How to recruit, manage & retain talent with a sense of purpose

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Imagine a workplace where you could express your talents and feel deeply connected with the organisation’s purpose. How would that feel?

You would sign up for it, for sure!

As an ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC), I often work with HR managers and CEOs who express a difficultly in retaining talent inside the company. Usually, at this point, we can feel that a shift must be made: A talent doesn’t have to be motivated or retained. If so, it means that the organisation paradigm may be wrong.

So, before we work together, usually they tend to believe that incentives and benefits are key assets to attract talents. After engaging in coaching, they realise that there are much more options to recruit and develop talent within the company.

Through this article, I am inviting you to hack the code of Human Resources fulfilment. So, get into the rocket and fasten your seat belt.

State of flow

Before we go further, please consider those activities that you enjoy, either personally or professionally, and would even do for no pay. Then, ask yourself, why do they offer you so much happiness and fulfilment?

One of the founders of positive psychology, Mihály Csíkszentmihály, idefines the ‘state of flow’, as moments when you are totally absorbed in a doable task.

In this state, you can feel that you are stretched to your limits working voluntarily on something difficult, worthwhile and meaningful.

There are 8 characteristics of the flow estate:

1. Goals are clear

2. Feedback is direct and instant

3. There is a balance between difficulty and skills

4. There is control over the task

5. Focus and concentration is deep

6. One may lose track of time

7. One transcends to a state of losing self-awareness

8. There is effortlessness and ease.

Usually, you can feel it casually but in fact, corporations can easily create such auspicious environments that facilitate the state of flow.

Let’s look deeper into the causes of such fulfilments:

Key of fulfilment

Congruency (or alignment) is the constant adequation between values, words and actions. It allows you to receive emotional gratification and develop virtues and talents (soft-skills, inner qualities, strength of character…). You could say that congruency is the skeleton key for a tailored happiness. When you go towards the opposite of your values and needs, you will feel emotions such as anger, sadness or fear. You may also feel cognitive dissonance, that is, an inner tension when your thoughts and actions are not consonant.

I have had the opportunity to coach managers and employees who had burnt out. I could observe that the common denominator was that all of them were pushing themselves too hard and following the opposite of their core values. Basically, at some point, they felt a contradiction between their own values and the corporation’s.

They stayed there because of systemic loyalties, inner contradictions or personal constraints.

Working for a company can be perceived as a successful love marriage. In such a case, sharing common values that promote meaningful goals is the secret of long-term partnerships and relationships.

Values not only offer the opportunity to feel happier and more fulfilled, but will also bring a sense of purpose.

As the psycho analyst Viktor Frankl discovered, there are three ways to feel a sense of purpose in life:

1. Ethos: To serve a higher purpose beyond yourself. This usually happens within NGOs or organisations that are committed to their raisond’être.

2. Eros: To build up sustainable and personal relationships with specific people (partner, family, friends, colleagues)

3. Pathos: To engage in projects that allow you to create things and get visible results.

All these paths of meaning are sustained by your core values.

What is fascinating is that as HR people and managers, you have here a code to develop efficient and meaningful organisations. Indeed, the long-term commitment can be developed though three levers:

1. Develop the pride to belong: It means that the employees identify themselves with the company’s values, and they can recommend its services. This is key for employer branding.

2. Develop attachment to the company: The employees develop a sense of attachment to the teams, its members and to the manager. There is a high level of trust among the employees.

3. Strengthen the will to do: This refers to interest in the role, the work, the missions and meaning of the company. It refers to the energy and enthusiasm that the employee brings to the work.

There are many ways to strengthen this feeling of long-term commitment, but remember that all the actions have to be aligned with the core values of the company.

Organisations that are driven by authentic, shared core values and “reason for being” will defnitely attract the talents they need. Purpose and values are the fuel of organisations — their motivation. With an aligned environment, an organisation offers the conditions required for the employees to perform, be fulflled and find meaning at work. The values define the organisation culture — rituals, ways of functioning, leadership, symbols, codes and practices.

We do understand at this point that the first step for the modern organisations is to accept to have an inner audit and check with their team what the real core values they share are. Based on this, they can develop an efficient and meaningful HR strategy that will not only achieve the goal, but also raise performance, well-being and meaning at the workplace. With such work, the organisation can make a real shift and include ‘Employer branding’ and ‘Corporate social responsibility’ in their DNA.

The investment is worth it, not only in terms of RoI but also because of the fresh energy that emerges within the company.

The first step is really an inner one — the boldness of the CEO, HR and board to make the shift of paradigm, to choose performance, fulfilment and meaning.

Paradigm shift in HR and leadership

This may be the legacy of the industrial period, but today, we still tend to think that employees’ performance is the balance between skills and needs. In a global and connected world, it becomes false. If they are not happy or skilled, people just leave the company.

To get high and long-run commitment, the HR should not recruit based on hard skills and experience alone. In fact, they should also recruit employees based on shared values and soft skills. Values will guarantee natural motivation, commitment and the will to learn.

Soft skills will facilitate the inclusion of the new recruit in the team, and they will value the corporation’s DNA. In the long run, soft skills can be developed in different hard skills, adapted to different roles.

As an example, let’s say that through an assessment process, you could hire a trainee sharing the company values of benevolence, entrepreneurship and stimulation. You were able to check his motivations, style of leadership and soft skills so he could be included easily in the team. During the interview, you could check his awareness, emotional and relational intelligence. Then, the direct management and the HR manager identify his natural talents to learn at a fast pace, to manage people, and his adaptability.

Rather than accepting that the employee may leave the company at some point, they decide to build a developmental programme that offers an auspicious environment to express his talents, and different roles where he can perform with his talents plus develop skills. Training and coaching can be offered to empower him, so that he may become a board member one day.

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.

What makes it work is that through the learning process, trust and recognition, the employee develops strong bonds with the corporation: with the purpose, values and services, with the team, with the management.

In a way, naturally, the employee becomes the ambassador for the company.

Here is a reminder — Human Resources is the refiection of the company’s practices. Congruency is the key to creating inspiring, healthy and sustainable organisations. At any step of the HR process, be sure that you have your “soul in the game” and “walk the talk”. Trust and commitment will be reinforced. Then, Coaching may help you to empower talents within the organisation.

Are you ready and bold enough to make this paradigm shift? Find an ICF certified coach now to walk this path with you

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organisation leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fostering coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. Founded in 1995, its 35,000-plus members located in more than 140 countries and territories work toward common goals of enhancing awareness of coaching and upholding the integrity of the profession through lifelong learning and maintaining the highest ethical standards. Through the work of its six unique family organisations, ICF empowers professional coaches, coaching clients, organisations, communities and the world through coaching. Visit coachingfederation.org for more information.

In India, ICF is represented by six vibrant chapters, all led by volunteers — ICF Bengaluru, ICF Chennai, ICF Delhi NCR, ICF Mumbai, ICF Pune and ICF Hyderabad.

Glossary

• Values: These are core motivations or belief systems that drive our thoughts, decisions, judgments, actions, behaviours and attitudes. They are the keys to team cohesion, performance, commitment, fulfilment and a sense of purpose.

• Talents: These are soft skills, natural abilities and qualities. They could help to develop hard skills. The characteristics of talents are that they are personal, pleasurable and effortless to use, impactful, innate and recognised. They define the personality. The challenge for the companies is to offer environments where talents could express and evolve.

• Life orientations: They are natural tendencies to be focused on for satisfying one’s needs, accomplishing oneself for looking for a deeper meaning and higher purpose.

• Hard skills: These are specific know-how that offer direct results and satisy the company needs.

The author, Bertrand Beauregard is an ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) from France with over 10 years of coaching experience with hyper-growth companies, CEOs, entrepreneurs, executives and teams. What is common amongst his clients is that they all have their ‘skin and soul in the game’. As an enthusiastic and passionate person, Beauregard’s coaching DNA is to allow inner talents to be revealed, to promote awareness and congruence, and to unlock true potential. Beauregard is the author of the book ‘Revealing HR 4.0 source code: Recruiting, managing and coaching talent through values and meaning’. He often gives talks on topics related to HR, management and coaching.

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