With a blink of an eye, we are down to the final days of 2018. It was a productive year, to say the least, and one that has brought upon plenty of learning and reflections.
While the HR space hasn’t transformed dramatically over the past year, I’ll say that there are things that have shown great potential to shift the needle in 2019 that will be important to take note of moving forward into the new year.
Community building and partnerships help grow your competencies
We see many HR conferences taking place. Plenty of active HR communities both online and offline. Numerous HR networking events and drinks session to allow like-minded professionals to mingle and exchange thoughts.
Why? For the very reason that there is a need for the HR community to look beyond their existing organization and learn from the market. That said, what’s even more effective is the opportunity to learn from non-HR practitioners – for instance tech and business people, because while you want to grow your HR knowledge, it’s equally valuable to be exposed to other areas to understand how it goes hand in hand to complement the work that you do within HR.
While HR has always complained about not having a seat on the table, I’ll urge my peers to think of how you can better equip yourselves to be respected by the business leaders. Give them no reason to ignore you and become more indispensable as the days go on.
Make technology your ally instead of a threat
We’ve heard a lot about analytics, AI and HR technology. Like it or not, it is here to stay and will, in fact, be increasing its presence in the HR landscape.
Interestingly, while there is an increase in the number of HR Tech tools and talks about the importance of having all these technologies in the workplace, the adoption rate for the tools doesn’t seem to be as fast as the influx of such platforms.
Could it be due to the apprehension of HR practitioners who are operations-focused worrying that they might be replaced? Perhaps they are not familiar or confused with so many new technological tools being introduced into the market today? Or could it also be a result of HR folks not being as tech-savvy since that wasn’t a requirement back in the days or even part of the training in school? Well, it’s probably a combination and very much dependent on the stage of readiness that varies from professional to professional.
While we are not expecting HR to become the ones championing technology, it is imperative for professionals in this space to be adequately familiar with and capable of working alongside it. When that happens, technology becomes a true ally rather than a threat that many may perceive at present.
Adopt an open, agile mindset when dealing with the changing workforce
One of the key challenges that I’ve heard frequently is dealing with the changing workforce mix and in particular, handling the Millennial generation. This group of employees appears to be a misfit, often doing things very differently and perhaps, being perceived by many as not being the best employees that you are used to seeing. The question then, is that really the case?
Very often, stereotypes stem from assumptions. And the reason for assumptions? A lack of willingness to empathize and communicate further! By having multiple channels in place to allow open communication, you will be surprised by what you can find and how different it could be from your original perception.
Understanding that the workforce dynamics is changing and putting in place new ways to better attract and engage talents will be key in the highly mobile and competitive talent landscape. Only through constant experimentation, communication and having an agile approach will you as an HR professional be able to help the organization adapt in today’s fast-changing business environment.
Tell your story to build engagement and advocacy in the market
Within the Asian community, it is not typical that people share their stories and vulnerabilities openly. While you hear a lot of interesting stories when you engage with individuals behind the scenes, the comfort level to put the said content in public for the varying purposes such as branding, recruitment etc, is usually not there.
That said, Asians are still hungry to learn about the stories of others. Through storytelling, you often derive great insights that inspire actions and new ideas that can be implemented back at your respective organizations. As the old saying goes, “Facts tell, stories sell!”. Stories can connect with individuals at both the rational and emotional level which is key to getting the buy-in.
From an HR perspective, it is tough to constantly compete on the monetary or tangible front because resources are limited. However, if you are able to position yourself effectively with the right story to amplify the message, you can easily gain an edge in the talent market. The emotional connection can be way more powerful than you ever imagine.
Are the above elements new? Not really. Rocket science? Definitely not!
Sometimes, what it takes is a simple reminder and taking a step back to have a neutral view on things. By seeing things without a tinted HR lens, you will be surprised by the realization that can be derived from the reflection.
With that, I wish all of you a fruitful 2019 ahead. Go change the world my fellow HR comrades!