Not Your Mom’s Human Resources

candidate coffeeWe see it every day. The role of human resources is evolving. In the past 5 years, we have seen the colossal shift from “personnel” to “human resources” to “strategic partner.” Today’s Human Resources is no longer just a function of filling jobs, compensation, managing benefits and complying with employment laws. HR is being tasked with developing strategies to improve leadership, as well as drive business growth and performance.

What has caused this seismic shift?

  • The workforce has changed. Many of today’s employees work on a contingent, part-time, or contract basis, so organizations must now work harder to maximize their talent and integrate them.
  • Global business trends mean HR teams must adapt and change quickly.
  • Demographic changes are also in play. Millennials, who now make up more than half the workforce, are taking center stage and their expectations are vastly different from those of previous generations. They seek greater purpose in their work and they want greater flexibility in how that work is done.
  • The robust job market is making it easy to jump ship. Employee dissatisfaction is leading to costly and problematic attrition. Staying ahead of these defections requires new forms of data analysis and a fresh look at the employee experience.

So what must be done?

Entrepreneur points out that a comprehensive people strategy is not comprehensive if it doesn’t include a proven retention strategy for holding on to the employees you’ve worked hard to recruit into your company. Sounds logical, right? Yet too many businesses fall into the trap of ignoring the retention piece of the puzzle.

So why is that? Perhaps it lies in the misperception about what factors actually drive retention. Many believe retention is based on compensation issues when in reality the drivers go much deeper into the human psyche to the actions and attitudes that make employees feel successful, secure and appreciated.

The shift requires bold thinking. Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report tells us that HR organizations are trending towards:

  • Focusing on culture to dramatically improve employee engagement.
  • Taking a more sophisticated approach to managing all aspects of the workforce, including the hourly, contingent, and contract workforce; and
  • Replacing traditional performance management with innovative performance solutions.

Data and analytics are vital to “people processes.” McKinsey & Company is using advanced analytics to provide fact-based techniques for detecting previously unobserved employee behavioral patterns. These patterns are then combined with machine-learning algorithms to get insights at a broad organizational level, to identify specific employee clusters and to make individual predictions. By doing this, they are able to develop a series of concrete interventions.

Every part of human capital management, capability building, recruiting and communication is being radically changed by technology.

  • Glassdoor shares unfiltered feedback about organization’s leadership (CEO included), culture and benefits. Employees can share salaries, rate managers and talk about what it’s like to work for your company.
  • Preparation for “facilitated talent mobility” is being put into place. Companies are moving from succession planning to understanding that employees are like professional athletes – training and learning in one department then reaching their PR there and moving on to a new department for more challenge and growth.
  • People decisions made by “gut” are being replaced by data-driven decisions; who to hire, who to promote, how much to pay, where to locate an office. The “datafication” of HR is happening.

Whoa, not your Mom’s Human Resources indeed.

So don’t stick YOUR head in the sand. Make sure you are taking a 360 degree look at the employee experience in your company to ensure you have happy, productive employees that will become your future leaders and help you grow your business!