Psychological safety can play a key role in accelerating employees, and thus, organisational performance. It is time to put productivity and well-being on the same pedestal.
The COVID-19 pandemic completely altered the way we look at work, the workplace, and the workforce. What seemed natural and inevitable at one point no longer exists today. In the past 18 months, we experienced a new normal, and it is evident there is no going back to the old ways of working now.
While the pandemic forced companies to focus on the well-being of employees, one thing that became very important was the aspect of how we measure productivity in the hybrid work environment with increased remote and virtual work and teams.
Processes that were used by organisations and managers earlier are no longer efficient and relevant. Flexibility is now an employee priority. Organisations that can offer a flexible and empathetic work environment along with a strong focus on well-being are coming out as clear winners.
According to the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey in India, 85% of employee respondents believe their productivity can be accurately measured regardless of location. The COVID pandemic has shown that flexibility can work for both employees and employers, and flexible working is the new currency for attracting and retaining top talent.
So, what does productivity stand for in this new world of work? How do organisations put together a process to measure it?
The arrival of the knowledge and gig economy, underpinned by the technological revolution and now the COVID-induced remote working environment, raised questions about the definition of productivity and how employees should be assessed for their work. Productivity is not equated with long working hours anymore; it is more about smartly managing work to deliver the expected outcomes. Managing one’s time and working in a flexible environment that supports well-being is what matters to the workforce today.
Amidst these changes in the way work is perceived and what employees expect, organisations have to let go of many of their archaic practices and find newer processes and tools to measure productivity. Whether it means reevaluating the entire goal-setting process or revisiting the way performance conversations are conducted, it is time to create a new ecosystem to measure productivity.
Another key focus area for organisational leaders today is building psychological capital at work. Organisational psychologists are increasingly looking at what makes some individuals thrive and perform highly at work. Developed against a backdrop of positive psychology, psychological capital refers to a set of resources individuals can use to help improve their success.
It has four constructs — hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism — which spell the acronym HERO. As a result, it is said to represent the “hero” within individuals.
Psychological capital is critical to performance development and management. When productivity and wellbeing become equally critical to organisations, psychological capital can play the role of a catalyst in creating an equilibrium between the two to bring out the best in people.
There are business goals that every organisation has to meet, and every employee plays a unique role in achieving those. For leaders and managers, the focus now needs to be on the following:
- Increased interaction and feedback conversations.
- Shifting the scope to become more outcome-focused.
- Focusing on the creation of psychological capital.
- Reevaluating skills per the changing work environment and business priorities.
- Personalising the experience and aligning career development with clearly described shared goals that map back to career progression.
Finally, in the wake of how the pandemic has transformed workplaces, organisations must realise productivity is directly linked with flexibility and well-being. Performance expectations must be set by taking into account these factors, which are agreed upon by both managers and employees through frequent, open conversations.
Remember, an engaged employee is always a productive employee!