From June 8–10, HR leaders from across Corporate America gathered at the InnerCircle conference to discuss key strategies for maximizing potential at their companies. Nickle LaMoreaux, Chief Human Resources Officer of IBM, discussed the company’s ongoing reinvention of their culture to develop, retain and recruit talent today with Alison Mass, Chairman of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs
As enterprises navigate periods of change, culture becomes more important than ever. It’s the glue that bonds individuals and teams, energizes work, fuels innovation and reinforces accountability to outcomes.
- To more effectively retain quality employees, companies should proactively reinvest in and “re-recruit” them. While attractive compensation and benefits are incentives, management should also focus heavily on workplace culture. Employees want empathic managers, transparency, workplace flexibility, training to enhance their skills, clearly communicated opportunities for advancement, and for their voices to be heard.
- Company leaders can express their empathy and learn what matters to employees by holding meetings with workers regularly, and enabling them to submit questions to management through transparent internal communication channels. Management should respond with straightforward answers. Employers should be sensitive to employees’ needs and express empathy around healthcare, social injustices and other issues important to workers.
- There should be more conversation around remote work, not simply about the number of days permissioned, but also about when team members should work together in person. It may be productive for team members to work side by side during certain hours on particular days.
- When interviewing job applicants, clearly communicate your culture, what they can expect and skills they may acquire as well as other benefits rather than focusing on just compensation.
- When evaluating whether to adopt new or popular workplace practices that are being implemented by other companies, carefully consider whether changes would work best in your business model and reflect your culture and values. Then, directly explain to employees what changes you plan to make and why.
“What companies really need to get right for them is how are you dealing with employee voice, and how are you dealing with transparency…Don’t fight employee voice and transparency. It will serve you well.”
At IBM, management’s emphasis on empathy, ensuring employees’ voices are heard, and intentionality is helping enable individuals and teams to maximize their potential in a collaborative work environment, as well as the potential of IBM in a changing workplace.