Strategic HR needs to think proactively and be future-ready to ensure that the organisation and its leaders sustain its competitive edge
Research by The Strategist & People Matters
The corporate scenario and T20 is surprisingly similar in terms of crushed timelines, faster results, higher commercial stakes, quick decision-making by leaders, greater expectations and influences from stakeholders and highly volatile emotions, to list a few. In this changing scenario, business is evolving its model and methodologies; HR is no more isolated and hence, is under tremendous pressure to adapt. This calls upon strategic HR to think proactively and be future-ready to ensure that the organization and its leaders sustain its competitive edge. Presented here are the 13 trends, which India Inc. must look out for and their implications for HR professionals going forward. These Top 13 HR Trends have been shortlisted from a long list of trends keeping in view the Indian subcontinent as a focus area.
Trend 1: Converting events into experiences
The coming year will see employee-experience management becoming a critical concern that will demand HR’s attention. This principle is an extension of transforming great customer experiences to employees also, because happy employees ensure happy customers. Thus, the focus of HR leaders will be on creating a positive experience for employees by measuring impact not output. The key for the same is not looking at employee engagement activities as mere checklist events, but as avenues to create positive experiences in 2013.
Trend 2: Recycling talent to save mother organization
Businesses are under tremendous stress to ensure sustained profitability even with rising prices of raw material, people cost and further challenged by the slowing economy across industries. Workforce planning has emerged as the top focus area to ensure that all employees are not only rightfully deployed, but also optimally utilized. HR will have to acquire a broader lens and explore the opportunity of relocating employees within or outside the organization. The trend will also see pampering of employees who respond better to picking up new skills. Resourcing strategy will see inclusion of new parameters like flexibility of candidates, ability to learn new things, agility, etc.
Trend 3: Gen Y readiness
As Gen Y not only forms a formidable part of the workforce, but also starts taking the center stage, today it is an interesting challenge for HR and leadership. HR will have to build the bridge between members from diverse generations. 2013 will see formation of joint employee committees by HR, who will review policies and practices to make them relevant to all categories of employees. Reverse mentoring (Gen Y as mentor and others as participants) will gather momentum; and all policies, practices and processes would come up with a mandated expiry date, to ensure that they stay current and relevant.
Trend 4: Guard the guardians
During 2013, the general perception that ‘leaders’ are expected to be extra strong and hence, immune from burnout, which is the flip side of high profile (high compensation) roles, will see a change. Extra pressure is resulting in burnout of top leaders leaving the future of organizations insecure without able and sustained leaders.
HR will need to go back to the drawing board to devise strategies and plans, which will not only facilitate balancing this damage, but also highlight the need for succession planning. Compulsory leave for leaders; unwritten protocol on usage of Smartphone and technology; and a culture of ‘being 24x7 isn’t fashionable’, are thoughts that will be propagated stongly.
Trend 5: Entry of the exit strategy
Ensuring that the right profile is sourced the first time is now a function of science and not of trial and error. Using statistical methods to study the data of employees quitting (within the stickiness period) and employees who have stayed back, will provide great insights into who are the right resources (demographic and other elements) to source.
In 2013, HR’s energy will be spent on ensuring that data pertaining to employees is organized in a fashion, which is accessible and manageable. Rebuilding the sourcing strategy including talent landscaping on an annual basis will take precedence.
Trend 6: Neighbor’s envy, owner’s trouble
Social media and free flow of information are ensuring that employees are sharing more than ever and more quickly among themselves. HR will no more operate in isolation; it has to accept that employees are going to envy neighbors (competitors) and raise issues. 2013 will witness HR working along with internal communications to propagate social media as an effective medium of communicating and connecting with all.
Trend 7: Don’t rain money on train(ing)
In 2013, calculating the ROI / training effectiveness will be no more a ‘Good to Have’ fashion statement but a harsh reality of business demand. HR‘s agenda will be to invest more time on design of the training program, so that it is in line with the participant’s needs. HR will go further to monitor the implementation of learning by having participants at workplace under the watchful eyes of managers and drive-in hard bargains with faculty, wherein we may see a trend where faculty fees will have a variable component related to feedback of the trainer.
Trend 8: Transforming mercenaries into monks
Single digit increments are a reality and are here to stay. Employees, organizations and HR have to align to this harsh reality. In 2013, employee engagement will move away from monetary elements more than ever. HR will propel a new mindset among employees, which is far away from that of mercenaries (where money is the primary excitement to execute a task) to the outlook of a monk (where purpose or task is the primary motivator). Senior leadership will spend more time in engagements, such as, walk-the-talk, coffee sessions, passion talks, etc.
Trend 9: Who am I?
Who am I and how do you perceive me? Companies will have to relook at what kind of employer brand will excite employees across generations? What kind of employer brand will be able to evolve to keep it relevant with dynamic changes? In 2013, the current Employee Value Preposition (EVP) will go through the litmus test, with each generation validating its relevance and excitement. The EVP will be communicated more than ever on digital mediums ranging from career pages on websites, to organization Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. The EVP will be extended and calibrated across the employee lifecycle to ensure consistent experience before and after association of the employee.
Trend 10: Dreams won’t slow down in slowdown
Aspirations do not slow down in the slowdown, but actually elevate. Managing aspirations of hi-potentials (Hi-Pos) in a slow economy with limited opportunities and resources would require innovative solutions and more hands-on approach than ever before. In 2013, dedicated account managers within HR will manage hi-potentials just like we witness the sales and marketing teams managing critical clients. Deputations to other organizations on short duration will gather momentum to keep up employee excitement levels. Senior management will spend more time with hi-potentials by acting as their anchors and sponsors in their careers.
Trend 11: Exit is just a comma, not a full-stop
Employees who have exited (alumni) are often given a second class citizen treatment. The new trend will see alumni as a great source of an outside-in perspective on many initiatives which organizations plan. Alumni will contribute to sourcing new hires and business development besides themselves being potential talent that organizations would like to hire back. Formal alumni associations will be encouraged by the organizations with considerable visibility in social networking sites. Dedicated plans and communication platforms will gather thrust to ensure constant flow of information and views. Employer branding analysis and sounding boards are some of the areas where alumni will play a greater role. HR will need to change tracks to capture the pulse of its alumni network for the benefit of business.
Trend 12: Out of sight can’t be out of mind and heart
As work-from-home and virtual work environment become popular, there will be increased attention given to engaging the virtual workforce. A priority for HR leaders in 2013 will be to ensure the virtual workforce is given the same priority and attention (or even more) than physical workforce, to ensure that business stays energized towards its purpose. 2013 will see constant and customized communication forming the backbone of engaging the virtual workforce. Customized engagement programs with special budgets will capture space and mindset in engagement calendars, and engagement scores of virtual workforce will be a unique measurement component in CHRO dashboard besides the overall engagement score.
Trend 13: Can’t ignore need for socialization
2013 will see the evolution of HR focusing on building and adapting to more in-house social media tools, which will allow socialization without compromising productivity or other business priorities. Traditional socialization tools like communities, hobby clubs, etc. will also gain importance. Intranet will form the platform for interactions, and strong social media policy, and ‘code of conduct’ will come into effect in organizations with sensitive business models.