HR Awards 2021: Hottest HR topics on the night

Don't forget to register for the event!

HR Awards 2021: Hottest HR topics on the night

As we enter the final leg of 2021, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. The events of the past year have been traumatic, disruptive, and unpredictable. However, for HR leaders, they’ve also been career-defining. 2021’s Canadian HR Awards is fast approaching – and with it a night of celebration and accolades for individuals, teams, and organizations. Ahead of the event, HRD caught up with leading panellists from the night – to talk through the major themes of their discussions.

HRD: What is the importance of rewards in remote work?

Chris French, executive vice president of customer strategy at Workhuman: “When the majority of the world transitioned to a remote environment in early 2020, leaders were faced with the challenge of creating human connection in a suddenly disconnected world. Luckily, businesses who already had (or swiftly adopted) a way to recognize employees no matter there they were benefited from the constant stream of feedback, appreciation, and connection that continued to flow among their workforces.

Read more: 'Work is fast becoming the leading cause of stress'

“And the benefits are lingering – according to Workhuman research, when somebody receives more than five formal 'thank you’ moments in a year, their propensity to leave is cut in half, from about 15% to 7%. Recognition at work is about human connection but impacts so much more than just that – turnover, productivity, and overall employee well-being to name a few. As we enter into the “Great Resignation” and many businesses begin the shift back to offices, retaining a solid, happy, and motivated workforce through the use of tools like social recognition should be top of mind for all leaders.”

HRD: “What makes a dream HR leader?”

Sarah Beech, area executive president, central region at Gallagher: “An organization is nothing without its people. A dream HR leader knows this and has mastered how to walk the tightrope, balancing the needs of both the organization and its workforce. They have the ear and respect of the C-suite, have built followership, and gained the trust of the greater team. They naturally see the big picture, strategizing on what’s to come and what needs to be done, while simultaneously getting in the trenches alongside the team to help with daily issues or concerns.

Read more: Five tips to boost employees’ mental energy

“A dream HR leader possesses exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, demonstrates empathy and is agile in both their thinking and actions. They are the cornerstone of the organization’s values and culture and the gatekeeper of the employee lifecycle. From attraction, retention, reward and development, they play a pivotal role, implementing systems and processes that elevate the organization’s wellbeing.  A dream HR leader isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues and push the organization forward on topics such as mental health and wellbeing or diversity, equity and inclusion, and guides this through effective policies, procedures, and engagement activities. A dream HR leader is an extension of the people.”

HRD: “What’s the impact of a positive culture on employee engagement?”

Dr Jarik Conrad, senior director, human insights & HCM evangelism at UKG: “Workplace culture and employee engagement are probably the most important challenges that organizations are confronting, particularly as we try to work our way out of this pandemic. There is a reciprocal relationship between having a positive workplace culture and high levels of employee engagement–they feed off each other. Culture is heavily influenced from the top through vision, mission, and core values that articulate what the company cares about and its expected behaviors. Culture is reinforced through policies, procedures and practices that dictate what gets done and how those things get done. All of this has a significant influence on the degree of employee engagement, which, in turn, strengthens the culture.

“The most important element that determines whether or not this workplace culture and employee engagement loop works is two-way communication. Not only does the organization have to be clear and transparent with employees, those employees must feel heard and appreciated.”

Don’t miss out on your chance to view 2021’s Canadian HR Awards – register here!

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