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  • Writer's pictureNora Griffiths

4 Essentials for Engaging Your People

How to honour your people and trust the process as you navigate the future as a thriving business

Three people sitting at a desk on their computer. The focus is on a women wearing a blue suit jacket.
Photo by Jopwell

We recently shared our key takeaways from Collision - the fastest growing global tech conference. One of the conference’s hottest topics surrounded the future of work, which ties perfectly into the fourth and final P of Sidekick’s Entrepreneurial Design Framework.

Guest speakers and panelists discussed everything from hybrid work environments, to the importance of DEIB and employee wellbeing in the workplace, to emerging technologies that will facilitate location adaptability. One consistent theme across these conversations is that although there are some great organizations leading the charge, we won’t truly know what the future of work will look like until we’re there. That said, one thing is for certain: it’s imperative to not lose sight of the key fundamentals of engaging your people to develop a thriving work environment.

People is what brings the other Ps together, and is the clinch-pin for Sidekick’s Entrepreneurial Design Framework. If you do not focus on your people and consider your people in everything you do, quite simply your business will not thrive. Full stop.

Here are 5 tips, as inspired by speakers and panelists at Collision, for engaging your people while you navigate the future as a thriving business.

1. Stay Focused on your North Star

Like any worthy expedition that requires navigating unchartered waters, it’s imperative that during times of change, evolution, or uncertainty that you remain steadfast on what you know to be true – your North Star. For thriving organizations, a North Star takes shape as a mission, vision, or purpose. It’s critical to ensure the North Star is understood by all and lived everyday through core values, ways of working, moments that matter and decisions made. In one panel discussions two entrepreneurs were reflecting on how it became apparent their North Star was too complicated, and therefore underwent planning as a team to revise it in such a way that all employees would clearly understand not only their purpose, but how their individual roles contributed. On your journey to the future, be sure to have a clear purpose that is simple, and that every employee can connect with. Remember: less is more.

2. Right People, Right Seats

Not only is it important to keep your North Star in sight, but it’s equally important to make sure you have the right people in the right seats to get you there. You likely have heard right people, right seats when it comes to recruitment, however we strongly believe that for any thriving organization it’s also imperative for retention, future state planning and the overall health of your business. We’re not the only ones that feel this way. It's core to Gino Wickman's’ Entrepreneurial Operating System and is a pivotal component to running your business. No matter what the future holds, do you have the right people on board to get you there, do they align with the company’s North Star and values, and are they serving in the right roles that unlock their skills and passions? Answering these questions can create new opportunities to retain and develop existing team members or bring on new folks that energize the organization. These questions can also prompt difficult and uncomfortable discussions that result in the realization that some people are no longer aligned with the company’s values and are not positively contributing to achieving the organization’s North Star. Ultimately, what does the organization need from its people to thrive? And what do people need from the organization to thrive?

3. Foster Employee Wellbeing

Now that you have a North Star in sight that is understood by all and the right people in the right seats, employee wellbeing is about creating an environment that allows your employees to be their best, bring their best and do their best. Do you have an inclusive culture where all people feel they belong? Do you have a culture of continuous feedback where people leaders have clear accountabilities to coaching, development and mentorship? What is your employee value proposition? Do you go beyond the compensation package?

Across panel discussions and speakers at Collision, it was commonly shared that the role work plays in an individual's life is changing. Wesley Chan, Co-founder & Managing Partner at FPV Ventures highlighted that “people have had the past two years to really think about they want to do with their lives and how work fits into it. Not the other way around”. So, what does this mean exactly? What employees expect of their work is evolving and the companies that thrive have come to embrace this. Sidekick recently collaborated with Humanity on the Wellbeing at Work Report (leveraging Humanity’s Wellbeing Framework) to explore this topic exactly. Check out our recent article that shares 5 ways organizations can embrace employee wellbeing as they navigate the future.

4. Demonstrate Trust and Transparency

The final component is the big L word: Leadership. It’s the fourth essential item that is imperative for organizations to reflect upon when building thriving organizations. Now is the time to lead with transparency, honesty, and openness – qualities of the highly researched and practiced Authentic Leadership.

A study in the Leadership & Organization Development Journal reveals “that an employee’s perception of authentic leadership serves as the strongest predictor of job satisfaction and can have a positive impact on work-related attitudes and happiness”. A Harvard Business Review study highlights that when leaders lead with transparency and authenticity, it leads to better relationships with colleagues, efficient problem solving, higher levels of trust, and ultimately greater productivity. And Forbes turned authentic leadership during uncertainty into an insightful equation:

Efficient problem solving + the ability to build teams easier + the development of authentic relationships + trust = higher levels of performance.

So, ask yourself: Do you have a clear North Star understood by all? Do you have the right people in the right seats to get you to that North Star? Are you fostering an environment that allows your people to be their best and do their best? Do you have the right leaders guiding you to the North Star?

That's a wrap!

This brings us to the conclusion of our 4P series. In business as in life, you’re often faced with the joys of the highs and the challenges of the lows. Wherever you find yourself in your journey to developing a thriving business, take stock in each of your 4Ps. No matter the size of your organization, the key is to maintain balance among purpose, profit, passion, and people, and as one P flexes, ensure your other Ps flex with it.

Check out our blogs on the other 4 Ps:

leaders, entrepreneurs, profit, money, people, employees, hot topics, trending, workplace , great resignation, great reshuffle, newsworthy

(Photo description: Three people sitting at a desk on their computer. The focus is on a women wearing a blue suit jacket.)


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