Keeping up with the trends is imperative to any profession in this age of constant disruption and change. Let’s take a look at what HR professionals need to do to shape their workforce and organizational policies for the future.
It was not a long time ago when people questioned the relevance of the HR department in an organization; however, with the progression of time businesses as well as employees have finally recognized the strategic value of HR in improving people functions and relationships that help shape the workforce in the best interests of both employers and employees.
In fact, with the fast paced digital disruption that has caused the workforce to become increasingly restless and agile, the need for tech-savvy and forbearing human resources is more than ever. Furthermore, businesses in this era have become all about people and therefore focusing on work-life balance, happiness, motivation and concerns of the employees has become important. The HR department needs to enable these processes across the entire organization. This essentially means that all employees need to become conscious about leveraging ‘Human Capital’. Infact managing people is no longer the sole responsibility of one department but is a collective responsibility of the entire organization. Every manager therefore becomes a people manager.
The folks managing ‘Human Capital’ need to adapt more discrete strategies and fundamentally new ways of handling operations to steer their workforce and business towards a more digital and customized experience. This will only help the ‘People Managers’ to be future ready, rebuild their capabilities to deliver their best output, and create a customer focused workforce experience to keep the ‘people-driven culture’ intact. People must be the focal point of any business – whether inside or outside the formal boundaries of the business organization.
Some of the key points to keep in mind to build a ‘people driven culture’ could be:
• Understanding and Deploying HR/People Analytics
Analytics is not really a new trend per se. However, most HR professionals are not using analytics to the extent that they should. In fact, many people managers are still doing things the old way without realizing that by using analytics tools they can get the most out of the available data in much lesser time and with greater accuracy.
Since HR departments have to deal with large amounts of data and talent pool, especially in case of large geographically distributed teams, it is easy to get lost midway and make a compromised decision. Analytics tools, on the other hand, can help fill that data gap and streamline the process when put to proper use. With a little training it is also possible to generate meaningful insights from the mass of data to guide business decisions.
HR analytics tool is a digitized tool that uses a datadriven approach to realize and investigate people problems within the organization. The tool can be used to get useful insights, and enables better decision making on the basis of objective data.
• AI and Automation
Modern businesses require a solid foundation to stay a step ahead of the competition, and technology can provide that foundation. In terms of Human Capital, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA) will play a major role in streamlining the functions.
Let’s take look at an example to understand this role better. Recruiting up until now was a tedious process that demanded the HR personnel to go over each resume separately out of the large talent pool and then keep track of each application manually. However, RPA can take care of it all saving time and taking decisions that are more comprehensive and error free.
Likewise, AI can make HR activities run all the more easily, so HRs complete more as opposed to suffocating in administrative work. AI can also monitor tasks to assist HR stay on top of their game and provide valuable insights purely based on data instead of emotions. It's for reasons like these that organizations around the globe are starting to utilize AI applications.
• Focus on People and Create Strategies to Manage the more Evolved Workforce
Please remember that digitalization during Industry 4.0 is not going to take away jobs instead it will take away the drudgery of repetitive tasks and give us more time to concentrate on truly value added strategic work. This does not mean that there will be a reduction in ‘people focus’ in fact digitalization will enable people specialists to take data based responsive decisions. It is also important to remember that, while organizations have higher access to data and better practices from across the world, so do the people that they manage. This has created a need to be more transparent and accountable as regards the employees. The way employees work has also changed. Now employees demand more flexibility, better communication, stronger values, and increased transparency. It therefore becomes important pertinent to keep all these things in mind while creating the policies.
• Get Certified and Update Your Skills
As several HR functions are becoming automated, it is important for professionals to update their skill-set to be in sync with the new way of managing the human capital. It includes learning about new technologies like AI, automation, analytics etc and understand how to best leverage them to create a better overall strategy with respect to people and thereby business. Besides, certified professionals have better chances of getting promotions and/or a higher paycheck!
• Sustainability Practices
While automation and digitalization is important, it is crucial to be mindful of the triple bottom line and being socially and environmentally conscious. Employer brand equity is directly proportional to the meaningful social and environmental impact of the organization. It therefore becomes the task of every people professional to be mindful of ‘Sustainability Practices’ of the organizations that they work with and trying to understand how these practices can become a part of the philosophy and actions of the strategic direction of the organization rather than mere lip service.
• Diversity and Inclusion
Any workplace which allows everyone to do their best, without any inhibition on account of who they are or where they come from, prospers and grows. Ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce actually promotes higher engagement, innovation and success at an organizational as well as a personal level. It allows for an appreciation of different points of view. Consideration of all divergences may actually improve convergence of minds and create a strong culture of partnership and growth.