Article: Reinventing HR solutions for a brave new 2014

Strategic HR

Reinventing HR solutions for a brave new 2014

A People Matters-The Strategist research showcases New Year resolutions that will reenergize the HR function in the New Year
Reinventing HR solutions for a brave new 2014

It is time for companies to start exploring the utility of seminars/ conferences for training as they are good platforms for networking and as adults we learn more quickly with experiential sharing


When it comes to trusting information from social media by applicants, most of them trust social sites to know about the reputation of the company in the industry and its work culture


And another year has gone by! Like Romans who began each year by making promises to Janus -the God of beginning and after whom the month January is named; this is that time of the year when we make our resolutions for 2014.

And while we are at the topic of Gods, this year let us take inspiration from The Hindu Trinity – Lord Brahma (the creator), Lord Vishnu (the preserver), & Lord Shiva (the destroyer). As Brahma signifies creation and beginnings there are certain practices which HR needs to commence and start exploring. In the same way as Vishnu personifies creation and continuity, there are certain effective measures that can be renewed and continued even this year. As for Shiva, who symbolizes destruction and end, it is high time that we put an end to some habits and approaches that have proved wrong not only from the employees’ perspective but from the business viewpoint as well.

All our resolutions stem from the findings and resultant action items of this year’s HR researches published by The Strategist. These resolutions are based on the areas which have emerged important from employees’ and business perspectives and will subsequently improve and reenergize the HR function this year.


Be the Agent for Socialization

My Resolution: “I will start leveraging internal social media applications to satisfy my employees’ need to stay connected & socialize”

Our research shows that a majority (87 per cent) of employees use social media for personal benefits, such as gathering general information and sharing personal interests. Businesses need to understand this need and must strive to fulfill it by creating company specific social networks via internal applications. Doing it will not only address the employees’ fundamental need to stay connected but will have far-reaching consequences by improving employees’ engagement and in turn their productivity.

Publicize your Rockstars

My Resolution: “I will start using new avenues for recognition of my employees like company Facebook, LinkedIn etc.”

When asked whether recognition on social media sites encourages employees to perform better, 67 per cent responded affirmatively while 33 per cent disagreed with the same. HR can use social media as a platform to felicitate and reward employees (star performer, employee of the month etc.). Putting their pictures on company Facebook page helps but giving them recommendations on LinkedIn, tweeting about them, mentioning them on company blogs are some of the other ways to make employees feel like company rockstars.

Mutual Respect

My Resolution: “I will start sharing job descriptions & interview panel profiles with my prospective candidates”

It is unfortunate that currently there are still close to 56 per cent of the recruiters who do not share the job descriptions with prospective candidates after screening the candidate’s resume and contacting them or even before inviting them for a face-to-face interview. A whopping 76 per cent of the recruiters also admitted that the interview panel members’ profiles are never disclosed to the candidate. Detailed and clearly defined descriptions not only help present a clear picture of expectations but also help them figure out whether they are suitable for the job and remove ambiguity and confusion. Sharing interview panel profiles not only demonstrates respect towards prospective employees but also enables them to be better prepared and eliminates the element of ‘surprise’, which is irrelevant in the current age of connected world.

The Learning Potluck

My Resolution: “I will start utilizing networking as a learning medium for my employees”

It is time companies start exploring the utility of seminars/ conferences for training as they are good platforms for networking and as adults we learn more quickly with experiential sharing. In doing so, the L&D function has to ensure that a robust process of documentation exists to capture learning through networking. Networking makes learning an ongoing, open-ended process, which is self-directed and explorative in nature.

Let the Games Begin

My Resolution: “I will start exploring learning through gamification, and storytelling”

Using gamification in training is found to be effective for increasing level of interest in training and better engagement. They are considered most effective for ‘Soft skills training’ and ‘Trainings during Induction’. Another emerging area storytelling is also considered safe as it connects individuals through emotions and is ideal to engage all generations. However, companies should be cautious about going overboard with gamifying as some programs require human touch, exploration, debates and group dynamics.

Game for Big Data Insights

My Resolution: “I will start exploring Predictive Analytics for obtaining Insights in Big Data”

The insights hidden in Big Data today are innumerable. Predictive analytics solutions are the best way to unearth t hose. The area in which its benefits have been proven is recruitment. Predictive analytics for big data can be utilized in recruitment not only to manage applicant volume, but also to identify best hiring sources, and improve candidate selection in hiring process. Furthermore it can also be explored for areas of performance management, engagement and rewards among others.


The Book is Judged by its Cover

My Resolution: “I will continue using social media to track my employer brand & reputation”

Most candidates trust social sites to know about the reputation of the company in the industry and its work culture. Respondents shared that rely heavily on social media to know more about a job role. HR needs to capitalize on this opportunity to represent genuine and positive content on social media traffic about the company, its work culture and the specific jobs. Necessary steps should also be taken by organizations to manage sites such as, as 53 per cent are not currently managing them.

Commanding the discussions about company on blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook etc. is critical for HR in order to set the right mood for prospective employees and other stakeholders.

Design Defines Delivery

My Resolution: “I will continue insourcing design and outsourcing faculty”

A large share (73 per cent) of India’s L&D leaders believe that when it comes to training delivery, external resources are more effective. 27 per cent of the companies believe that internal resources can be effective in delivery too. And when enquired about effectiveness of internal vs. external resources for design, 75 per cent are of the opinion that design responsibility should be best held internally. In order to achieve the right balance between utilizing internal and external resources; in-house trainings can be conducted for company specific policies, products/ services, or operations; whereas external trainings are the way to go when employees are to be trained on specialized skills.

It’s a Comma not Full stop

My Resolution: “I will continue exploring how to engage with my alumni (for referrals & strengthening my employer brand and other dipstick studies)”

When asked whether they would connect with previous employer via social media after exit 62 per cent responded affirmatively. Since the alumni are quite willing to connect with the past employer, companies need to figure out how HR can create potential goodwill through electronic word-of-mouth. Alumni can not only act as brand ambassadors for the organization but can also serve as a great sample for dipstick studies to preview policy change impact, areas of improvement etc.

My Best Friend is my Manager

My Resolution: “I will continue being a friend, philosopher, and guide for my Gen Y (& not a gatekeeper)”

Gen Y in general is more self-assured and certain of taking decisions. They want their managers to be more of a friend, philosopher and guide rather than a decision maker. Being a friend, philosopher, and guide to Gen Y is the best way to bond with them. This approach helps managers to understand their way of working, life’s motivations and the challenges they face. Managers can also benefit from this equation as they can learn from Gen Y through reverse mentoring which is also a great way for millenials to demonstrate their unique skills.


The Magic of 90

My Resolution: “I will stop having learning sessions of more than 90 minutes”

When asked about the ideal time period for a training session, majority of the companies (45 per cent) believe that 90 minutes is ideal. For one complete day of training (approximately 6 hours), modules should be designed in such a way that employees undergo training for 4 sessions, of 90 minutes each i.e. 4x90 minutes. It is interesting to note that many respondents during their conversation also shared that post 45 minutes the faculty should do a ‘stop check ‘and proceed further.

With microlearning being the next wave in learning, 90 minutes of magic could be entire training session time in years to come.

Differential Generations Differential Rewards

My Resolution: “I will stop having a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to rewards and will structure differential rewards for different employee generations”

The three main generations at work viz. Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y have varying life’s priorities and motivations. Similarly, their fixed & variable pay expectations, and incentive requirements are widely divergent. Even their benefits requirements (health, retirement, vacation) are worlds apart. Each generation is comfortable with a different combination of performance process, feedback and recognition. Gone are the days when a single total rewards strategy addresses the needs of every generation. The ultimate goal for Compensation & Benefits professionals will be to develop a made-to-order reward scheme for every single employee based on his/ her preferences.

Work-Life - from Nice 2 Need 2

My Resolution: “I will stop neglecting work life balance as low priority and start addressing it on priority”

Be it Generation X, Generation Y, or even Baby Boomers, maintaining work-life balance is vital for all, even though it may mean different things for different generations. Overdose of 24x7 connectivity, long working hours, globalization are some of the reasons that made them feel the need to respect personal and vacation time. The key here is to create happy employees…those who would be happier, more productive and therefore more engaged.

Open Hearts & Open Minds

My Resolution: “I will stop the mindset of not sharing the critical policy information just because the prospect has not joined yet (e.g. organization values, sexual harassment policy, rating process in performance management, leave & working hours etc.)

It is striking that companies do not share important policies and guidelines with potential employees before they join (39 per cent). Only 16 per cent share it voluntarily whereas 19 per cent share key policy information only when asked for. Sharing key procedures, policies, and guidelines is beneficial both ways. Potential candidates can figure out what to expect and the practice eliminates surprises when they join. The company benefits by hiring only those who share the same values and are comfortable with the policies and procedures.

Conclusion: 2014 is Chinese year of the Horse – an animal who inspires us to pursuit freedom, helps us win battles and gives us a ride to our destination. Let HR play that role this coming year. Let it help us reach where we want by overhauling, repairing, fixing, renovating, and reinventing our practices and solutions, thereby re-energizing what we do and how we do it!

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Topics: Strategic HR, #ExpertViews, #Social Media

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