The year 2022 offers us a number of opportunities to reimagine the employee landscape. In devising new strategies for your business transformation, people strategy will continue to be a key ingredient as organisations offer continuous opportunities for their employees' growth and development. In a recent conversation with People Matters, Jamie Kuhnhausen,VP, People & Operations, CommerceIQ, touches upon the importance of innovative leadership this new year, how automation can play a pivotal role in creating equitable access to relevant information and the importance of employee enablement at all levels of the employee lifecycle.
Jamie is an experienced people leader whose background spans eCommerce, professional services, technology, and medical device industries. Prior to joining CommerceIQ, Jamie held similar roles at Slalom, Solavei, Dye Management Group, Spacelabs Healthcare, and most recently as Senior Director, People & Culture, at Ideoclick. Jamie comes from a diverse background, having led large teams at global publicly traded companies, and establishing early HR infrastructure for several hyper growth start-ups.
Here is our exclusive interview:
Q. As we slowly inch towards a post-pandemic world, what are some of the trends and challenges that will continue to impact the HR domain in the coming year?
Companies will have to create new innovative ways to connect with and onboard employees as organisations embrace remote and hybrid work arrangements. This will need to go beyond how to get better at Zoom and work via video conferencing. As employers, we will need to find ways to better enable our employees so location is not a factor. We need to rethink how we engage and prepare employees to be successful.
Q. With 'The Great Resignation' being one of the chief concerns in the talent hunt, what would be some of the priorities for organisations in the year 2022?
In the absence of hallway walk-by's, companies have an opportunity to leverage new technologies to keep employees connected. Working remotely makes the ability to find and access information more critical than it was when you could easily ask the person in the desk next to yours. At the pace that employees are switching jobs, companies have an opportunity to retain good employees by making sure they have access to everything they need to be successful. For new employees, the information they need to become immersed in your business must be made accessible.
Q. What are some of the best practices in sustaining your organisational culture?
In this new work environment where so much is happening remotely and via video conference, the challenge for leaders is how to "show up" in a way that clearly reflects the behaviours supportive of your company's values. Leadership doesn't have the same natural opportunities they may have had before, if they spent 8+ hours in an office interacting with teams. Leaders need to be intentional about finding opportunities to engage with their employees that would allow them to reflect aspects of their values back to the team in ways that are genuine and frequent. This can be through All-Hands meetings, leadership roundtable meetings, casual gatherings, and the like.
Q. With HR transformation driven by data and people analytics, what is the role of digital tools in organisational growth?
With remote work becoming so prevalent, giving employees access to data and information digitally – which they otherwise would have asked someone for in an office – will be a requirement. We are already seeing AI being used to help serve up this information. In the near future, we'll be able to use an app to ask: "When is our next pay day?" or "How many PTO hours have I accumulated?" Or say: "Register me for the next Excel training class". As employers, we have an opportunity to make it easier for our employees to do good work and remove administrative burden.
Q. As an HR leader, what are some of your top priorities for 2022?
Employee Enablement – we have an opportunity to reimagine onboarding. How do we as employers become excellent at enabling our employees to succeed? It's a heavy task at the beginning of the employee lifecycle, but it carries throughout their time with the company and should be addressed that way. As a company, at CommerceIQ, we are developing an Employee Enablement program that addresses the learning, development, and resource needs of employees at every stage of their growth with our company.
Q. Finally, what are some lessons from the past year that you would like to share with fellow HR leaders, as they re-invent their organisations and start a new chapter in their business and people strategy?
Use your data. Business is moving faster, and we have new complexities with changing ways of working and employees moving jobs in such high numbers. There is no better way to get clarity around priorities or to gain support for programs or funding than by vetting and validating ideas with your data.