5 Ways HR Can Keep Up With the Evolving Workplace
HR departments have had to change considerably over the past few years, creating a completely new environment for employers and employees. Legal changes such as the new shared parental leave and pay laws in the UK, plus an increasingly diverse workforce, present new challenges to managers and business leaders.
There are 5 areas where there’s opportunity to create a more employee-friendly atmosphere. Properly addressed, they will help companies gain and maintain a competitive advantage.
1. The race for leadership and talent
As the British economy strengthens and organizations gear up for growth, companies will see an increasing need for leaders on all levels to organize and spearhead projects, teams, and other business-critical areas.
With the workforce becoming more demanding, especially the new, younger generation, businesses need to develop a strategy to attract and inspire talent, not just recruit and retain. This will create a differentiation point from their competitors and make them better prepared for upcoming changes.
As such, filling the talent pipeline will become harder and harder. The answer will be, in part, to invest in making sure that the talent already within the business is recognized and nurtured effectively. Companies know they cannot simply go out and find new talent quickly or easily. However, a shift in the approach to training and development could be what’s required to ensure that the best people stay.
Managing HR in a highly personalized way is a fundamental pillar in motivating top talent. This means regularly and easily updated profiles and integrated HR and payroll systems, for instance, to make sure all information is instantly visible when needed.
2. HR and talent analytics
In light of the race for leadership and talent, as well as developing and retaining existing staff, up-to-date and integrated data will become an essential tool in the decision making process.
As technology plays a significant role in employee communication and collaboration, there is an increased opportunity to collect data and learn more about core behaviors. HR departments have to become more business focused; they need to identify skills gaps, challenges, trends, and opportunities in order to develop successful and sustainable strategies.
More than ever, HR departments need to align their goals to the overall objectives of the company which, in turn, means breaking them down to manageable KPIs for every single team member. Data analytics can help to not only understand those KPIs better but also measure and develop them over time, and integrate them in the day-to-day business of the workforce.
This has a significant impact from both a strategic and personal perspective.
3. HR departments need to rethink the employee experience
As HR departments become more business focused, streamlining their processes has become a key part of operations. As a result, we see more and more HR self-management systems being deployed. The systems allow employees to book holidays or submit expenses themselves, thus minimizing efforts for HR managers.
However, it is important to keep in mind that a workforce is often made-up of different generations and levels of tech-savvy. HR systems and processes will need to be viewed through the lens of the overall employee experience and must be easy to use for everyone. Employees can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of HR initiatives and requirements placed on them. HR managers have to take this into account and balance the impact on their staff.
The set-up of HR systems has a big part to play in this, as complexity has to be kept at a minimum. The user interface for employees needs to be simple, easy to understand and handle. Keep in mind that HR management systems are supposed to reduce workload and streamline processes instead of complicating them..
4. An increase in payroll and HR outsourcing
The drive for greater HR efficiency can also lead to outsourcing some services to free up time for strategic planning.
Administrative tasks in HR and payroll management can be particularly complex and elaborate processes. Outsourcing can help to increase productivity. However, many HR departments are faced with dependencies related to payroll and benefits. Organizations realize that they still need services on top of cloud systems to maintain and update functionality. Integrated solutions can help to mitigate these dependencies.
Outsourcing complicated processes does make the delivery of HR services much easier, but HR managers should never forget that self-service is not the answer to all problems. Employees and managers still need help and guidance when it comes to infrequent tasks or other problems. Despite all the technology, HR is still a people business.
5. Managing diversity in the workforce
We’re at a point in time where some companies will have four generations within their workforce. People are working until later in life – which will become more significant in the next 20 years. The generation of millennials coming into the business presents not only an age difference, but also a cultural one.
However, it’s not just age where companies need to be prepared to manage diversity. Temporary employees, those on zero hour contracts or taking, ,sometimes shared, parental leave, all have different requirements to full-time employees.
With more legislative changes to come, the traditional setting of a 9-5 job in a central office is likely to disappear. The workforce will become more flexible and more mobile, which means HR teams need to gear up for a much higher administrative burden. However, this burden needs to be managed without expanding resources, adding pressure to the need for efficiency in HR and payroll tools.
A new picture of perfection
The big trends and focus areas over the next year do overlap in some ways. Efficiency and flexibility are both ideas that can underpin many of the core concepts at work. Successful companies will be defined by their achievements in these areas as well as in sales or revenues.
Economic, legislative, and social changes are evolving the demands on every business at a rate so fast that any company that’s not flexible could be hit hard. Organizational agility and preparation are characteristics that every business needs.