Looking forward into the immediate future of the coming year, a lot of companies are doing a lot of planning, particularly when it comes to their people. This makes sense.
After all, it’s human capital is one organizational factor few organizations overlook (no matter how mixed the actual results of these efforts might in fact be).
Today more than ever before, it’s imperative for employers to critically question what’s working – and what’s not – when it comes to their current workforce and whether or not HR is truly acting as a business partner or as a bureaucratic prohibitor, as is too often the case.
Figuring out whether HR is an asset or a liability is absolutely critical for establishing the long term success of any organization – and it’s that success that means the right time for taking a critical look at the function is right now.
3 HR Trends Every Recruiting & Talent Pro Needs To Know in 2016 (And Beyond)
In 2016, HR professionals must evolve and shift the status quo away from business as usual to put a focus not on minimizing risk and ensuring compliance, but on finding new and disruptive ways to fix what’s broken and more effectively, efficiently attract, retain and develop the top talent they need for business success today – and tomorrow.
Here are three of the top trends and topics impacting the evolution of human resources that every recruiting and talent pro needs to know.
HR Trend: The Changing Face of the Workforce.
While there might be some degree of variation depending on your location or market, most organizations should see the effects of a simultaneous “Silver Tsunami” of Baby Boomers booming away to retirement coupled with an influx of young workers flooding the bottom rungs of every organizational ladder, given the fact that by 2020 about half of all global workers will be part of the much hyped, and much maligned, “Millennial” generation.
It’s incumbent on employers to continually understand, evaluate and deliver on candidate expectations and ensuring those of existing employees are also met by always aligning your company and their work with a cohesive, clear employee value proposition that forms the core of a distinctive company culture that keeps employees engaged while also welcoming employees of all generations. The mission, vision and values your organization operationalizes daily should be agnostic to age and inclusive of every worker, everywhere – at least, if you want them to truly impact business outcomes.
If you want to recruit and retain the best and the brightest talent on the market, you have to look at culture as an investment, not a byproduct, but realize that it’s also an amorphous, organic and dynamic part of your workplace that relies less on management and more on autonomy and the licence to freely ideate and challenge conventions while feeling safe enough to know that these behaviors will help, not hurt, their long term career aspirations. Work without purpose is just another job.
Be an employer of choice for your employees, not the HR team.
HR Trend: People > Process.
If you’re an entrepreneur who’s actually competitive in today’s cutthroat market for human capital as well as actual cash flow, you already know the difference a single worker can make – and the need to continually ensure that their experience as an employee is highly personalized for them, that they’re seen as a “workforce of one” by HR instead of just another employee or one of the unwashed masses.
Not that those exist – every employee needs a red carpet experience, lest their competitors beat them to the punch. The premise of contemporary employee experiences will be built and driven around our people, not policies, programs or platforms, as has been costing organizations too much for too long – and needs to stop now.
To address this endemic problem, employers must question whether or not there’s a positive business case to be made to abandon their often inordinate investments they’ve made in legacy systems and outdated software, which were designed to standardize and industrialize the employee experience, with an emphasis on automation over personalization and limited options for differentiation.
Every employee had a consistent experience, on the one hand – on the other, it was almost unilaterally a poor one. Replacing these outdated systems with next generation cloud technology is more than a smart move – it’s essential for creating the kind of personalization managers and employees need – and desperately want, too.
As more capital pours into the human capital space, as more startups and early stage companies spend seed money planting the roots for new functionalities and approaches to productizing the way the world of work works, we will see an alignment across business disciplines. Technology, marketing, sales, finance & cost management, psychology, sociology, anthropology and supplier & vendor management, all of these seemingly disparate disciplines in fact will all collide in the ongoing evolution of the kinds of experiences we’re able to offer our employees.
Companies will increasingly need to find a balance between modifying existing processes for new functionalities, as the latter come to market at a rate much faster than the former, frankly – and there’s no way HR can keep up with the continuous updates of SaaS products and the real time data they really represent.
Business leaders will have to do their due diligence about what experience they’re able to deliver, and ensure that employee expectations around level of service are met consistently and have the capability for flexibility. That’s why it’s so important for business leaders to carefully select the technologies and partners they choose to use; if employees – the end users – won’t actually use the system, then there’s no point in having it in the first place. The most important fit any HR software should be evaluated for is organizational culture. The rest should come fairly easily.
HR Trend: Employee Self Service, Not Subservience.
Most organizations have come to realize that they’ve got to ensure their business models are flexible enough to evolve along with their employees, and that their policies, processes and programs continue to resonate with the internal stakeholders who matter most.
Chances are, your employees now are more inclined to engage digitally than using some outdated technology like an intranet or, heaven forbid, a face to face meeting. That’s the fact of living in the future.
As consumers, the fact is that your design for employee interactions with your digital systems has to be built with humans, not human resources, in mind.
If your systems aren’t immersive, easy to use and connected with their existing workflow and augment, not annoy, what they’re already doing, then it’s time to rethink your approach to HR Technology.
The key to success relies on creating a model that enables any employee to use a system that they can access – and is available – anytime, anywhere, for anything, really.
This, of course, requires rethinking and reinventing the way employees actually interact with HR – and realize that digital adoption is a key determinant on the employee experience across all parts of the employee lifecycle that has the potential to alter the entire landscape of employee relationship management.
Through technologies and the “appification” of human resources, HR will have an opportunity to drive increased awareness and alignment around organizational vision, values and behaviors; technology also provides a tool for promoting a culture that values proficiencies, performance and passion – all of which, of course, are required to help any worker really reach their true potential – for themselves and for your organization.
The proliferation of new HR technology, tools and the shifting systems landscape has led to manifold technologies capable of not only changing the HR function, but also, the way every employee experiences and engages with your organization and your efficacy at recruiting and retaining those employees to ensure you’re only investing in the best and the brightest.
These new technologies work best when they’re not built for any specific silo, niche or specialty, but rather, can holistically impact every stage of the employee lifecycle and provide a cohesive, unified and compelling user experience for everything from digital onboarding, mobile learning content, real time social and career management feedback, 360 assessments and integrated employee relationship management tools.
About the Author: Prithvi Shergill is currently the Chief Human Resources Officer at HCL Technologies, one of the world’s largest IT and engineering services firms, where he is responsible for overseeing a global workforce of 103,000 employees in 32 countries across HCL Technologies’ multinational businesses.
Prior to his current role, Prithvi served as a Partner in the human capital group at Accenture for eight years, and his career in HR leadership extends over three decades.