Emotional Salary is the non-financial or emotional gains we obtain from working that motivate us, change our perception of work and lead to personal and professional development.

The importance of work in an age of uncertainty

What we know for sure

Within the Emotional Salary Barometer team, we know that each of us is responsible for our own Emotional Salary. It can be extremely helpful for you to know exactly what are those non financial benefits you gain from work, if those benefits are important for you, whether you think it is enough or if you want to have more of those elements that constitute your Emotional Salary. Why? Because this will help you take control of your working life and get ready to face the future and its challenges.

Having said that, there is also another thing that we know for sure (and our work and research  supports this over and over). Even though each person is responsible for their Emotional Salary, team leaders, company strategies and company culture, play a central role in helping their people to achieve that responsibility. It is up to all leaders to view their role as an agent for growth and service and see this as an opportunity and an aid that will help them achieve their objectives. Why am I saying this? Because when we come back to our work we will be confronted with a unique opportunity to reshape and redirect the way we do business and manage our teams.

Culture and the “better normal”

Culture, people and purpose have proved central in the way each of us has managed the situation so far. However, these factors are going to be even more important when we go back as they will be absolutely key to shaping and designing the future we want for our companies, our teams and ultimately ourselves.

This is what we need to know for sure: culture happens. Even if we do absolutely nothing about it, culture will be visible and palpable. It will be automatically shaped without us noticing which factors were in play that made it the way it is. Since we know this, why don’t we intentionally start designing the culture we want to have once we come back so that we start designing a “better normal” instead of a “new normal”?

This is how an HBR article describes culture: “Culture is the tacit social order of an organisation. It shapes attitudes and behaviours in wide-ranging and durable ways. Cultural norms define what is encouraged, discouraged, accepted, or rejected within a group. When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can unleash tremendous amounts of energy toward a shared purpose and foster an organization’s capacity to thrive.

Culture can also evolve flexibly and autonomously in response to changing opportunities and demands.”

Now we are confronted with an amazing and unique opportunity to shape and respond to this changing and unexpected situation. We can see it as a new opportunity for us to analyse where we were, what happened, what we learned and how we want to face the challenge ahead of us. If there is something we cannot ignore, it is that a storm is coming. We don’t know if it will rain, snow or if it will be a tornado but it’s up to us to prepare for when this comes. We can choose to meet the storm wearing only a jacket, or with all of the available gear we have at our disposal. I definitely recommend that every person, team leader and organisation chooses to gear up with the best resources they have – their people.

Infographic for Yes No Exercise

Ready, get set, go!

But where should we start? First, with a clear, honest and open intention to start anew and, most importantly,  to listen and be prepared to change.  I know this is not easy and believe me, it often takes more guts to change than to bungee jump. Because when we do, we place ourselves in a situation where control is shared and outcomes are not easily foreseen, but it’s definitely worth a try.

One of the most powerful exercises I know from my career in People Development is an extremely simple one. You won’t believe how powerful it is until you do it. So I invite you to give it a try to start shaping and designing your “better normal”. It is called the YES / NO Exercise.

This is an exercise that will help you to focus your energy on the parts of your work which you approach with most enthusiasm, the parts you really like and want to do more of. It will also show you what to drop. Dropping stuff is an inevitable element of growth.

Look at your responses (you can do this exercise with your team as well) and write out the following: What do you want to keep and what is it that you’re ready to let go of. Your answers to this very simple exercise will give you an indication of the next steps you need to take. And, most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the process. It’s part of the game.

Final thoughts

Now, COVID 19 was, and still is, a situation that has affected most of the global economy. It has affected most businesses in a negative manner and has called into question the purpose and culture of the organisation and its leaders. It has acted like a magnifying glass. Any holes, mistakes, insecurities, communication issues, or cracks have become more apparent and their effects have also become more apparent. By the same token, all that was good in our purpose, culture and leadership have flourished and come to life as the glue that kept everything together.

Now, how do we want to move on? We cannot head off into our new normal expecting everything to be exactly as we left it, as if this whole situation was a parenthesis in our lives. We need to understand what happened and what new insights or learnings we have experienced so we can use this information as our roadmap to shape our “better normal”.  

Let’s start taking the lead and designing the future we all wish to be in. Will it be perfect? No. But we are all trying to make it better and this is what counts.

We are a people & organisational development consultancy and we help organisations put people at the centre of their strategy by listening and enabling  you to listen to and understand what your employees value most. We help our clients build a culture of mutual trust, respect and responsibility which allows both the organisation and individual to thrive. 

We would love to help you in shaping your “better” normal. How about a virtual coffee with us? Send us an email at [email protected]

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