HR, THE ETERNAL OBSERVER AND GIVER, DRAGGED THE CHAINS OF MARLEY AND A LEGAL ANCHOR, MARRIED WITH THE PROCEDURES OF COLLECTING ARCHAIC DATA ON SIZE XL SHEETS AND DELAYS IN TIME. DOES ALL THIS REPRESENT THE ABSOLUTE ANTITHESIS OF SPEED OF CHANGE AND AGILITY? WHILE THE STRUCTURES OF THE WORK FORCE APPLY, THE SILOS ARE FILLED AND THE MERITOCRACY REPLACES THE DECREES AND DIKTAT OF THE ROOM, THE HR SUFFERS A PARANOIA “WE AND THEM”, TAKES THAT THE INITIATIVES ARE WIDELY RECEIVED, HR “.
Long before the pandemic, the role of HR began to shift from its process-driven roots to being at the heart of business transformation and driving the employee experience agenda. It has become central to how companies have responded to seismic change in the way they work and now must weather the storm to help manage a new set of risks: the war for talent, the cost of living, the recession and the redefinition of traditional role – which will require a continuous evolution from functional to empowering.
HR teams need time to focus on developing strategies that remove barriers to emotional engagement with employees, support the recruitment of a resilient and adaptable workforce, and leverage people analytics to understand performance needs and development throughout the organization. People’s strategies must be business-oriented, aiming to deliver high performance, while creating agility to respond to change and developing a culture of continuous improvement. They need to ensure that policies are inclusive and evolve with the needs of society and business, ensuring that people are treated fairly and consistently. Many organizations are renaming leadership roles within HR to be more people-focused, such as; Chief People Officer, Chief Talent Officer and Chief Experience Officer. My view is that the department as a whole needs a brand and a mindset that conveys the vital role it plays in creating, developing and maintaining healthy organizations where people can thrive. Some organizations have already recognized this and are renaming their HR departments to People Operations or People Teams, which aligns better with their purpose. There are still many organizations that suffer from an “them and us” mentality, where employees feel disconnected from the People Team. By putting the right engagement strategies in place, People Teams can change this perception and demonstrate the value it brings to the employee experience.
Engaging people means recognizing them as individuals, providing clarity about what the company is driving and how they are contributing and rewarding them appropriately. Enabling this level of engagement should be the goal of People Teams. To ensure the success of engagement strategies, people team leaders must empower managers to independently manage multiple employee relationship issues. As a topic it has been discussed many times, but managers need access to the tools and guidance that enable them to support their teams in fulfilling their jobs and cultivate the emotional commitment they feel to the company. This gives everyone a greater sense of belonging and pride in their work. The benefits? Better relationships between managers and employees, so they can proactively address problems before they become problems, while teams of people have more time to focus on developing people’s strategies that will underpin business success.
Data and analytics are key to revolutionizing the role of human resources. Focusing on facts rather than guesswork supports better discussions and identifies problems. For example, if absenteeism data is recorded effectively and absence management is delivered consistently, staffing teams and managers can begin to see trends and anomalies that may need to be addressed. If a particular department contrasts with a trend otherwise seen consistently across the company, what can be learned? Is there a manager who needs more support? Is there a problem with bullying or disengagement? Is training or disciplinary action necessary? Or is there a great role model that can help others see how to make a positive difference? Where data can be used to solve problems in a timely and informal manner and to put the spotlight on outstanding practices, behaviors and results, the perception of value provided to managers and employees will change in a positive way. This helps demonstrate how teams of people add value and reduce risk in people-related matters, while driving positive change. Teams of people can no longer be tied to bulky Excel spreadsheets and held back from siled work. Analytics that provide visibility and insights into the success of change are at the heart of any transformation and are essential for comparing the health of the organization and enabling rapid data-driven decision making. Measures such as employee engagement scores, dropout rate by department, cost of absenteeism, and measurement of managers’ confidence in addressing employee relationship issues are all helpful in making informed decisions.
Each company will find itself at a different point on its transformation journey, so the key to success is understanding where the company is now and where it wants to move on the HR maturity curve. At the upper end of the curve are business-oriented teams of people, who are developing employee experience strategies that meet the needs of the employee and the company. This means creating opportunities for transparency, as well as more emotional connections, by considering every interaction an employee has, from onboarding, training and benefits to day-to-day support. This requires solid and consistent communication channels that keep managers and employees well informed about policies and procedures, so that managers feel empowered to independently manage people-related matters without involving the people function in any case. Managers will be experts in how to engage on a human level, beyond the daily work. Business-oriented teams of people create healthy organizations by leveraging people’s data to make decisions, developing inclusive policies that are communicated and applied consistently, and implementing the right technology to support managers in managing employee relationships without risk. At the other end of the curve are functional human resources departments, which are more likely to rely on basic information acquired on isolated spreadsheets and processes that limit the view of the “bigger picture” and represent a barrier to empowerment. managers. At the heart of any successful business transformation are people, which means that it is essential to revolutionize the role of the team responsible for them.
REFERENCES * Gartner press release, Gartner human resources research reveals 82% of employees report work environment lacks fairness, November 8, 2021
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