6 Trends affecting Strategic Human Resource Management in 2018

HR professionals are at the forefront of adapting to today’s rapidly changing workplace, and The People Summit 2018 highlighted the essential components for the modern HR representatives to not only survive, but thrive, in the modern workplace.

The event showcased a diverse range of speakers from a wide range of organisations — all sharing their diverse knowledge and insights into strategic HR management. Here are some of our key takeaways from the event:

1. Retention is key 

Globally, employment is entering one of its most complex and competitive periods to date. Between macro events and the rapidly evolving needs of employees, People Operations and HR departments need to tool up. The first port of call is keeping the valuable employees you already have. Your employees are the major stakeholders in your business  so make sure that they are both supported and encouraged to remain by your side. Retention is fostered by a great onboarding programme and is improved by creating a positive work culture with strong organisational values. It’s simple, just be an employer that people want to work  and stay working for.  

Pro Tip: SHRM research has shown that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years if they experienced great onboarding. Furthermore, according to a study by Gallup, losing an employee can cost an organisation as much as 150% of his or her annual salary. Hit the ground running to avoid these costs  and get the resources needed to build out retention initiatives.

2. Invest in Leadership Capability

The importance of good leadership is a given  but it’s key in order to quantify the impact of a strong leader on an organisation. Many employees fall into leadership roles through tenure or performance, but unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the skills needed to effectively lead a team. How mindful are you of nurturing leadership skills in your organisation? Good leaders result in teams that are up to three times more productive — which makes investing in your company’s leadership capabilities a worthwhile initiative. Take a look at Salesforce for instance, which recognises the contagion effect of strong leaders by investing in numerous management and leadership programmes.

Pro tip: Are your line managers skilled, able, and motivated? A gap analysis can help to improve the performance across all leadership positions in your organisation.

3. Good Communication – Ego is the Enemy

Communication is another area often taken for granted in the workplace — even though it forms the foundation of most of our day-to-day activities. Consistent and strong communication can reap huge rewards across the board, particularly regarding productivity and retention.

On an individual level, there is a need to manage our natural tendencies and provide an environment where constructive dialogue is the standard. Luke Monahan from the Mediation Foundation of Ireland called out our “fix it” brains as unsuspecting blockers of clear communication. This desire to offer team members quick solutions to their problems without getting to the root of the issue is commonplace, but it leaves a gap for the same thing to reoccur.

Pro tip: Control your impulses when dealing with your employees’ issues. A recent Salesforce report revealed that employees who feel their voices are heard at work are nearly five times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best. So avoid the quick fix and listen closely to understand the problem at hand. Your business’s employee retention and productivity rates will thank you later.

4. Generational IQ

With up to five generations working side by side within an organisation, having a sharp understanding of the demographics of your organisation has never been more necessary. 

Business demographics can be a very effective tool for ensuring a cohesive and successful workplace. Have you mapped the generations of your organisation? How are these generations interacting together? There is a lot to look at when considering the generations in your organisation, not only from the point of view of who is there now and who you want to attract, but how to adapt your communications to translate across these generations.

Pro tip: When looking to attract a Gen Z cohort of employees, parents can be your secret weapon. The Harvard Business Review  has reported that 61% of Millennials listed their parents as the greatest influence in their lives. Utilise this to your advantage  consider the influence of parents when recruiting from the Gen Z demographic.

5. Overcome Inertia with Design Thinking

Successful businesses make employee engagement a central component of their business strategy. But how can you ensure your workers are actively engaged across multiple aspects of your business? Tony Lawless from Irish Life taught the important lesson of how to make even the most mundane topics engaging for employees. By reviewing and investing in the user experience of the Irish Life product line, massive increases in employee participation.

This shows how incorporating design thinking into employee engagements can transform even the dullest of initiatives into high participation employee schemes. And since highly engaged teams show 21% more profitability according to Gallop, injecting some creativity into employee programmes is a worthwhile initiative.

Pro Tip: When trying to get employees to engage in programmes, consider ‘Opt-Out’ versus ‘Opt-In’ mechanisms. It can massively increase participation rates.

6. Include People in Decisions

Involve people in the decisions that affect them  an obvious and simple thought that is just not considered enough. This isn’t to suggest that organisations should be ruled by the crowd. But by taking the time to at least gather and hear feedback from a cross-section of the organisation, decision makers are supplied with useful context and importantly, employees are provided with a voice.

Often by simply asking employees what they want, you can achieve very easy quick wins. Co-creation generates greater buy-in and the majority think so too 89% of HR leaders agree that check-ins and ongoing peer-feedback are vital for successful outcomes.

Pro Tip: Action is better than inaction. Make things easy to implement by keeping it simple. 

Effective HR management can be the key to success in today’s dynamic working environment. But in order for your organisation to witness success, you need a modern HR function to match your contemporary surroundings. On that note — What small actions can you begin to take to improve your workplace?

If you’re looking to kick-start your human resource strategy, get in touch today. 

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