“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
A powerful and timeless quote can be aptly applied in the corporate world. In the fast-evolving business landscape, organizations have a multitude of challenges. How they deal with them reveals their readiness to embrace the future and their appetite for real transformation. New challenges need newer solutions, not recycling the old solutions or "doing more of the same".
Let’s break some corporate myths to help HR leaders stay ahead and not get blind-sighted by the old wisdom!
#1 Bigger the degree better the candidate: Showcasing your skills is more important than degrees in today’s work environment. There has been a significant shift at various companies wherein a college degree is not a qualifier for an interview any more and we are not talking start-ups here - the list includes global giants such as Apple, Google, EY and Starbucks. Surely a premier degree counts but is not a golden ticket anymore. Employers are more outcome focused than ever before and want to bet on people who get the desired results not a fancy resume.
#2 Key Competencies are merely good to have: They are a must-have today, ahead of education and experience. Organizations strengthen and sharpen their competency frameworks over decades and the agile ones are using it as a lens for talent acquisition now, moving away from the traditional format of testing job know-how and seeking academic excellence.
#3 Learning happens in classrooms: Companies in the last two decades have invested heavily in building infrastructure for developing their employees in a physical classroom setting away from work - meanwhile slowly and sturdily the definition of work itself has been evolving over time. The emergence of online and affordable learning opportunities is trumping the traditional format by being more cutting edge, relevant and experiential. The lines between being at work and being in a safe haven of workshop is merging and the two are not separate anymore. Learning can happen anytime anywhere!
#4 Annual Appraisals are institutionalized: Companies hanging onto it will find themselves challenged in the new future as the relevance of feedback after a year may not sit well with the workforce of today especially with millennial entering the workforces in hordes. Quarterly or at least half-yearly dialogues are critical to ensure the process stays relevant.
#5 Succession planning is exclusively for top management: Not anymore; while succession planning for C-suite is mandatory, it's imperative companies focus on critical roles especially at mid-level as losing talent impacts delivery of company strategy. Further, investing in a good talent pool at mid-level ensures the availability of a steady stream of candidates for horizontal and vertical movements within the company, thereby enhancing retention levels.
#6 What gets measured gets done: Yes, in the last decade maybe! Of course, analytics is the way to go but getting too obsessed with metrics can also lead to missing the big picture entirely. You may win a race at the cost of everything but your competitors may have already started a different race!
#7 Social media is for chilling only: Digital footprints are permanent and are just like tattoos - may reflect your mood on a particular day but embarrass you on another day. We need to watch out what we put out there - employers are spending time on this before they make an offer to you! It pays to use the mediums available to us in a responsible manner.
#8 Culture eats strategy for breakfast: Possibly. All the other slots are reserved for Purpose - employees today need to feel engaged, be happy, believe they are meaningfully contributing and are valued. A tall order but a key differentiator for companies to succeed tomorrow.
#9 Diversity is most critical in today's workspace - "yes! But even more is inclusion.
Be it an organization or a nation, inclusive behavior can be a game changer. For every skill we need to upgrade, there is a mindset we need to let go of.
#10 Don’t like Math? Go join HR - the Favorite topic of the comedy clubs but far from the truth. HR today is going digital, using analytics extensively and leading change. Time will tell but organizations not investing in or empowering their HR functions are bound to lose the war for talent.