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Leading with empathy is non-negotiable. Reflections on the Work Remastered panel debate.

Last week, we hosted friends and colleagues from BT, M&S, HSBC, Bupa, Maje and more at our Work Remastered panel event.  

The event was moderated by editor of HR Magazine Jo Gallacher who was joined by Jennifer Thomas, Chloe Hayward, and Marcelle Foxcroft, all of whom are experts in culture, talent acquisition, change, and comms in their respective industries. United Culture’s Victoria Lewis-Stephens also joined the panel to share insight from our Work Remastered research and from her experience as a leader in the culture and engagement space.  

Jo expertly guided the conversation which focused on six key themes we identified from our research. Here’s some key take aways from the conversation.  

Leading with empathy is non-negotiable

Leaders must act with empathy and compassion for people to stick around. Today’s employees are increasingly uninterested in working for leaders who don’t put effort into tailoring the employee experience, and if they’re unhappy they’ll vote with their feet. Leaders are no longer just the people who are the most skilled in their field, they’re guardians of culture, role models of company values and inspirers of purpose.  

Line managers need investment now more than ever

People might have increasing demands of their line managers, but this doesn’t mean they’re automatically equipped for the job. It’s vital that organisations invest time and effort in the people they’re expecting to manage others. Many organisations are rolling out development programmes which upskill line managers in compassionate or emotion led leadership in addition to the functional basics of managing people. However, few are defining the role of the manager moving forward and assessing the time they have to spend on managing people effectively.  

Organisations need to set their ambitions beyond diversity, it’s about belonging

Having diversity and inclusion targets in place is no good if organisations aren’t taking action to deliver them. Organisations should be challenging themselves to strategise for diversity and equality in the same way they do for financial growth. Representation matters and it’s often having an impact far beyond what is immediately visible and tangible.  

Hybrid working needs work

Multi-location teams won’t just work. Proactive thought, effort and planning is required to maximise the efficacy of non-co-located teams. And the same applies when designing employee experiences. Proper consideration must be given to the practical realities of all audience segments and their different mindsets. The term ‘hybrid working’ means something different to everyone and organisations need to be clear about their principles from the outset to avoid disenfranchised employees and high attrition early in the employee lifecycle.  

The full Work Remastered report with our research findings is available to download now here.