The Now of Work: Building the right HR strategy for employer branding
This pandemic offers an opportunity for organisations across the globe to transform their HR functions and gain successful outcomes in the new world of hiring. Two key areas of focus in this context become employer branding and talent management, each having an impact on the other. Employer branding has to tell an authentic story and offer not just a positive candidate experience but also ensure effective employee engagement throughout the life cycle of a worker in order to maximise the goal of talent management through upskilling and talent retention post the phase of talent acquisition. With a hybrid workforce moving alongside the rapid pace of digital transformation, the vast amount of data available also becomes an important means to leverage employee experience which can be judged through the use of the right metrics. In a recent workshop hosted by People Matters and Indeed, this agenda of employer branding in tangent with candidate experience is taken up by leaders as they deliberate upon what are the strategies HR must take up to achieve the goals they must prioritise in the ‘Now of Work’.
Transforming, rather than transitioning
Our keynote speaker, Jason Averbook, CEO & Co-Founder of Leapgen, provides a unique insight into the world of people and work. He stresses the importance of focusing on the present, the ‘now of work’ rather than planning for the future because the opportunities and challenges that organisations have come to face have to be responded to immediately. We have no idea when this will end. What we do know is that the world of work, the people, the place and the purposes of the organisations in it has dramatically changed.
“We are all in a moment in time when we don’t know a lot of answers. So the concept of working together, the concept of adaptation which is unlearning, the concept of creation becomes important,” shares Jason.
While organisations are inevitably caught up in the transition phase, it is imperative that they make a radical change in the technologies used for HR functions to attain transformation which is the need of the hour. Although there is massive uncertainty and unprecedented challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining labour, leaders must nevertheless act with agility and responsibility in developing a human-centred recovery strategy that offers digital and distributed models of work. Simultaneously, worktech, HR systems, recruiting tools and approaches need to be evaluated for efficacy.
Three key components for transformation:
Jason brings to focus three key components that leaders must bear in mind as they seek to transform:
- Strategy: This involves outlining a vision for success along with deciding upon the metrics that will be used to measure this very success.
- Deployment: As important as it is to develop an HR strategy for employer branding and talent management, one thing which leaders must not overlook is its alignment to the larger goals, values of the organisation.
- ROI (Run, Optimize, Innovate): Strategies must be sustained and must be innovated to derive the greatest value from it for the benefit of the organisation.
Along with these components, we must not forget that while strategies have to be tied to value and measures of success, the heart of everything that HR leaders do lies in the recognition that we are involved with people. The human aspect of HR strategy must never be lost. As people feel increasingly burnt out and betrayed in this pandemic defined world, leaders must be accommodating and develop multiple models of work. The agenda is to be flexible. And while people continue to be digitally connected, there must be greater effort at building and sustaining connections. Lastly, the question that we must find answers to is this: How do we become agile in a fragile world?
2021 digital equation for success
The purpose of an organisation is a deciding factor when it comes to deciding upon the priorities of an HR strategy in terms of employer branding. But this very purpose can be further broken down into four elements, the share of each element in the overall purpose changing with the changing times:
- Mindset/Vision: The vision of an organisation must be agile and open to flexibility when streamlining its larger goals in building an HR strategy and deciding on its priorities.
- Person/Audience: One cannot develop a strategy without understanding the audience and its personas. Talent processes have to be designed based on these critical parameters.
- Journey/Process: Be it leaders or applicants or employees, each go through their own journeys which general feelings and this cannot be overlooked in favour of mechanical, HR processes.
- Solution/Technology: This is crucial for building a strategy ready for digital transformation but at the same time technology needs a foundation in order to be worth something which can be anything from knowledge, company standards, processes, governance and even leaders who follow the outlined processes.
But most importantly, strategies have to be open to continuous innovation. One has to be open to learning without a pre-set agenda. Diversity, inclusion and belonging are important parameters as well because people often seek corporate values that align with their personal values. Moreover, organisations must heavily invest in skilling for accessing and activating new talent pools. The democratisation of workforce experience must go hand in hand in order to make talent loyal, effective, self-driving and agile. And finally, employer branding in telling a story must design the digital workplace in such a fashion that it is grounded in choice, personalisation, inclusion and empathy.
The whole-person approach to employer branding
Earlier, it has been mentioned already that no HR strategy can forego the human aspect, the whole person approach. It comprises of 5 key elements that every leader must pay attention to:
- Physical: Health, safety and a positive environment must be ensured especially when working in a physical space. When it comes to the digital and physical workplace both, the when and where of work must be clearly defined.
- Emotional: The way an employee feels about the work they do is significant so is their response to the challenges and rewards of work.
- Social: Community, creativity, camaraderie must be encouraged, sustained and strengthened to design a workplace with an inviting organisational culture.
- Spiritual: One cannot do without purpose, belief and values when it comes to building employee engagement and enhancing the overall employee experience.
- Intellectual: Finally, access to knowledge and opportunities for growth have to be made available to all employees.
In conclusion, while all organisations will have their own set of priorities in designing an HR strategy that caters to employer branding and talent management, the core of these varied strategies remain the same. It is to enhance the overall employee experience and drive greater employee engagement to meet the challenges of the now of work. Leaders have to be sensitive to the need for transformation and in doing so, pay attention to strategy, deployment and ROI. But they must never forget that at the heart of everything we do in the world of work is people and a human-centric approach is a key to seizing the new opportunities made available in the new world of hiring.