This is the time of the year we see multiple blogs for how the year 2018 went past from HR perspective and what shall be the HR Trends for the year 2019. I am not sure if the year 2019 will be very different from 2018 but I do foresee some key focus areas for the function.
1- Digital Employee Experience
Digital is becoming the cornerstone of all our experiences – whether it’s Uber in cabs or Self Check-In in airlines or social media. But sadly, organizations are still lagging behind in this adoption. This leads to a key gap in personal experience in life and employee experience in organizations. As we realize this, Organizationsneed to invest in providing more digital experience to the employees. Employee Self Service, Manager Self Service, 24X7 query resolution and chatbots shall define the employee experience.
2- Technology and Heart working together
However, this technology adoption needs to ensure that HR doesn’t move away from the personal touch. There is a need to find the balance among the two seemingly divergent aspects of technology and heart. Successful adoption of technology will be there where it is used to automate the mundane tasks, get people analytics but ensure enough room for the human touch in terms of coaching conversations and more purposeful human interactions.
3- Employee Value Proposition – Working with Purpose
Gone are the days when the employees were looking at just doing a job and earn money. Now they look at more purposeful career. Therefore, the Employee Value Proposition needs to speak of the larger Purpose which the organizations are serving, in general and the respective roles are serving,in particular. The alignment between the employees’ & organizational purpose shall be key imperative in attracting and engaging talent.
4- Personalization of Policies
This is also an age of personalization esp. in the digital consumer world. I remember once I looked at flight options on one of the travel websites, thereafter those options kept displaying for a few days on most of my net activity; not only that, the travel website started sending me various discount offers for booking the flight for that sector. So, on one hand an employee experiences such personalization of information and focus in personal life, but when it comes to organizations, we paint all employees with the same brush. Organizations need to treat employees are individualsand manage them as individuals rather than looking at them as collectives.
5- Inclusion above Diversity
Of late, there has been high focus in organizations around hiring for Diversity – Gender, Regional, Racial, etc. But not enough work has happened towards their Inclusion. It’s not enough to just hire for diversity; building Inclusive culture is something which needs to precede hiring for diversity. If Diversity is about Invitation to a party, Inclusion is about making them feel comfortable and at home there. If organizations need to truly tap the benefits of having a diverse workforce, they first need to develop an Inclusive culture, where diverse opinions are acknowledged, heard and accepted and where the decisions are not made by majoritarianism.
6- Speed of Change
The world is changing much more rapidly than what it was earlier, and this change is in constant acceleration mode. Year 2019 will be no different. Thoughorganizations try to stay in sync with this change externally, but there is always a laginternally. Over time, we find that our internal processes, policies, ways of working etc. are not geared up to meet the challenges posed by the latest requirements and new workforce. So HR needs to consistently evolve the systems, processes, policies and ways of working so that they remain in tune with the fast changing times.
7- Evolving Culture
This external change also brings in another challenge and that is about the Organizational Culture – how relevant and effective it is in meeting these everchanging external requirements? Organizations, which do not evolve with times die; and a key factor in this death is lack of adequate response towards the changing dynamics, which in turn is due to denial of this change. Statements such as “This will not affect us”, “We have high market share”, “We are the leaders in this space”, “This is another fad” are made in the Leadership Teams to justify the internal status quo! Soorganizations need to build an culture which is self-evolving and dynamic rather than being static.
8- Communications across Organizations
There was a time when communication in organizations was highly restricted. The information was shared on strictly ‘need to know’ basis and the person in know of things was wielding high power. Leaders used to communicate once in a while and they seldom answered questions. Social Media, Technology and Millennials have changed this paradigm. Leadership is now expected to be more communicative and alsomore responsive. Organizations are also required to be more tolerant to the questioning / comments by the employees. Traditional discipline parameters need to change. This is where Internal Communications will play a key role.
9- Gig Workforce
The paradigm of work is fast changing. People are looking at more flexibility and work-life balance. Consumers are moving away from Products and towards Services. The need for variety in experiences is increasing. Thus, is emerging the Gig workforce. Workforce, which is not into ‘full-time’ employment but is delivering a key value to the organization. How do we engage them? What policies cover them? How do we deal with them? What is their legal employment status? Organizations needs to answer these questions and learn to deal with these ‘employees’, as this population will grow fast in the organizations.
10- Health & Wellbeing
Last but not the least, a key driver for employee engagement and employee care shall be how much the organization focuses on Employee health & wellbeing. With work-life balance being an elusive concept, no 9 to 5 jobs but jobs which keep us always glued to our smart-phones, stress of performance, job insecurities and high ambitions, physical as well as mental health of employees is under severe stress. Organizations need to focus on helping employees cope up with this stress. Engaging organizations will be those which are equally focused on employee wellness as they are focused on employee performance.
Having said all this, each organization is in a different stage of evolution and focusing on all these simultaneously will always be a challenge. But if the organizations can, at least, choose which of these are their top 3 challenges this year and work towards them, it will surely be a big step forward in their Talent Agendas for the year 2019.