How 12 HR Leaders are Reshaping Policies to Improve the Lives of Workers Everywhere - #CauseTheEffect


As a leader in HR, what is one way you are reshaping policies that will not only improve the lives of your workers but hopefully the lives of workers everywhere? - #CauseTheEffect

To help you improve the lives of workers, we asked people managers and HR executives this question for their best insights. From including staff in determining benefits to embracing change, there are several insights that may help you reshape policies and improve the lives of your employees everywhere.  

Here are 12 tips for reshaping policies to improve the lives of workers:

  • Include Staff in Determining Benefits 
  • Focus on Speaking Up
  • Remain Flexible
  • Put Employees First
  • Improve HR-Functions Through AI-Enabled Policies 
  • Be Resilient in Your Leadership
  • Help Coworkers in Need by Donating Benefits
  • Support Employees and Their Whole Self
  • Empower Culture Through Employee-Driven Purpose
  • Have Grace, Show Kindness
  • Maintain Human-Centric Operations
  • Embrace Change

Include Staff in Determining Benefits 

One way our company is revolutionizing organizational policy is by involving our workforce in the discussion about designing the benefits package. Over the past year we solicited feedback from the team in regards to work perks and policies. This research culminated in a survey that asked employees to share thoughts on the current compensation package, express priorities, and brainstorm ideas for possible incentives. We announced the new benefits package in an all-hands meeting the month after the survey, and gave the team timelines for perks still in trial or consideration. The response from staff has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Our team members feel valued and heard and feel a sense of influence over company policies. This approach has strengthened and solidified the relationship between employees and senior management and has boosted employee retention and referrals.

Tasia Duske, Museum Hack

Focus on Speaking Up

My team and I are on a mission to change the way all employers prevent harassment, bullying, and bias in the workplace. Instead of relying on policies that say "Don't do this or else," complement those policies by teaching employees what they *can and should* do: that is, bystander intervention. These simple tactics not only stop concerning behavior in its tracks, but also prevent future incidents and create positive workplace cultures. 

From a simple question like, "Do you want to get some coffee?" to get a person being harassed out of a bad situation, to redirecting a conversation that is becoming hostile or tinged with bias, these techniques really work. They have a powerful ripple effect too: when a person sees their colleagues speaking up, they gain the confidence to do it too, then and in the future. What an incredible impact we'll have on workplaces everywhere when harassment, bullying, bias, and disrespect are met by onlookers with, "Hey, wait a minute..." rather than silence.

Elizabeth Bille, EVERFI

Remain Flexible

HR professionals today can no longer be rigid with policies. Employees are seeking companies that are flexible in a variety of ways. Creating a Workplace Flexibility policy is a new policy that fits and adapts to what employees are looking for in today's market.  This policy considers remote work to be a viable and flexible work option when both the employee, the position and schedules are suited for such an arrangement. 

These arrangements allow employees some flexibility with their work schedule and allow the company to meet its operational and business needs while providing a progressive and productive work environment. With this type of policy in place, companies will be able to cast a wider net to finding qualified, top talent for their organizations.

Angela Fischer, CentroMotion

Put Employees First

It is important for companies to reshape policies that consider the needs of their employees. We are currently in an employees market and a shifting of traditional employment. The gig economy is emerging and companies, specifically their People & Culture departments must be proactive. 

Deidra Smith, Tradewater

Improve HR Functions Through AI-Enabled Policies

As an HR leader, I am dedicated to developing and redesigning policies that leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help solve workers' critical challenges and effectively manage their work and company expectations. This includes implementing mental health programs (through developing responsive policies relating to remote working needs) and strategically analyzing the workforce culture to bring out the best in employees, both locally and globally.

AI enables me to gather and analyze data to make practical real-time decisions and provide the best employee experience in talent acquisition and retention, performance management, and wellness. As the workforce continues to change, these policies encourage workers to perform well, resulting in job satisfaction for both workers and their families. AI-enabled policies will also improve HR functions, resulting in faster delivery of the tools needed by organizations to compete in the digital age.

Rejoyce Owusu, AceUp

Be Resilient in Your Leadership 

I have always believed that “with change comes opportunity.” In my organization, Training Perfected, we are attempting to find unique and innovative ways to leverage the resilience that we have all developed as the result of living through the pandemic. We believe that employees perform better when they are afforded the opportunity to face adversity and problems in the workplace head-on, rather than being protected from them by leadership. 

We understand that, although workplace resilience in general is still relatively low, opportunities for improvement exist because employees and managers are proving to be more resilient and open to overcoming barriers than ever. We encourage our folks to take a transparent look into the challenges they are facing, help them solve those problems, and ultimately cultivate resilience as a valuable and often overlooked leadership strategy.

Tom Topping, Training Perfected

Help Coworkers in Need by Donating Benefits

We created a new policy that allows an employee to donate certain benefits to other employees. For example, one of our benefits is a house cleaning benefit where the employee can have someone come in to clean their house for two hours and be reimbursed for the charge up to $100. We had an employee recently go through chemo for cancer, so during the holidays we created a new option to allow employees to donate their cleaning benefit to another coworker in need.

Steven Smith, ApplicantPro

Support Employees and Their Whole Self

Our HR team and organization are committed to using flexibility within a framework. This helps our leaders think through how to best lead their teams and recognize the nuances and needs that exist for employees, even when they may not all be in the same place at the same time. We have adapted trainings to include online offerings for most roles within our company. We provide training and resources to support effective leadership as we navigate the changing landscapes. We find that this is done through practical knowledge and working with our teams, person by person. 

We want employees to be purposeful in creating belonging so that no matter where someone is working (in the office, at home, or hybrid), they know they are a valued member of the team. We focus on our people and leading with our values; Service, Teamwork, Tenacity, Agility, and Genuine, to create a collaborative and innovative environment. We work to adapt so that we can better support our employees as their whole self.

Heidi Freeland-Trail, CSC Global

Empower Culture Through Employee-Driven Purpose

Our team has begun a shift to utilizing the unique strengths of the workforce to help gain clarity in the purpose of not only their work, but how it relates to the mission of our organization. Doing so has allowed for a paradigm shift in the way we lead our people, by empowering our people to gain clarity for why they're here and what to do about it. Then utilizing our unique culture to develop an environment that creates organic conversations that support our people, our customers, and our community. We've seen as a result of this approach that our workforce retention and attraction has been at its strongest through all of the disruption globally.

Kevin Dawson, Leaders & Lagers

Have Grace, Show Kindness

One thing the past few years has shown us is some things are completely out of our control. Flexibility, grace, kindness, and showing empathy are simple gestures that can increase morale, production, and profitability. Employees are juggling families, work, community, unforeseen life changes, and at times, chaos we cannot imagine. It is vital as HR leaders to work to cultivate healthy work cultures that people want to be a part of an invested in. If employees have to be at their jobs 40+ hours a week, it is important to create a space they want to be in that not only helps them thrive, but positively impact their home life, company, and community as well.

Stacy Roberts, SMR Leadership Solutions

Maintain Human-Centric Operations

If we've learned anything over the last few years, it's that we need to remember that employees - including ourselves - are people. We can't expect everything to be tidy, simple, and binary; things will be messy and that's okay. When I write or rewrite policies, that is something I need to remind myself about. I start out with the goal in mind and build around that, but that tends to be overly prescriptive and robotic. Leaving space for wiggle room is important. My advice for other People Operations practitioners is to build frameworks with guide rails, not if/then statements, leaving space for humanity.

Trav Walkowski, Activeloop

Embrace Change 

One way I am reshaping policy is to courageously identify blindspots, investigate root causes, and implement strategies to cultivate ecosystems that are inclusive. Furthermore, I create psychologically safe spaces where intersectionality is acknowledged and appreciated as a gateway to innovation. 

As we navigate this season of change it is imperative to help workers embrace "The SHIFT" as a natural progression to LEARN, EXPERIENCE, APPLY, and DEVELOP - LEAD. Change is inevitable, Growth is optional, and "The SHIFT" is essential. If change is the great constant, Which it is! There is nothing more consistent than The SHIFT that causes all change to take place. #CauseTheEffect

Deena Brown, The Leadhershift Movement

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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