Change is not constant. It is exponential
With businesses getting disrupted at an unprecedented rate along with the challenges posed by an intergenerational workforce, organizations all over the world are trying to keep up with the momentum of the technological evolution in all aspects of the business and workplace.
Fast Change, Fast Growth – Demands of the future
It is not technology alone that is impacting the business world, government regulations, global economic and geo-political influences are also constantly changing. Demonetization and introduction of GST have kept our Indian CEOs as much on their toes.
Despite the mix of constant changes, 95 percent of the CEOs participating in the Aon Best Employers 2017 study revealed that their organizations were on a fast/steady growth trajectory. No wonder, almost 50 percent of the CEOs listed Product/Service Innovation as their primary focus area for meeting business goals. And more than 40 percent stated that Government regulations and Operational efficiency as the key challenges impeding their organization’s ability to succeed.
A close view on employees’ perception of leadership presents a revealing insight.
Senior leaders continue to make good decisions and the same is recognized by the employees. However, in the era of constant change, are the leaders inspiring employees enough?
Interestingly, organizations across the board have focused on the tangible and de-prioritized the inspirational. None of the participant organizations are investing discrete time and money into building “story-telling” capabilities with its leaders. Isn’t it counter-intuitive to not focus on such skills in times of managing such fast change and fast growth?
Is HR supporting growth through product/service innovation? 95 percent of the CEOs participating in the Aon Best Employers 2017 study revealed that their organizations were on a fast or steady growth trajectory; and almost 50 percent of the CEOs listed product or service innovation as their primary focus area for meeting business goals
76 percent of CEOs say organization’s HR strategy is framed in collaboration with business – an obvious response to this would be an emphatic, YES! But, why is it that 65 percent of CEOs believe and say that HR is unable to demonstrate its ROI through metrics? Aon’s data indicates that only 24 percent of HR teams claim that they are focused on HR effectiveness and metrics. If the CEOs faith in HR outcomes has to be strengthened, HR needs to measure talent metrics through the lens of business needs. Presuming HR has achieved reasonable maturity on operational (cost heavy) processes, it now needs to strengthen efforts around measuring and driving innovation and change.
Driving a culture of innovation
According to the Aon research, Getting Real about Creating a High Performance Culture, published in 2016, 5 critical experience drivers (besides Senior Leadership) impact creation of required culture:
1) Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)
2) Enabling Infrastructure (Tools & Resources)
3) Talent & Staffing (Capacity & Capability)
4) Empowerment & Autonomy
Interestingly, all these are strengths for Aon Best Employers in 2017, with D&I being the top most. In addition, these were also the drivers we had highlighted last year as ones critical for an organization’s future success.
Notwithstanding the above, the most impactful culture driver, Inspirational Leadership, continues to elude even the best as its strength, now second year in a row (an interesting fact – women on an average represent only 0.2 percent of the senior leadership amongst the participants).
But, how should HR measure progress on building an innovative culture? While almost one-third of the CEOs say they have not aligned their organization structure/resources to the required culture, the Aon Best Employers breed culture through multiple channels.
HR leaders of tomorrow need to proactively map organizational capability needs to the future strategy of the firm; imbibe data and analytics into predictive decision-making; and architect and assess desired shift to the organizational culture
Learning & Development
In an era of change, learnability is more important than structured learning programs. Not only does this allow for innovation, it also encourages collaboration amongst co-workers. Aon Best Employers have been effectively leveraging technology to:
• Engage learners across generations
• Enable uniform and ongoing skill-building initiative
• Overcome limitations of classroom-based training format, and
• Increase the reach of learning
They are also employing extensive use of social media and digital tools in addition to using them as knowledge-sharing platform for their employees. As indicated above, Best organizations strategize and deploy initiatives by leveraging better social and digital technology than the Market Average.
Work-life balance and health & wellbeing
Amongst the other drivers predicted in 2016 by Aon to be critical to an organization’s future, these two have truly come of age. Both are now a part of the Top 5 improvement drivers for Aon Best Employers.
The underlying philosophy that health and wellbeing lead to enhanced performance is not merely intuitive, but also data-driven. Health & wellbeing has a very strong correlation (0.76) with performance, thus validating the above fact.
However, merely initiating a health & wellbeing programs isn’t sufficient —100 percent Aon Best Employers evaluate their programs and 94 percent closely monitor and track employee feedback. A few go beyond and make it their organization’s purpose and raison d’etre (reflected through brand).
Long standing HR imperatives: Career opportunities & rewards
With transformations in business models and changing demographics at the workplace, employees are striving to achieve excellence in varied functions/geographies. The Aon Best Employers have adapted to these expectations and re-aligned career frameworks to cater to the changing employee aspirations. For most organizations, career development still means upward mobility, however, 89 percent Aon Best Employers offer incremental roles, promotions across functions and special project assignments. Similarly, despite Rewards & Recognition being one of most important drivers of engagement, businesses are facing challenges in improving employee perception. As the business models shift towards contract and freelance economy, such flexible rewards and recognition programs could be the way forward for most. So where does this leave the HR in the future?
Next-gen HR: Crusader of Change As the business models shift towards contract and freelance economy, such flexible rewards and recognition programs could be the way forward for most
HR leaders faced with evolving organizational expectations can help navigate this change if they fully immerse themselves in the business and integrate their roles deeply into organizational outcomes. It is not a question of business strategy driving HR, or vice versa. It should be a well-balanced approach that weighs both synergistically. HR leaders of tomorrow need to:
• Proactively map organizational capability needs to the future strategy of the firm
• Imbibe data and analytics into predictive decision-making and strengthen its credibility
• Architect and assess desired shift to the organizational culture
An amalgamation of the above skills will enable and truly elevate its new role to NextGen HR.