Encouragement at the workplace is the most underrated concept. Is it necessary? Yes, of course.
Is it provided? No, not really. Leaders today also need to be CEOs, that is, chief encouragement officers. They should be able to inspire their people to make the cut, day in and day out.
It took a pandemic to make managers understand that monetary benefits alone are not encouragement enough, to motivate people every day. The significance of mental well-being actually caught everybody’s attention during and post COVID-19.
Given the increasing workload and the surging rate of burnout, the time is just right for organisations to look at innovative ways of engaging employees at the workplace and encouraging them to outperform themselves. One way to do so is by appointing a chief encouragement officer.
“It’s essential to make the people understand that there’s a need to get motivated, and that it’s important to create happiness within the organisation”
Dharm Rakshit, head – HR, Hero MotoCorp
What is the role of a chief encouragement officer?
Leaders can only manage their teams effectively. Managers, on the other hand, have the power to turn into leaders by inspiring their teams with not only with their words, but with their actions as well. They can connect with the people in a more meaningful way that allows them to expand their influence and achieve collective goals. A chief encouragement officer, however, can actually take care of all this more effectively by focussing entirely on the following:
Inspiring and motivating: With the right encouragement, leaders can allow their people to experiment and make room for setback. They can not only inspire them by acknowledging their strengths, but also motivate them by congratulating them, both at individual and team levels, for their achievements.
Boosting morale: Chief encouragement officers have the power to boost the morale of their people. This leads to improvement in their performance and assures talent commitment. “At BCCL, we invest in the wellbeing and constant encouragement of our employees. This, in turn, creates a positive flow of energy for our brand as well as our talent,” says Amit Das, director – HR & CHRO, Bennett Coleman and Co.(Times of India Group).
Creating impact: Encouragement is essential in every job. Wherever there’s a gap, it must be filled and that is where the need for having a CEO at the workplace arises. These encouragement officers have the power to create an impact and build a strong organisational ecosystem, where people put in their best efforts.
“At BCCL, we invest in the wellbeing and constant encouragement of our employees. This, in turn, creates a positive flow of energy for our brand as well as our talent”
Amit Das, director – HR & CHRO, Bennett Coleman and Co.(Times of India Group)
Why a dedicated encouragement officer?
True leadership is not reflected in the work done by the leaders themselves, but in how their efforts help others improve.
It is the HR that drives everything in the organisation. The department is burdened with so many responsibilities, from searching for the right talent to actually onboarding them and assigning them the right designations. In managing the cooperation between the managers and employees, and building the right ecosystem, ‘encouragement’ may take a back seat or even get lost somewhere. Hence, it’s always great to have a dedicated person taking care of it.
“In taking care of so many things, the concept of timely appreciation and encouragement becomes unreachable for HR,” says Ravi Mishra, Sr. VP-HR, advance materials business, Aditya Birla Group.
Often, this leads to star employees feel left out when they’ve performed exceptionally well during a complex project. Similarly, new employees may not be encouraged to do better next time if they aren’t appreciated for their work.
While chief encouragement officers can be allowed their freedom, their role should be led by the HR. There should be a common ground for the CEOs and the HR to meet, as they both have the same goal — employee wellbeing.
How can CEOs play their role effectively?
People will not accept anything that they don’t need. So, the first step is to explain its need and then determine how much to invest in it.
“In taking care of so many things, the concept of timely appreciation and encouragement becomes unreachable for HR”
Ravi Mishra, Sr. VP-HR, advance materials business, Aditya Birla Group
Driving home the need for encouragement
Since people are used to dealing with professional workloads, and already have a fairly good idea of how an organisation works, it’s important to create the need for the concept of ‘encouragement’ first.
To introduce any change within an organisation, it’s necessary for the people within the organisation to first feel the need to embrace such a change. “It’s essential to make the people understand that there’s a need to get motivated, and that it’s important to create happiness within the organisation,” asserts Dharm Rakshit, head – HR, Hero MotoCorp.
How much to invest in encouragement?
Organisations have to be clear about how much time and energy they are willing to invest in encouragement. Once that is clear, they can get into a detailed analysis of employees’ preferences, and the things that make them happy or ensure that they stay in a good state of mind.
They can then implement various things according to the employees’ needs. “It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the action plan and the level of knowledge pertaining to the concept. Since everything has a budget in a company, it’s important to discuss all the aspects and details thoroughly in order to effectively introduce anything new,” points out Mishra
Happiness is infectious. That is why, the happiness of each individual in the organisation matters. Encouragement is closely linked to this happiness. If encouragement, in any form, can make employees feel good and put their best foot forward, leaders should provide, and that too at the right time.