The Future of Work In Four Words

This week we continue the Connex Executive Insights Series, produced in collaboration with Connex Partners, an invitation-only executive network that brings industry leaders together from the worlds of HR and Healthcare.

Connex Members are part of a cutting-edge community, finding actionable solutions to their most pressing business challenges via high-value peer exchanges and curated resources including tools, platforms, partners and c-suite networking opportunities.

Executive Insights Series features highly respected and engaging guests who share novel ideas and practices related to the latest leadership topics.

This week’s article is written by Rod Lacey, Chief People Operations Officer at SimPRO.  It is a companion piece to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Employees:  Empowered! that aired on August 30, 2022. 

Short clip from the interview:

Link to the entire interview:

“Character is not only doing the right thing when no one is looking, it’s doing the right thing when everyone is looking. It’s being willing to do the right thing even when it costs more than you want to pay.”– Michael Josephson

I’ve got five kids so you can only imagine how many lessons about doing the right thing fly around our family. Yes, I can see why you’d scream at your brother who has been taunting you for the last hour, but we shouldn’t scream at others. Screaming is not the right thing to do, walking away is. If I had a dollar for every time we’ve had this or a similar conversation… Sound familiar?

If you spend any time around young kids who are still learning how to operate within social constructs, you’ll hear things about what is and is not okay to do. Yet rare is the adult who goes around talking about doing the right thing. They may do it, but they don’t talk about it. Or they may not do the right thing and not talk about it. Just imagine someone walking into the office and saying, “I just cut someone off on the highway because I felt like it. That is NOT the right thing to do.”

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned over the past few years, it’s that change is inevitable. In the past year, I’ve met my colleagues barking dogs and screaming kids over zoom calls, and my team kept their PJ pants on while they gave presentations. We’ve adapted to virtual work, with plenty of humor and a bit of grace.

So maybe, just maybe, we’ll start talking a little bit more about what it means to do the right thing in the workplace.

 

How can we adapt to future work trends?

The changing work environment and relationship between employers and employees presents big challenges for both parties.

Employees still feel added pressure and worries far beyond their office desk. It comes home with them, grabbing an uninvited seat at the dinner table or the kid’s dance lessons as they navigate worries about how to keep themselves and their families healthy, happy and financially stable. It keeps them up at night.

Employers also face the challenge of meeting strategic goals with tighter resources, rising costs and growing inflation.

And while this change comes with challenges, it also presents an immense opportunity for growth and an opportunity to infuse our cultures with a do the right thing attitude.

To face these challenges and lead the future, we at simPRO choose to lean into our values. We turn to our greatest asset, our people, for new considerations on how they want remote work, pay, and their physical and mental health to shape the future of their employee experience and our long-term growth and success as a business.

From this, our new “Do the Right Thing” benefits program was born.

This package is built on our commitment to employee empowerment and values-based growth. Our values, “We Care” and “We Innovate,” drive our belief that our continued growth and future success as a business depends largely on our employees’ ability to thrive professionally and personally.

We believe that the future of work puts the employee at the forefront of strategic decisions by partnering with them to make decisions that affect the employee experience at simPRO.

For us, this means listening to our employees’ candid feedback and getting to know them and their challenges at an individual level. We do this through forums like Firesides, Town Hall meetings and a strong commitment to one-on-one meetings. Employees have the opportunity to submit questions ahead of time, but our leadership team also answers many questions on the spot, with no interest in meeting in secret rooms to deliberate how they’ll respond– even when the questions are tough. Our value, “We Own It”, guides these open discussions between employees and leadership, with transparency leading the way.

We also believe that we must continually strengthen the employee experience by validating, recognizing and uplifting our employees with benefits that support their total well-being– in the face of every triumph and every adversity.

As part of our “Do the Right Thing” program, our Executive team has chosen to take pay cuts so that we can provide an inflationary pay increase of up to 10% for every employee that earns less than $120,000 AUD ($80,000 USD) per year to help combat the impacts of inflation on our employees.

We also believe in the fundamental human right for a person to make decisions about their own health.  We established a $5,000 grant for any US employee who must travel more than 100 miles for any medical procedure, including abortion, for themselves or their immediate family.

These additions not only address the immediate needs of our team. They play a fundamental role in our long-term growth strategy as a business.

We believe that for the business to grow, culture has to grow. To do this, we step forward as one of the first international technology companies to model a human-centered approach to leadership. By pledging this level of support to our employees, we hope to create a paradigm shift in the way companies in every industry think about their employees and the future of work.

 

How do we create a culture of employee empowerment?

The future of work will be led by companies that take care of employees, treat employees well and value their employees. For starters, we treat people as adults.

Our Flex4 32-hour work week allows employees to build a flexible work environment that suits their personal needs without compromising our commitment to our customers or our productivity. Whether this means leaving work a bit early to pick up the kids from school, heading to a therapy appointment mid-day or enjoying a three-day weekend every week of the year, we’ve seen our team produce better work more efficiently when they have the time and work-life balance fewer working hours each week provides.

We encourage employees to constantly look for opportunities to be the best version of themselves, both at work and personally.

If this includes starting a family, we support them with 24 weeks of 100% paid leave for the primary caregiver and eight weeks of paid parental leave for the secondary caregiver as part of our industry-leading parental leave policy.

We’ve had the opportunity to employ incredible people, with a large proportion of our staff employed with us for many years. Many individuals on our team have developed and excelled in their chosen field over the years and step into new roles within the company that push them to grow personally and professionally. This leads to high levels of accountability and pride in the work we do, and also helps with retention. We are able to show employees that we are committed to them and their wellbeing beyond just their role at simPRO. In turn, our employees feel more committed to do great work for us.

It is through this, and with the support of “Do the Right Thing” that our employees can be the most productive, authentic, and healthy version of themselves when they come to work. And when our employees are the best version of themselves, our business thrives.

This is where the name of our program comes from. The underlying philosophy for everything we do is simple: it’s simply the right thing to do.

We hope that you will join us on our journey to lead the future of work, and continue building a world where every field service business is free to build, repair and power their company’s future.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

As simPRO’s Chief People Operations Officer, Rod Lacey leads all aspects of simPRO’s global human resources, aligning the people strategy with the company’s aggressive business and customer goals. Rod has nearly three decades of HR experience, having led and transformed the human resource experience with highly successful companies in the technology and online ordering industries.

 

RESOURCES:

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Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future via iTunesTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Also, stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute on LinkedIn.

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