Revisiting HR Priorities in Times of Change
In 2016, we published the much-viewed Five Areas of Interest for Today’s HR Leader. Only five years on, the world of work has drastically changed—and in some ways for the better. With the upcoming May 2021 International HR Day recognising the extraordinary contribution and impact that HR leaders cultivate within their organisations, we revisit the top HR priorities that will shape today’s global workforce.
Employers should prioritise well-being to craft a more resilient workforce and rebuild the economy in 2021 and beyond. According to a McKinsey & Company report (Nov 2020), costs associated with a failure to address employee mental health issues cumulated to a material impact of hundreds of billions of dollars. Prioritising well-being for employees is both the ‘right’ thing to do and the necessary thing to do. Some suggestions to consider:
- Treat well-being as a tangible skill, a critical business input and a measurable outcome.
- Embrace well-being not as a vague concept, but as an index of learnable actions and daily behaviours.
- Train and equip leaders to think about all aspects of the employee experience from culture to well-being to purpose and meaning.
- Bring it all to life in a personalised way for employees, both in person and through digital channels.
As the concept of well-being at work continues to grow, ChapmanCG Director Nicola Hasling shares her thoughts on the impact of company culture and leadership on the wellness proposition.
Hybrid Work Culture and Workplace Flexibility
Many organisations shifted to remote work suddenly without prior planning. With the ease of social distancing rules and regulations in some countries and regions, some organisations are choosing to offer employees the option of a hybrid work arrangement, maximising the benefits of both working from home and working at an office. However, long-term hybrid work arrangements will not succeed if the core organisational values such as empathy, leadership, transparency and flexibility are not consistent with hybrid work practices. That’s why many organisations are starting to focus on fostering their hybrid work culture to keep employees engaged, improve productivity, enhance collaboration and provide a smooth hybrid working experience. Otherwise, attracting and retaining talent will become challenging. Establishing a healthy hybrid work culture can be difficult in the beginning as employees are isolated in different locations. But with the proper virtual communication tools and interaction protocols in place, companies will be able to thrive in this new form of flexibility.
While an office will still be needed for collaboration, social connection and for those without an effective home office, the physical workplace is rapidly transforming. Many HR leaders indicate that their office footprint will be reduced as progressive employers are embracing a hybrid working model. Some companies may also decide to allocate certain roles as permanent remote working positions, which is opening a whole new world of talent management and diversity.
ChapmanCG has embraced virtual working from our inception. In this previous article, we share some best practices and insights from ourselves and global HR leaders.
Embracing Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
Organisations are increasingly expected to measure and report on their D&I progress to investors, employees, potential talents, and society. As a result, organisations are creating D&I strategies which explore many facets of diversity and are embedded into all aspects of an organisation from recruitment through to values and behaviours. However, ‘Tick the box’ policies are no longer enough. For many organisations this means hiring D&I specialists not just at the global level, but also within individual regions. In addition, companies which take a strong stance on sustainability/environment, and social impact or justice are standing out from the crowd.
In this Conversation with HR Leaders, we talk with Global CHRO of Mercari, Tatsuo Kinoshita about how they focussed on D&I as a top HR initiative to continue to shape the DNA of the company and enable them to globalise quickly and successfully.
Building Essential Skills and Competencies
Organisations will need to continue identifying skills gaps among their employees and help them build the skills and competencies needed to thrive. This will enable organisations to perform better, survive through difficult times and adapt to changing scenarios more easily. Delivering continuous learning and development opportunities through the right learning platform will help employers stay organised and offer training to more employees at once, no matter where they’re working from. As remote work continues, online learning will become more prevalent than ever before. Adopting a step-by-step approach that involves identifying the skills organisations need, defining training goals, and measuring the impact of learning on performance will help.
I spoke with Rita-Marie Harvey, VP Talent Acquisition & Mobility at Schneider Electric about their AI-based internal talent pooling system known as The Open Talent Market.
Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders
Employees want to feel support and encouragement from those who are leading the company. Leaders need to be authentic and honest to ensure trust and build a positive employee experience. Sustaining this authentic style of communication will help get people onboard with reshaped plans to embrace more change to come.
When asked to identify the necessary traits for leaders, most would propose answers that fall within a wide range of topics. Charisma, purpose, determination, subject matter expertise… these are just a few of the traits that would typically be used to define a leader. However, many CHROs and CEOs around the world are building progressive and modern workplaces by placing a huge emphasis on both developing their current leadership teams and hiring new leaders with strong EQ. Emotional Intelligence is becoming one of the strongest drivers of leadership and personal excellence. An emotionally intelligent leader is good at working with and managing the emotional climate of their team to build trust and develop relationships. Here, Senior Director Katherine Qu and I look deeper into its importance.
A manager’s role critically influences the employee experience. It is the manager’s job to ensure that team members are aligned with the company’s purpose, objectives, and priorities, and to make sure that employees understand how their work relates to the company’s strategy. Organisations need to enable managers to better support their teams using innovative communication and collaboration technology solutions. This is even more critical now when many employees are physically disconnected.
ChapmanCG hosted a Thought Lab in partnership with Mercer on taking a skills-based approach to Talent Management. In this article, Tim Spriggs summarises the Mercer research and points made by attending HR leaders on this complex and interesting topic.
The Future: Redefining Employee Experience
The role of HR leadership is continuing to rapidly evolve into a true business enabling strategic advisor.
Employee experience strategies will continue to be one of the top focus areas for leading employers. Now is the time to prioritise employee experience, focus on what matters the most to the workforce, and help them navigate hurdles of any kind no matter when they come up. Personalising the employee experience will show workers that the company cares about them as an individual, and they’ll be more likely to stay with the organisation. To do this, you have to listen to employee feedback very carefully and work with their managers. People analytics will also help HR leaders to understand employee preferences better by providing insights gathered from analysing employee data. Furthermore, technology use will play a key role in employee experience strategies due to the increased prevalence of remote work. We will see many organisations investing in technology that helps employees collaborate with their co-workers and create a sense of belonging.
While we continue to pause physical meetings, the ChapmanCG team around the world have been hosting thought-provoking HR Exchanges virtually for the global HR community. These have led to some real and open conversations and we will continue to do these throughout the year.
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