I started my day at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference with a double espresso macchiato and anticipation of having provocative and deep conversations about how organisations and companies are dealing with the current, extremely fluid marketplace.
Attending the conference as a BetterUp Senior Science Board Advisor was a great opportunity. Gartner is especially skilled in bringing together a diverse audience that levels up thought leadership on the topics I’ve spent my career exploring — leadership development, business management, digital platforms and the overall HR landscape.
Throughout the day, I met with many leaders from organisations that are making significant shifts. An insurance company based in South Africa is becoming a Fintech competitor. A UK conglomerate is redefining the boundaries of its traditional manufacturing industry. And a fast-moving retail company in Western Europe is reframing the way it interacts with clients.
Technology alone will not do the trick of making these companies successful. What struck me most was the recurring theme of employees and the extended workforce ecosystem at the centre of the success or failure of organisational reinventions, transformation, and future investment bets.
With people as the linchpin, I also noticed HR executives taking a more pivotal role in the core initiatives driven by CIOs and CTOs. Businesses need their employees and leadership to adopt the right cultural mindsets, new levels of collaboration and trust, and even deep empathy to leapfrog into the future.
The sessions highlighted the conference themes of cultivating connection in the workplace, attracting, engaging, and retaining diverse talent, and combining analytics with human judgment.
I found the discussion of the reinvention of the CHRO role, led by former CHRO of Coca-Cola Ceree Eberly, very well structured and impactful. I had four key takeaways that CHROs must do to achieve success.
4 key take-aways on the reinvention of the CHRO role
- CHROs need to become master orchestrators of platforms and technology
- CHROs need to double down on user-centricity
- CHROs need to use employee experience as a north star of their success
- CHROs are the stewards and guardians of the organisational culture
Angela Lindberg, Ph.D., also led an insightful presentation on BetterUp’s latest research focused on the European Connection Crisis. I learned that more than half of European employees don’t feel a sense of belonging at work, and 27% of people don’t have even one friend at work. Lacking a culture of connection prevents companies from attracting and retaining top talent. 62% of Europeans said social connection is part of their job search criteria, and people low in belonging reported a 74% stronger intention to quit.
Here’s what leaders can do to create a culture of connection and reap the benefits.
- Create opportunities for people to meet and know each other. Casual connections like coffee chats (live or virtual) can go a long way.
- Offset the number of hours of work interaction with personal connection.
- Teach people the skills to navigate connection in a new era of work by helping managers become connection champions for their teams.
As companies continue reinventing and driving forward innovative business models, CHROs are taking on a new role in an ever-changing environment. Leaders need to leverage insights from technology to shape the employee experience and help people develop the mindsets and behaviours to adopt new ways of working. Creating a culture of connection is a proven way to attract, engage, and retain talent while improving the employee experience and positively impacting organisational success.