Best Practices and Current Trends for Hiring Right, Enhancing Retention, Developing Learning Cultures and Improving Employee Satisfaction
In the early 1980’s, the term was Personnel Administration and the primary focus was, as it states, the administration of personnel matters which, at that time, consisted of ensuring people were paid on time, tracking timesheets and signing them up for (and administering) benefits.
- Consequently, the field of personnel administration was an administrative, tactical and reactive function; those employed within this capacity were often secretary’s that didn’t customarily possess a formal education and/or training in the field and, instead, learned about recruiting, company policies and the like on-the-job; they were also generally woman.
In the early 1990’s, the term was Human Resources Management and the focus expanded considerably to include a host of contemporary functions such as leadership development/training, team-building, performance management and even employee satisfaction.
- While HRM began to explore how their role could be strategic in nature, it still had the perception of being the enforcer of rules and regulations rather than a 24/7 strategic business partner.
In the early 2000’s, HRM and OD became more specialized within their respective functions. HRM’s “maturity” came into prominence when most organizations began to see how a strategic business partnership could benefit the entire organization and, more importantly, help to enhance the bottom line by:
- Enhancing productivity through staff development/training,
- Taking down the walls of HR from that of a secluded department housed in the basement to one that allowed each HR business partner to reside with the team/department which they’re supporting
- Maintaining a “pulse” on the culture to ensure that liability is mitigated, staff retention improves, accountability is enhanced and both employee satisfaction and productivity remain at their optimal levels.
- Being held accountableto employee satisfaction.
In 2017, the role of the HR Business Partner continues to change as competition for talent has once again become highly competitive.
Accordingly, through the recent publication of multiple HR studies, the best practices model for a contemporary HR function today is that of a strategic function. In fact, the leaders of most organizations have experienced firsthand how the recruiting, developing and retaining talent is a core competency to the success of their business. This paradigm shift in how HR is evolving has necessitated yet another change from that of Human Resources Management to Human Capital Management; this change places the emphasis where it should be: on the people or, more specifically, on its talent, as well as the workplace environment and the culture (and not on benefits administration).
For those under 30 that haven’t experienced or realized these sorts of changes, the term Human Capital refers to the collective value of the knowledge, skills, creativity, and other factors of any group of people performing work. The term could describe people within any organization or even an entire country or other geographical areas.
Most often, managers and executives apply this term to the people within their company. Of course, human capital doesn’t define the worth of people, but it does try to define and maximize the economic value of an employee’s skills and experience. Leaders of the most successful companies not only say that they consider employees as their biggest asset, they back it up. They’re staying current and on top of the latest techniques to identify talent, develop their people, and ensure alignment from the mail room to the boardroom.
In order to maximize the value of the organization in 2017, it’s helpful to look at the major human capital trends that will shape the coming years.
- Multigenerational workforce: In 2017, the workforce is both younger and older at the very same time. Millennials will take on critical positions in many companies. At the other end of the generational spectrum, a surprising number of Baby Boomers will choose not to bow out of the workforce at the traditional retirement age either because they want to keep working or still need an income.
- Diversity: We’ve seen more representation of women and minority groups at all levels of organizations in 2017. Not enough, but more. The global nature of business and the relative ease of mobility will lead companies to employ more immigrants. Companies need to have a company culture that values and emphasizes the contributions of different cultures and diverse people.
- Digital tech: Employees aren’t just bringing their minds and bodies to their jobs. In this age of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), they’re even bringing their own mobile devices and computers. In 2017, employers will wrestle with allowing their employees to use their preferred devices while maintaining security.
- The social contract:30 years ago, many high school or college graduates expected to spend their entire career working for a single company. Today’s young employees expect to change companies and even career fields multiple times. In 2017, new members of the workforce will seek engagement and flexibility from their employers.
- Organizational design: In 2017, many companies will work to eliminate the traditional top-down, hierarchical model of an organization. Business will continue to become flatter and even more democratic. Networks of highly interactive teams is a trend that will accelerate in the future.
- Employee experience: Executives will pay greater attention to the employee experience in an effort to retain restless employees. Most companies will have to reexamine the physical, emotional, and technical environment in which their people work. Consultation with an OD specialist can help in this transition.
- HR Tech: In an age of technical innovation, human resource departments will also benefit in the future. HR teams will introduce user-friendly technologies that will let employees manage their benefits online as well as smart apps that help them make decisions. HR tech in 2017 will be fully responsive, social, easy, and integrated.
- Learning:8. Learning:8. Learning: While younger employees may not expect to remain with a company for their entire career, they still want an opportunity to gain skills when they’re just starting out. Leading companies will create sophisticated “learning ecosystems” (or Learning Culture: see previous blog on: How to Create a learning culture.); the purpose is to give workers pathways that provide learning at any place and at any pace. Accordingly, it’s going to be critically important that you emphasize that you organization is one that can be described as a “learning culture.”
- Workforce management: Today’s top companies obsess over analyzing business processes and employee procedures. To compete better in 2017, there will fine tuned procedures that enhance productivity at all levels. Metrics for almost every work function are readily available, and an operational mindset will lead top performers to produce optimal results.
- People analytics: In 2017, predictive talent models will help HR departments recruit and promote the right individuals into the right jobs. These models will be based in part on the qualities of incumbent employees who have been happy and successful in a job or with a company (please view previous blog on “Hiring Right”)
By understanding human capital and the trends that shape it, organizations can improve productivity, reduce turnover, and in the end, earn more profit. Changes in worker expectations, technology, and the business environment cause human capital management to evolve over time. The future is poised to see a radical change in the way we work. Seeing these trends and positioning your organization to take advantage of them should serve any business well going forward.
Call me and let’s discuss: 773-807-8437
Mike Russell is a seasoned professional with three decades of experience in the fields of HR and OD. In addition to having a career trajectory of HR Generalist to a VP within ten years, Mike also has a long and successful background as a Consultant/Business Partner to CEO’s, Presidents and Executive Directors in both the private and non-profit communities across a wide spectrum of industries.
As the sole-proprietor and owner of Organizational Development Solutions (ODS), Mike partners with business leaders committed to insulating their organization(s) from potential liability, increasing organizational effectiveness and adding shareholder value.