Most HR leaders in the APAC region said their organizations are not ready to face the challenges of the future primarily because of a lack of a “right” organizational culture.
Only 15 percent of HR leaders in Asia said their company was “ready for the future.” Leadership development and “building the right culture” are two major factors that worry CHROs, according to a study conducted by the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI) and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).
“As Asian (and global) organizations continue to grapple with the pace of disruption while managing their day-to-day operations, they will have to learn how to juggle two sets of priorities with seemingly different skill-sets and mindsets. Such a shift may need organizations to almost rewire their cultural and operational DNA,” the study states.
Being ready for the future is not just about learning new technologies consistently. It is about creating a set of employees who create a symbiotic balance of various perspectives and capabilities. A culture that enables employees with different expertise and backgrounds to succeed is essential to becoming future-fluent.
The “right culture” is not only a good thing to have for HR leaders, the respondents said. In fact nine out of 10 leaders who were surveyed said that the right organizational culture provides a “competitive advantage” to the entire company.
Traditionally, the HR department’s role has been to implement the values stipulated by the CEOs. In the race to become future-fluent, shaping a company’s culture has become a joined responsibility that is influenced by the business department, top leadership and HR professionals.
Even though values are in place, the journey towards cultural transformation is filled with roadblocks. For example, leaders must actively implement the company values that they want to see among their employees. That’s where initiating development through leadership comes into the picture.
About 42 percent of Asia’s CHROs said leadership development is a top priority for them. The next major priority is “building the ‘right’ organization culture” for 41 percent of the CHROs who participated in the survey.
Keeping up with the fast pace of change is a primary concern for most of the CHROs. Balancing their current responsibilities and roles and undergoing a cultural transformation simultaneously is an organizational challenge that many leaders are facing today.
“We always worry about the probability of change and risk associated with that, but now we need to worry about the speed of change well; a new environmental regulation, for instance, can wipe off a manufacturing in some industries almost overnight,” said a leader who participated in the study.
Competing priorities is a key barrier to future-readiness for at least 53 percent of the CHROs who participated in the survey. While 32 percent said technology limitations were slowing them down, 64 percent cited a lack of right organization culture as a reason for not being ready for the future.
For 88 percent of the respondents, a perfect organizational culture is “very critical” while 92 percent of the participants felt that it is a source of “competitive advantage.”
About 75 percent of the respondents did say their organization is taking some steps towards becoming future-prepared while 10 percent said their companies were not ready at all.
Even though an organizational culture is shaped by the CXOs, everyone looks to the HR leaders to guide them in the process. To that end, HR plays four major roles in any organization: an advisor to the leadership, a facilitator to guide the employees, a guardian of values and company culture and an auditor who measures the company’s performance in terms of how well has the culture worked for the employees’ productivity and future-readiness.