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'Workplace Civility' … The New Challenge for CHROs The only way CHROs can deliver to the workplace civility agenda is the way the organization handles 'bad news' or has the appetite for handling mistakes in the journey of evolution

By Arti Aggarwal

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With a sea of humanity entering the workplace carrying diverse degrees of professional and personal ethos with notions of success along with a definition of failure, competitiveness and the so-called "Art of survival' in the Corporate world does pose a new challenge for the culture custodians in an organization. The constant debate for IQ versus EQ has a huge impact in defining not only the culture of the organisation but also carving the areas of focus or improvement of these skills which undoubtedly play a key role in overall success, as well as things like health, wellness, and happiness of an individual.


The value framework of an organisation which influences the boundaries of decision rights, performance measurements, rewards to the leaders who address particular business challenges also become equally important in the culture-building exercise at workplaces. It is not the way people just think, operate or deliver, it is also the way they communicate with each other, studies exhibit that 65 per cent of the communication by an individual is nonverbal out of which only 5 per cent is understood by an average human being.

The New Way of Doing Things

So not only does the new age CHRO have to define the realms of the "Value framework' for a workplace but also build a "Communication policy' which levers the foundational strength of the corporate values. Companies like Netflix, define their corporate values and caveats for success for job applicants to give a flavour of how the organisation thinks, operates and communicates for fairly easy to dream projects within the company.

To change the organization through evolution rather than revolution, CHROs firstly should explicitly draft a blueprint of "Strategy' with the leadership, which is competitive, understands the challenges inwardly but is agile to overcome the obstacles of change. This might include revisiting objectives, status values versus values to operate, hierarchical arrangements and handling of information wherein "reasonable' decisions should not become problematic to that extent that fact-finding & analysis becomes unrewarding, and decision making becomes intuitive.


Secondly, the invisible career paths which each one of us needs to navigate to achieve our actual potential needs an in-depth understanding of workplace relationships, attitudes, more than the IQ on the table. The HR teams have to build and sustain this ambition box which equips every employee to take up higher roles/lateral roles in terms of skills, business know-how so as to build trust pipelines which not only handle conflict but also provide co-ownership of work delivered. The only key to this is to create accessible and transparent methods of learning and coaching, which are available to all.

The only way CHROs can deliver to the workplace civility agenda is the way the organization handles "bad news' or has the appetite for handling mistakes in the journey of evolution. The human mind is more attentive towards bad news because it serves as an alternative view to the current optimism but taking unpopular business decisions, difficult performance reviews discussions needs some interventions from the HR side too. A strong talent management program, job rotation projects, communication meets with leadership could assist this part of the culture piece for the organizations.

The fast-paced nature of the workplace has led to a shift in the role of the CHRO and as custodians of the workplaces culture and confidants of employees, it is up them to find innovative ways to help employees define and reach career goals which are aligned with the overall progress of the organization. Don't forget today employees join for a good role but they stay for good culture and growth.

Arti Aggarwal

Director HR- Faber Castell, India

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