The biggest buzzwords of the past year or so has been “virtual reality”, “augmented reality” and the most recent one being “metaverse”. I have been seeing numerous videos, articles and webinars by professionals about its potential. From Satya Nadella to my neighbour, everyone is talking about it.
Okay, let’s break this down:
What is this Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a digital space created by a user where they can socialize and interact with people who are similar to them. That’s what Google says. The term metaverse is derived from the Greek word ‘meta’ which means ‘beyond’ and ‘universe’. It describes any virtual world which is created by the users themselves. A few examples of the places available in the metaverse include Second Life and the Open Sim platform etc.
Still pretty complex. It’s actually a future already. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence are all going to play a major role in the way HR functions in the years ahead. A number of companies are already taking advantage of this technology and are using it for various purposes such as training simulations, virtual meeting rooms for remote team members, and employee productivity tools.
Okay now let’s move towards the main point of this blog. I’ll go over some ways that metaverse can impact HR.
Metaverse is a collaborative environment that allows people to work together. This means you can collaborate on projects with remote colleagues and co-workers, which increases productivity because you’re able to be more productive when working from anywhere.
You may have even noticed that the majority of your daily tasks are done on the fly—you don’t always have time for lunch or breakroom chats (or even coffee). But with metaverse technology in place, these types of interactions would be possible without interruptions or distractions.
Better Workforce Retention
Employees can work together in real time and across multiple locations, which means that they can stay connected to each other even when they’re not physically present in the office. This helps them collaborate more efficiently on projects and share ideas with others. It also gives employees greater flexibility in how they manage their time, allowing them to work remotely or on flexible schedules (if necessary).
The best part about being able to communicate this way? It makes you feel like your colleagues are part of your team rather than just people who happen to be available when needed—which makes those times when we lose touch even harder!
Provide collaborative environment
If you’re already a fan of the metaverse and understand it, you probably already know how it is to be able to take collaboration to a whole new level. It can revolutionize the way human resources works for e.g., the work of screening job candidates. By making employers get up close and personal with prospective employees, VR may finally level the playing field for people with disabilities. And by making it easier for companies to bring on a diversified workforce, it may lead to more creativity in the corporate world. Plus, it’s just plain fun!
Let’s be honest: embracing new technology can be hard to swallow for some die-hard luddites out there. But when it comes to things like VR, the metaverse and HR, it’s time to start thinking about the future. And with those points, I hope that I was able to give you some food for thought and a small idea on the metaverse and its possible future impact on HR which might one day in future take us from a flat zoom meeting to a 3D virtual office.
Mental health affects us all. It’s easy to assume that the issue only arises in those who are diagnosable. But mental health issues can affect anyone and can be triggered by anything. For some men, a trigger may be work-related. A stressful meeting with a colleague, a difficult encounter with your superior, or an unexpected change in your job role can leave you feeling stressed or depressed at work – as well as at home.
Traditionally, mental health used to be a topic that was not openly discussed, but today companies are taking small steps to address it for their employees more proactively than ever before. What can companies do to ensure good mental well-being for their employees, especially for men?
This blog post offers two ways in which HR can help.
Break the Stigma
Stigma is a barrier for men seeking help and being open about their mental health. Stigma can make them feel like they’re not normal. It can also prevent them from getting the help they need because they don’t want to be judged by others who might have preconceived notions about what it means to be “a man.” A stigma-free environment is important for both men and women.
HR can create awareness within the company by simply talking about it to break the stigma. The more it’s spoken of, the more it will be normalized. Organize learning sessions/ webinars by experts on topics such as stress management techniques. Encourage your male employees to schedule therapy sessions by integrating solutions like oDoc available on PeoplesHR Marketplace . It is an app that lets them consult specialists in minutes online.
Encourage your employees to talk about mental health during meetings and to provide feedback to HR or team leaders on ways in which they can improve collective mental health. This can result in a more inclusive company culture in which your team members are more comfortable discussing their mental health challenges and what has helped them overcome.
Mental Health & Physical Exercise Go Hand in Hand
As well as being an important factor in physical health, exercise is a great way to help with mental health for anyone. It boosts energy levels and makes employees feel more relaxed and positive about themselves. There are lots of ways to do exercise that can benefit your mental wellbeing: walking or running outside; playing sports like football or basketball with colleagues; going for a swim at the local leisure centre; taking up boxing classes – there are so many options out there!
It’s not always easy to find the motivation to exercise when you are not in the best of spirits but having the support of a workout buddy has been proven to provide an incentive to get involved. HR can partner up with health & fitness experts to provide employees with fitness programs that they can all participate in together. This sense of togetherness will not just make exercise a fun affair but will contribute to a positive change in mental health.
At PeoplesHR Marketplace, we have extended solutions made available, one of which is Workout.lk which is Sri Lanka’s most comprehensive health and fitness platform that aims to inspire people in their health journey, especially geared towards empowering corporate staff engaged in sedentary occupations.
If you’ve read this blog this far, chances are that you care deeply about the well-being of your employees. This is a daunting task, especially when many employees may be suffering in silence. But this journey starts with one person willing to talk about it. As we see more and more men like Prince Harry and Shawn Mendes encouraging society to talk about mental health issues without shame or fear, the day is not far away when we will be able to break this stigma. In the corporate world, of course, HR needs to recognize this if we want to adapt to modern and inclusive work culture. They will need to play an active role by bringing solutions or partners on board, increasing awareness, and reducing the stigma around these issues by making them part of our everyday conversations.
Set a goal for the day
- Set a goal for the day. Without a long-term goal, you will not be able to take action towards accomplishing it.
- What is a good goal? A good goal should be positive, achievable, and meaningful in your life. For example: “I want to write a blog today” or “I want to read 30 pages of my book today” or even something as simple as “I need some motivation right now!” The trick is that it needs to motivate yourself enough so that you can stick with it until completion!
Set a time limit to get things done
- Set a timer for a specific amount of time.
Set a realistic goal for the time period, and focus on getting things done quickly; don’t worry about being perfect or making every detail look good. The idea is to get started and see what happens—if it’s not working, adjust your strategy later.
Use the Pomodoro timer to help you focus on the task at hand. It will prevent you from wasting too much time scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, which can be extremely distracting when trying to finish something important on any given day!
Take regular breaks
- Breaks help you stay focused on the task at hand because they give your mind a moment to rest and recharge its batteries.
- Breaks also help increase productivity because they allow you to explore other areas of interest that may not be directly related to the task at hand but can still be helpful in solving problems or generating ideas.
- Use this time as an opportunity to get some fresh air or go for a walk outside (if weather permits)This will give your brain something different from what it’s been doing all day so far and provide some much-needed physical activity (which is good for everyone). If possible, try taking advantage of any free coffee shops or restaurants near where you work so that their ambiance can inspire new ideas!
Reward yourself when you accomplish something
As a human being, you should be rewarding yourself for accomplishing goals. We all love those little rewards after we reach a milestone. It’s what keeps us going and gives us the motivation to keep going.
The Pomodoro technique encourages you to reward yourself when you finish your tasks by doing something that’s important to you—but not necessarily urgent or necessary for example: taking a walk, making some tea. This way, instead of rewarding yourself with food or you can reward yourself with something that makes sense and is good for your mental health like reading or watching a movie.
Use a timer to keep track of your time.
A good Pomodoro timer should be simple and easy to use, and most importantly, it should not interfere with the actual task of working on your project. Also, you can alternatively use a Pomodoro app or even your phone timer.
Before starting each Pomodoro session, you should set the timer for 25 minutes—the length of one Pomodoro session. When this period is up, take a break for five minutes before starting another session. Sounds simple yeah? Setting the timer is easy but getting into the routine and committing to it is hard.
You can be more productive every day with regular, healthy habits.
Start the day with a goal and a time limit. Then break it down into smaller tasks and set a timer for each one. When you’re done with something, take a short break! After that, reward yourself for being so productive and keep going until your time runs out — then do something fun!
Well, if you can’t tell by now, the Pomodoro Technique is a great way to boost your productivity and keep yourself focused for longer periods of time. By breaking up your work sessions into 25-minute sprints with five-minute breaks in between, you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to stay focused on your tasks. This technique works especially well if you have a tendency to get distracted while focusing on one thing, because it allows you to take mini breaks when you start feeling antsy or tired. And if it doesn’t work out for you right away? Don’t worry! It takes some practice and some willpower before anyone becomes a Pomodoro pro.
It may be unheard of as a role, but those in HR do carry out tasks similar to that of an employee champion, despite the fact that it is not recognized as a separate role. The role of modern-day HR is very broad, whether it is as a change agent or a strategic business partner; having someone in HR as an employee champion is a thing in modern workplaces where employer branding is very important.
Let's now understand who an Employee Champion is and their role.
Employee champions can be assigned by HR to assess employee morale/motivation and level of satisfaction in the workplace. This person or team is in charge of it and drives these factors through relevant activities and by collecting information to further improve productivity and satisfaction levels. This makes the workplace more appealing to employees. The happier the employees are, the stronger the company’s culture and employer brand will be.
For example, if a department is falling behind in terms of productivity, the employee champion makes a point of approaching and speaking with the employees in that department. When the champion has identified the problem, he or she should report back to the management or the relevant team leader so that appropriate steps can be taken.
Can anyone in the workplace be an Employee Champion?
The beauty of this HR role is that sometimes it necessarily does not have to be someone from HR. Sometimes the team leader may take on this role unofficially. We call them natural employee champions. They do it unknowingly & don’t need to be assigned. They naturally work towards boosting team morale. An employee champion role example is a high-performing employee in a small team or department where they act as an informal leader who guides everyone or inspire the others to be productive as well. Anyone can take on this role.
You may now wonder why the company needs a separate individual for this role when we have team leaders who act as the employee champions. The simple answer is that not all team leaders will be this way. Not all leaders can take on the role of employee champions. In addition to that, there can be instances where the team members in a department may be reluctant to talk openly about factors influencing their work motivation. Having an unbiased person whose only focus is to be there for the employees helps during such circumstances.
Benefits of having an Employee Champion
If a business is overly committed to delivering and making its products or services top-notch or expanding, it risks losing sight of its employees. This may happen during a stressful business quarter as well. Employees are more likely to experience anxiety and feel burnt out during this time. If no one steps in at the right time to check on them, they might gradually lose confidence in the company. A team leader or someone may not always be able to dedicate time amidst situations as such to the team members. Having an employee champion can solve this problem by focusing on the internal issues faced by employees and giving them tips on how to stay sane during stressful times.
The editor-in-chief of EmexMag describes employee champions as catalysts. When policy shifts or any major changes are bought about in the workplace in an attempt to increase efficiency and productivity, they are often met with a grudging acceptance. It takes a while for most people to accept or absorb any change that takes place. An employee champion can help the other employees transition to or adopt the new policy faster.
Every workplace is different and the way they are structured will be distinct as well. It is unlikely that all leaders in the organisation will be able to take on the role of an employee champion and be able to effect the change necessary to improve organizational capabilities and possibly even analyse the potential of a workforce. Therefore, it is a good option to have an employee champion from HR who will be able to provide undivided attention to the employees.
With what the world has gone through in the past few years, work from home became the norm for a significant period. However, now people and businesses are moving into what is known as work from anywhere. Given how dynamic the world is now, it is not surprising to see more and more workplaces introducing HR policies allowing their employees to work from any part of the world.
This blog will take you through the WFA concept along with the advantages and disadvantages associated with it for HR.
What Is Work From Anywhere (WFA)?
The working from anywhere concept, more popularly known as the WFA, is an option provided by employers to allow employees to work from quite literally anywhere they like. All you need is a laptop and a solid internet connection to stay productive. You can imagine WFA to be the next-gen version of WFH.
The difference is that those who work from home now may be required to attend the office once in a while for a meeting, etc., whereas working from anywhere has no such obligations. With the pandemic, employees have become accustomed to working from home and are now ready to switch to working from anywhere.
Is Working From Anywhere Feasible?
There are many companies out there that allow their employees to work from anywhere to increase productivity and reduce overhead costs. But this may not be the right case for all. There are different factors that affect the way the work of these companies are done. For instance, one of the many factors would be the size of the company. A smaller company may not be able to handle the logistics like that of a larger company. Therefore, before implementing WFA, HR will have to consider these factors that affect their company and the issues that might arise as a result and make plans on how to tackle them.
Benefits of Work From Anywhere
Increased Productivity and Saving of Time
Absences and employee turnover have been reduced.
Lower Facility Costs
Instantly Diversified Workforce
Disadvantages of Work From Anywhere
The primary downside of WFA is that managing remote employees on a large scale may be challenging. You may find it difficult to keep everyone responsible and on line with their job as they won’t necessarily be in close proximity. Without the typical clock in and clock out mechanism in place, ensuring that work begins on time and concludes on time is not totally viable.
The organization’s productivity expectations are controlled on a local scale, which is the second drawback. Employees who work from home may feel less compelled to complete tasks or meet deadlines. If there is no framework to how work is done, this may quickly become an issue. The first downside is that when you don’t have the capacity to meet remote workers on a regular basis, managing them becomes a challenge. This could result in a waste of time and resources for your business, as well as missed opportunities.
The working from anywhere model is here to stay and it is up to companies to decide if they want to adopt it. Clearly the benefits listed above are more than the drawbacks explained. The companies that create their technological infrastructure to support this way of working will be well positioned to fully realize the model’s huge potential as explained above. With the right strategy, organizational procedures, technologies, and most importantly leadership transitioning to working from anywhere can become a reality.
Bullying. A term you might have come across often when you were in school. If you did not, then probably you were the bully. It’s wrong to assume that bullies are limited to your school that you left long ago. No, you’ll also find bullies at your workplace. It is quite unfortunate to see that some people have not been able to grow up.
The most obvious effect will be that it will lower the spirits of the employees. Maybe you were looking forward to working for a certain company, but now you won’t be able to enjoy your experience because of that one person in your office.
Bullying that takes place in the workplace is more serious than you’d actually imagine. This could be a toxic boss giving you an earful and singling out the blame on you for a mistake or a bunch of office clowns repeatedly targeting the same person for their pathetic pranks.
Here are some common examples of workplace bullying that takes place
- Make a sneering gesture at someone
- Ignore someone or their viewpoints
- Blaming someone repeatedly
- Isolating someone on a social level and treat them indifferent
- Making someone a target for their unnecessary jokes.
- Disseminating incorrect information about someone, basically spreading rumours
- Yelling at someone
- Telling someone they need to quit
- Embarrassing someone in front of their peers
How this Impacts Employee
The most obvious effect will be that it will lower the spirits of the employees. Maybe you were looking forward to working for a certain company, but now you won’t be able to enjoy your experience because of that one person in your office.
An unpleasant environment as such will affect employees mentally and, in most cases, also their work. According to research, people who are bullied experience stress, low self-esteem, poor physical and emotional health, and impaired cognitive functioning.
Some employees do not raise their voice in fear or for other reasons and are left unheard. This way some really good employees may leave the company with an overall negative perspective.
Ways in which HR can curb bullying
By establishing a clear code of behaviour
To be able to avoid workplace bullying, HR must set clear expectations on how employees need to behave with one another. This is one simple way. If a strong set of values are set for the company, these values will permeate through and influence how employees treat one another. Senior employees should also set example by strongly holding these values and by maintaining good, healthy and professional relations with their coworkers
By addressing the root of the problem
And if the above code is broken, HR must take care of it seriously and reach to the depth of it. It is important to understand why the bully is behaving as such in order to prevent bullying from taking place and to also help the bully face his/her own demons. It is explained by psychologists that the behavior of a bully is a reaction to their own levels of low self-esteem. They attack other people to feel better and outset their own struggles with life. Sometimes, talking to this people to open up about their vulnerabilities can help change their toxic behavior.
By acting fast
The most effective way to avoid bullying in the workplace is to address it when you see even a hint of it. Employees need to be encouraged to report if they see someone behaving inappropriately or any other first-hand signs of bullying. This should be enough evidence for them to address the situation immediately. If HR can stop this during its initial stage, they can resolve the issue from going out of control and save any potential victims.
Up Your Start-Up with HR
With the global pandemic, some people had a lot of free time, many were laid off or ran into financial difficulties over the past two years. This was a time when people were inspired to start what they had always wanted to do. Some started for passion while some purely out of financial necessity.
Either way, the pandemic generated a boom in start-ups. However not all of these survived. According to an infographic shared by Entrepreneur.com on start-up failures, half of them failed by the fifth year. This is a very significant proportion while considering the amount of money, time and energy people have invested into them.
Addressing the HR Stereotype
There is a wrong perception of HR amongst some start-ups. Some small tech companies do not believe in recruiters unless they can code. They see HR as a barrier to running their “fun” and “flexible” work environment. One of the many reasons as to why these start-ups fail is because of poor or no human resources management in place.
Here’s how HR will help your start-up?
Creating a great company culture
The presence of a human resources team will enable the cultivation of amazing start-up culture. Another common stereotype is that if a start-up has bean bags and pool tables, they have a “fun “work environment which is not the case at all. These are just physical elements that add to culture, HR is the one who brings in the real essence.
The first person a new recruit would interact with straightaway on his/her first day would be someone from HR not the ping-pong table. They are the ones who take the employee’s experience into consideration, communicate with them and keep in touch with them throughout. This is what builds culture in an organisation. As entrepreneurs you can choose to have any type of culture but ultimately it is fostered by HR and maintained by all within the company.
Managing administrative tasks
There is a lot of administrative work involved in businesses including start-ups. There is a lot of paperwork e.g., employee records, timesheets, legal documents. In a nutshell, you will be handling a lot of files and documents and these will need to be organised and updated regularly. Someone would definitely have to maintain this area and that definitely would not be the start-up’s CEO or software developer or marketing executive. Who do we call for help? THE HR. If there is anyone who can have the willpower to go over this multitude of paper it is HR and this process can be made easier, economical and more effective with the help of HRM software like Peoples HR Cloud. It would help you get rid of using all that paper for documentation and help your start-up become environmentally friendly as well.
Recruiting and retaining the top talent
Recruitment is a prolonged process and start-ups do not have huge hiring requirements but what is important is that they get the perfect person for the job from the start. The HR function would help you here as well. They have the expertise to find the best talent who is suitable to be fit for the position. Processes like screening, contacting candidates, setting interviews and all these related activities are looked at by them. As entrepreneurs you can rely on them and save a lot of precious time and money.
Once your start-up grows, you will have a set of experienced individuals working for you who know the ins and outs of your start-up. The next challenge you most likely will deal with is to retain these experienced employees who are like valuable assets to your business. Unlike big companies’ start-ups simply cannot afford to have frequent employee turnover and allocate more time on training new recruits and getting them accustomed. After a certain period, employees are motivated by meaningful aspects like future growth opportunities. Having a good HR team would help set necessary systems in place for employee growth, performance management, training and development etc. Employees will feel empowered and looked after which will encourage them to stay in the organisation thereby helping the organisation retain talent.
The work load within a new start-up can be a lot and entrepreneurs tend to be fully invested. At a point as such no entrepreneur would want to be troubled by representative of a government body and use their time into solving legal matters. They would most likely not have the experience to handle such situations as well. Compliance requirements may change from time to time. This is where HR comes and saves the day. They are the go-to folks for legal issues like state and labour laws.HR would educate you in these areas, ensure that work is carried out lawfully and that the company does not have to face any issues.
Start-ups do not need to have a huge HR department. A couple of dedicated HR professionals along with some good HR Tech would make this so much convenient. Using customisable DIY HR software like Peoples HR Turbo would be a good choice for start-ups.
Some start-ups still may choose not to have a HR function in house and may just outsource this completely and that’s still fine as long as you have HR somewhere. Solutions like HRO are suitable and an economic option for businesses who wish to outsource and meet their HR needs. The only downside being the lack of personnel within the organisation who would know the ins and outs of the function and the resulting lack of control. Therefore, do not give into stereotypes and get onboard the right mix of an HR Team along with the right HR Tech to run your businesses smoothly.
In some ways, today’s focus on the customer experience (CX) echoes the same sentiments of the saying “the customer is always right.” Everything revolves around providing potential and existing customers with a valuable experience from start to finish. It is so important that 58% of global businesses participating in a survey perceived it to be their main competitive differentiator.
Driving Customer-centered Culture Through HR Processes
Bridging Customer and Employee Engagement
HR also plays an important role in facilitating data and feedback systems between employees who deliver the customer experiences and the consumers themselves. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing and Science found that employee satisfaction had an impact on customer outcomes, leading to a higher likelihood of re-patronage and increased customer loyalty resulting in revenue increase. By understanding their strengths and areas for improvement in the context of how CX is evaluated, employees become engaged and are able to meet goals more effectively. Furthermore, employees that are highly satisfied in their roles form more positive relationships with customers. These employees are able to have better interactions with customers and are able to put more effort into understanding them. Verizon Connect highlights the importance of understanding your customers, and one way to do so is to treat them as your partners, similar to how you relate with your employees. They will feel more like valued individuals with needs rather than mere numbers that add up to profit.
As organizations move from traditional performance management methods to agile techniques, employees delivering customer experiences need to be more capable in order to boost company performance. This can only be done with regular feedback, communication, and constant coaching, especially in high-pressure and highly competitive environments. HR and People teams can work with management to boost enthusiasm and engagement with the right coaching methods to clarify objectives, continuously upskill talent, and provide a work environment based on end-to-end accountability. By doing so, employees will be more capable of providing customers with their changing needs, even with the pressure of fast-paced industries.
Written by Rae Jolene
Exclusively for peopleshr.com
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