Written By: Matthew Hemmings – Corporate Finance
Changing the working organization, identifying new talent, reinforcing commitment, sharing a corporate culture and enhancing the employee experience were the key challenges to Human Resources (HR) at the dawn of 2017. The rise of digital technologies has profoundly transformed society and the world of work. These technologies are pushing organization, recruiting and working models beyond their companies.
A recent survey titled “Rewriting the rules for the digital age”, from Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends, reveals that the first issue of Human Resources is the constant pressure to adapt the organization and design a new ecosystem and networks in which agility plays a central role. The trend is to replace structural hierarchies with networks of teams empowered to take action. And 88 percent of the 10,400 business and HR leaders across 140 countries surveyed by Deloitte rated this topic as important or very important. In financial services, the percentage increased to 92 percent.
As an example, one can quote the long-established Société Générale Group, which recently announced its new organization that aims for a “more horizontal” organization, based on the creation of 17 business units and 10 service units, decreasing the number of hierarchies at the very top level of the group. In the past, most organizations were designed for efficiency, with complicated and siloed organizational structures. The resulting business models were rigid and unsuited to an era of unpredictability and disruption. Instead of mere efficiency, successful organizations must be designed for speed, agility and adaptability to enable them to compete and win in today’s global business environment.
Encouraging networking and a team-centric way of working is felt to be an essential component for an organization to be effective into the future. Today, software has even been proposed to analyse (via internal blogs, e-mails) who are the efficient team players and leaders of the future.
Finding talent is another big challenge that HR will face.
Eighty-two percent of the surveyed businesses and HR leaders in Deloitte’s study estimated finding talent as a top priority in the financial industry (and 81 percent in the overall average). The increased use of new technologies often dictates the new types of talent needed, such as community managers or blog specialists. Integrating them is already a challenge.
For talent acquisition, HR uses social networking, analytics and cognitive tools to find people in new ways, attract them through global brands and determine who will best fit each job, team and company. The popularity of social networks, collaborative platforms and mobile phones are gradually transforming recruitment methods. HR has to be able to create and communicate on an attractive employment brand, as if communicating with clients.
Recruitment with new technologies has reversed relations, and it is more likely now that candidates will contact companies. Therefore, the job search must be attractive and optimized on the corporate website. Aggressive campaigns are also evident on some websites, with the focus on candidates’ interests and using blog posts and a wide range of videos. Deloitte quoted, for instance, Heineken, which developed a series of unconventional videos and web interviews to highlight the employee experience and to set the company apart.
The recruiter is increasingly connected…and has to build the tools to search out the right data.
Improving the employee’s experience appears to HR leaders as an urgent need.
After working hard to improve the customer experience, companies will now have to deploy as much energy to improve the performance of their employees, either by giving them more rewards or by investing more in training and user-friendly workspaces. The concept of a “career” is being shaken to its core, driving companies toward “always-on” learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly, easily and on their own terms.
According to Deloitte’s survey, “careers and learning” rose to second place in rated importance, with 83 percent of executives identifying these issues as important or very important. New learning tools and models have to be found to replace the old static career role and fight against the loss of skills that employees are facing at a quick pace. Building internal skills and constantly integrating new skills into the organization is not that simple, because at the same time employees are also looking for new ways of working for their companies.
One way to retain employees is to provide them with a better work-life balance. This translates into more freedom in the organization, with the possibility of teleworking or working part-time.
Beyond companies, an autonomous workforce is developing progressively.
The market demand for co-working space, private-office space, virtual offices and business services is expected to continue growing rapidly, together with outsourcing many jobs. In the United States, one in three workers is self-employed. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of freelancers, independent contractors and solopreneurs will grow from 30 percent of the workforce today to 40 percent of the total workforce over the next five years. In France, it has increased by 85 percent over the last 10 years.
The trends in HR in 2017 are in fact totally transforming Human Resources management.