— Sesil Pir
Welcome to our interview with Sesil Pir. Sesil is a recognized Industrial and Organizational Psychologist and HR Expert with two decades of field experience serving Fortune 100 companies globally. She is currently serving as the founder and consulting lead of SESIL PIR Consulting GmbH, focused on building more effective organizations, leaders, and teams.
Welcome to this forum Sesil, and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of Exploring Forward Thinking Workplaces 2.0.
How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?
Sesil: That’s a lot to inquire in one sentence, so I’d like to divide it into pieces. Where every voice matters. I think of that as everyone having a space to “be” as an individual. I associate that with respect and dignity.
Meaning, change and innovation are different things. And I think someone’s thriving is potentially an outcome of many things.
A Thriving Workforce is Productive and Engaged
Let’s look at ‘thriving’. I find two components that make up the language of someone’s thriving. The first component is often associated to vitality. It could be a sense of someone feeling alive, passionate or even excited. It has a lot to do with having someone’s spirits uplifted. The second component relates to learning that comes from having a desire to continuously gain new knowledge and skills. When we think of a thriving workforce, I often think of it as one in which employees are not necessarily just satisfied. They’re productive and engaged in creating a better future for themselves and the overall organization. There’s somehow an intersection that brings in the beauty and makes people thrive.
I’m not so much for change for the sake of change. I believe in a transformative change, which comes with a valid reason for someone to participate in or to lead change. When it comes to driving successful transformative change, there are a number of things to consider including:
- A purpose that people can feel they can associate to
- Leadership role modeling along the way
- A way for employees to express their opinions and be part of the decision-making
- Outcome metrics that people can measure themselves against
People Need Reflective Time to Be in a State of Awe for Innovation to Occur
If we look at innovation, what I find is that innovation is an outcome of a number of factors. The most powerful driver is having someone exercise what we would call wonder. It’s a sense of awe if you will and that requires a lot of presence from people.
In some ways, it’s not surprising that many organizations struggle with the concept of innovation because they’re so busy. They’re busy with many things (and sometimes not related to their vision) and that’s a counterproductive thing for people to go through in the process of creation.
When people are going from one meeting to another or from one task to another with no time for breathers, they aren’t digesting the information. They’re not having enough reflective time to find themselves in that state of awe.
One thing we have to ask ourselves as leaders of 21st century organizations and as organizational specialists: Why is that despite the vast amount of investment that’s been done over the years, organizations continue to struggle with levels of productivity and well-being in the workplace? According to the Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), productivity and well-being in the workplace have been trending down tremendously. We continue to invest more capital into our organizations. We’re investing in technology. In some cases, we are growing our organizations by getting in more resources. But why aren’t we getting any more productivity or any more health out of our workforce?
Note: This is a preview of the full interview. The complete interview was selected by Apress for publication and continues in The Future of the Workplace.