.
Furthermore, at a time where law enforcement staffing levels are low and resources are stretched thin, a shift in paradigm and organizational focus is critical. Policing is a challenging and highly rewarding career that can become highly sought after once again by putting the employees first.
To grow into an employee-centric organization an employee-centric management style must be embraced and implemented. Management must consider staff needs as critical as the professional needs of the organization.
Some current promotional practices within the realm of law enforcement — such as the requirement to demonstrate the competency of “holding people accountable” — has created mistrust and a lack of respect for those preparing to compete for a new position, as well as those promoted under this pretext. It also rewards the wrong behaviour and may reward persons with the wrong intentions.
The current para-military structure and mentality of police services does not put its people first. Some disrespectful, ill-mannered and aggressive practices cannot be called management and must be ceased.
Current employees with the prerequisite experience, education and skill set demonstrating an interest in professional development should be groomed and highly supported in reaching their goals. Management should be concentrating their efforts at ensuring positive employee experience and keeping them stimulated and engaged. An unsuccessful candidate who has spent countless hours of their own time to put together a resume and prepare for an interview should gain more from the experience than receiving a deflating and apathetic email advising of the unfortunate news. Unsuccessful candidates should be contacted by the hiring manager for feedback instead of expecting the candidates to reach out to them.
Managers must be selected for having the right qualities and skill sets. They must exhibit genuine and a sincere interest for employees. Those at the top must lead with true care and respect. They must view supporting employee success as important as meeting their own professional goals.
Nowadays, many organizations conscious of their downfall, are contracting external professionals to manage their internal employee development and promotional process. Others are opening competitions on a cyclical basis for employees who wish to access a specific rank. The competition takes in consideration the goals and plans of the organization and provides a pool of pre-qualified candidates for upcoming vacancies. It also guarantees a fair and equal promotional process, detached from uneducated considerations and favouritism.
Data from LinkedIn has shown open and effective management had 143 per cent higher headcount growth compared to those companies who ranked poorly on this attribute. The bottom-line is a better work experience translates into better all-around results and higher productivity.
*This column originally appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of Blue Line.
Bruno Seguin is a senior executive manager and international business consultant with experience in global operations, international business development, strategic planning, leadership and corporate governance. He is also an ultra-runner, 9th place finisher at the Racing the Planet/4 Deserts 2018 Series and fellow Guinness World record holder.
Isabelle Sauve is a 13-year veteran with the OPP, currently with the Lanark County Detachment. She has a MA in psychology and is a PhD candidate. She is also an ultramarathon/ endurance athlete and the Racing the Planet/4 Deserts 2018 Series winner as well as a Guinness World record holder. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.