Article: Leading in the new normal of work with Adaptable HR

Strategic HR

Leading in the new normal of work with Adaptable HR

Driven by the pandemic, the pace of change is accelerating. The speed at which the HR function transforms itself will determine the ability of businesses to respond to the changing environment.
Leading in the new normal of work with Adaptable HR

Businesses have always faced disruptions and the need to change. COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this by drastically changing the way we work and live. Ultimately, what defines the success of business transformations is the ability of Talent and HR Function to rewire capabilities and drive change in the ways of working. 

In our recent interactions with Business and HR leaders, adaptability is the key element that was emphasised. In the current crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, adaptable organisations are the ones that have mitigated risks and tapped into new opportunities. 

HR can help accelerate the change that is needed to transform organisations, and this observation is supported by the latest edition of Alight Solutions’ State of HR Transformation study, in partnership with People Matters. This study saw participation of over 2,200 respondents from across the region. The study reveals that adaptability is consistently demonstrated by the HR function of organisations which have a clearly defined HR Operating Model, complementing HR Technology Strategy and are disciplined in the new ways of working with business & among HR leaders (business to HR and HR to HR governance). Let’s understand how to get the HR reconfiguration right by looking at Alight’s Framework of Adaptable HRTM. 

Asia Pacific’s largest study on the State of HR Transformation highlights that being adaptable is no longer a choice, it is an imperative; it is the inevitable. 

Click here to find out more about the State of HR Transformation study

Alight’s Framework: Adaptable HR

“HR organisations of the future will find strength from a purpose that is a North Star for everyone that experiences HR and everything that HR does,” said Shaswat Kumar, Vice President & Asia Head - Payroll Advisory and Cloud Solutions, Alight Solutions. 

The three Anchors of Adaptability

“The three essential elements of adaptability are: Commitment to Outcomes, Adoption at Heart, and Navigating to the Future and they are all held together in our ways of working,” said Vikrant Khanna, Partner and Asia Lead - Advisory, Alight Solutions.

Commitment to outcomes

Outcomes are closely aligned with what the organisation, leaders and individuals value. Typically, these break across the traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are HR functional and domain driven.  For HR to deliver the stakeholders’ desired value, there needs to be a joint commitment between Business and HR to agree on the outcomes and deliver them.

Adoption at heart

Adoption matters. Most organisations neglect the adoption and focus more on the implementation of programs. An adoption-driven view to programs ensures completeness of design both on domain and customer centricity. As HR puts on the adoption lens, this should not be a one-time effort. Instead, it is an ongoing effort and HR should constantly seek feedback on the programs.

Navigating to the future

This aspect addresses the most critical question: how can HR shape the future rather than react to it? Program adoption yields actionable insights on program outcomes and effectiveness. This presents an opportunity for HR to use these insights for the ongoing discussions and reviews with Business on HR’s performance and how they are delivering on the expectations of business. This will allow HR to agree on the progress, understand the improvements and gaps of HR performance and drive change with other stakeholders through constant calibration and adjustment. 

Ways of working and Discipline in HR

Ways of working in HR form an important bridge between the anchors of adaptability. These three elements act as bridges as one moves from one anchor to the other. 

Design: The new ways of working will think of design holistically (e.g. from purpose to policy, process, platform, and insights). Outcome driven view of design with customers at the center will not look at program integration but is a new approach to design which should cut across functional silos. This will succeed with enhanced collaboration and project mindset.

Experience: As organisations aim to deliver a frictionless experience, they consider it from the two aspects, service delivery and the channels, which will enable a sustainable and ever-evolving experience. Essential to employee experience is to always seek feedback and look at data for improvements. 

Governance: Being adaptable demands collaboration and data-backed decisions instead of anecdotes. In the study, Outlier Archetypes (organisations that have defined HR Operating Model, HR Technology Strategy and are highly satisfied with their technology stack) are nearly 4 times more confident in their ability to adapt. These organisations drive disciplined governance between Business & HR and within HR; and constantly identify opportunities for improvements and driving changes.

By focusing on the Three Adaptability Anchors and by making changes in internal ways of working (Design, Experience, and Governance), HR function can become more adaptable and enable success of Business Initiatives as organisations navigate to the future. As the study shows, organisations with Adaptable HR have better readiness for future risk, focus on strategic outcomes and adapt to new technology well to drive outcomes.

This article is an excerpt from the Alight Solutions’ State of HR Transformation study. To find out more, click here to view the study. 

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Topics: Strategic HR, #AdaptableHR

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