If we were to identify an area most deeply affected by COVID-19, a clear consensus among experts is the HR field. People’s private lives have been hit hard, and recovering from it will be a very long process. Below are excerpts from a discussion with Miklós Palencsár, the founder-owner of the RISE Human Development System – Mentors & Partners Group, and winner of the “Business Coaching Leader of the Year – Europe 2021”.
The Olympics and crisis management
It is indisputable that happiness as a motivational category has come to the fore since the emergence and intermittent resurgence of COVID-19. In many cases, we have direct experience of how transient life is, which has triggered significant developments in most people’s lives. We can also see this in the home office phenomenon. Some employees categorically state that they are certainly unwilling to go back to 100% office work, preferring to give up their job. The HR profession is not prepared for this situation. There are no studies, no proven recipes, so most everything is guesswork, and some are louder in this situation while others are quieter.
2020, I think, was also a watershed for organisational development. Although I mention it as organisational development, we are actually talking about the development and management of individuals and teams. This is an area in which we are extremely well-versed. We’ve been developing club and national teams in the sport for 16 years, and this year, with the Olympics, has given us new insights that have never been mentioned in any book. After the successes in Tokyo, many people at business meetings asked me how I would summarise the effects of the pandemic on the HR profession. I thought without answering: I believe that sports and business have become closer than ever to each other in HR terms. In sports, the development of the individual and the team is about the decisions made in a crisis, about the techniques and strategies that can be applied in a crisis, since an Olympic final is the crisis. In each case, we base development on the “original personality” of the individuals and the team. In business, people could only establish the “present personality” of managers and employees, because they were rarely in crisis. Well, that has changed for the years to come. This is not to say that everyone will be stressed for years; the crisis will not have such a psychological effect. Decisions about quality of life have indeed become important, and in this respect, decisions about the workplace will be a kind of “crisis decision”, as workers want to get the most out of it. I have serious, concrete experience of how people think before an Olympic final or in a leadership position before a change. I can say with confidence that there are many similarities between the two.
The worker also deserves happiness
In addition, we know for sure that employees can “refine in-house surveys according to their goals; they can become strong communication channels between the employee and the employer.
Even if everyone strives for honesty, we, of course, need to be aware that not all employees tell the truth. Certain personality types tend to take advantage of these forums; they want to influence and manipulate the results so that things can work out the way they want. If these are not filtered out clearly – and it is difficult to say the least without personality analysis – we will not get reliable results in the end. As you can see, it was only in this short conversation that we pointed out several points that could completely mislead a well-intentioned corporate satisfaction survey, and we have only scratched the surface.
But what to do if we still want to know the real situation within our company? What can an HR professional do who really takes their profession seriously and wants to see individuals and teams more satisfied within the organisation for which they are also responsible?
We have already completed hundreds of successful organisational developments at the company. Every year, we measure our partners’ annual employee turnover rates, which clearly shows how satisfied the employees in the given organisation are. We worked in 19 different economic sectors in 2019, 21 sectors in 2020, and the average fluctuation rates were 2.4% and 2.6%, respectively. In no case did we use a satisfaction survey. I clearly see that the keys to success are personality analyses that yield deep, black-and-white results at both the individual and team levels. The results obtained there are first presented to the highest decision-making levels and then relayed, when appropriate, to employees. I believe in honesty and can’t accept the “pretend” theory. So much has changed since COVID-19 that honesty on the part of an HR and employer is no longer an option, but a duty to the organisation’s employees. Recent experience showed me how it was possible to win an Olympic medal with a national team that failed in the bronze medal match in three consecutive Olympics. The secret to success in this case, too, was complete and utter honesty. Which, of course, often didn’t go well for everyone and can be downright painful several times, but in the end, it has its results. Let’s not think that happy lives for employees don’t overlap with Olympic medals!”