Blue Ocean Strategies for HR
To rethink the HR function, one needs to be tech savvy and curious
What is a Blue Ocean strategy in HR? I don’t know. Maybe I should ask what would be considered blue enough – a new form of hiring. Does HR need to find a new way to engage employees or to develop talent? Maybe HR professionals should find a new way to grow the business. Could the blue ocean opportunity lie in customizing the employment experience? Let 2015 be the ‘Year of Digitizing HR’.
The Sunrise Sector Advantage
Each time a new sector emerges as a sunrise sector, there is hope for Human Resources to reinvent the function. 2015 will be the Year of e-Commerce. Today it is 1 per cent of Indians who are shopping online. When the country has 1.3 billion people, we know that this is an industry that is going to take off. Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal together form the holy trinity of this sector. They are in the business of changing habits. They will have to start by rethinking who they hire and how they hire.
Other start-ups like Uber have tried to craft their own method of hiring. They focus on finding people who are strong on numerical ability, creative and take decisions based on data. While hiring one of their senior leaders, they asked all the finalists to run a social media campaign to sign up new customers and get them to try out their service. What they have done is to simulate as closely as possible one of the key deliverables of the role. The selected candidate outsold the others by a factor of five. It was not hard to decide who would be successful in that role.
Hiring methods need to be customized to address the needs of the sector, the role and to predict the probability of success of the new hire in the firm. Could there be a hiring approach so unique to the firm that it guarantees the success of a new hire?
What are some of the things they could do?
- Scale up the interview process by using analytics and technology. Leverage the database of candidates who they have selected or rejected to create a profile of who are their successful interviewers.
- Run “Wrong Hire Analytics” on senior leaders who have not been successful hires to understand what is missing in the hiring process.
Leagas Delaney in Germany has designed an app that gives a prospective applicant a copy test. The Copytest app is used to demonstrate the applicants' creativity and talent. Could there be a mobile-based app that helps build the employment brand or one that helps candidates self-select themselves?
Could we use the device to generate alpha waves when we need to solve critical problem? There are already apps available on the smartphones that help people learn, track their goals and lead healthy lives. Every HR process is ripe for disruption. Let this be the “Year of the HR App”.
Reverse Mentoring Conferences
I would like to see conferences invite the freshly minted HR professionals to run entire conferences. Call them Reverse Mentoring Conferences. Attendees should be people who have had more than 10 years of HR experience. No speaker in these conferences should have had more than 3 years of work experience. Why should conferences only invite speakers who have decades of experience?
In a VUCA world, very often past experience is not very useful if one is trying to discover new solutions to problems. Maybe have new conferences where we invite speakers from other disciplines and functions to present how they would rethink the HR function. To rethink the HR function, one needs to be tech savvy and curious. Maybe that is the blue ocean opportunity!