Blink and you’ll miss it. That’s how fast the world of HR seems to be changing. So what does HR actually mean in 2018?
One growing area where the concept of HR is taking on new meaning all the time is talent management. Talent managers look to get the most out of employees and ensure that the work ecosystem remains healthy and prosperous. They aim to find innovative new ways to onboard, train, and most importantly retain employees.
Statistically, Millenials are the biggest generation ever and this is causing a seismic demographic shift. By 2025, they will make up around 75% of the workforce. They bring with them many new challenges for talent managers as employee desires are shifting heavily towards work-life balance, flexibility, and career progression. They are motivated by new challenges and gaining new skills.
Another catalyst is the rampant technological innovation. While recruiters and talent managers have more tools and tech at their fingertips than ever before, the balance has swung in strongly in favor of the employee.
Highly skilled employees can make use of job-finding portals such as LinkedIn, meaning that jumping ship** has never been easier. In fact, every week many employees receive a few messages from recruiters trying to poach them. Job loyalty is no longer the norm and job-hopping carries much less negative connotations.
All of this means that companies are trying even harder to delight and impress their talent than ever before.
Let’s take a look at some key trends developing in the talent management space, and how top talent managers are coping with these new challenges.
(**idiom alert: this one means to switch companies. Check out this awesome post if you like this type of expression and want to learn some more.)
Millennials and Gen Z are attracted to workplaces with transparent cultures. As taboos are continually dismantled in society, the workplace has to reflect this with a culture of openness and no corporate secrets. One growing trend is salary transparency.
But salary transparency is not as new as you might think: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey actually made salaries transparent in 1986. But it has taken around 30 years for this idea to catch on.
David Burkus, best-selling author and keynote speaker, found in his book “Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are upending Business As Usual” that making salaries transparent actually made employees more productive and inspired greater brand loyalty.
He praised tech company SumAll for having fully transparent salaries internally. But the leader of the pack in terms of transparency has to be Buffer. Buffer is an all-remote company makes its salaries viewable for the whole world. Not only that but it has published a salary calculator to show its compensation formula works.
The results? The number of applications to Buffer doubled in the immediate wake of making salaries public knowledge. Internally, it is thought to have a major positive impact on employee satisfaction as well.
Gone are the awful days of powerpoint group training sessions. How we learn has fundamentally changed. Group learning and team workshops are losing out to individual learning programmes. There are many reasons for this including conflicting work schedules making it difficult to book group sessions. Many feel intimidated in group learning situations. While many simply feel individual learning is actually more effective.
This is also coupled with the rise of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses). Platforms like Coursera and Udemy have made thousands of courses available for online consumption. Talent managers can cater to this by allocating employees a self-learning budget.
When companies do wish to encourage internal learning, there is a trend towards microlearning. This is where information is broken down into tiny interactive chunks which aim to make it easier to consume. Cisco and Deloitte are two companies trying to adapt to Millenials and Gen Z by gamifying their internal learning process.
While offering language classes to employees is fairly commonplace, offering English classes may seem counterintuitive when employees’ level of English has never been higher. But there is a booming demand for excellent English speaking skills. As workplaces become more international and more new markets conquered, companies like Talaera and Voxy are leading the charge in English training in the workplace.
With all of the challenges that HR and talent managers are facing, it’s hardly a surprise to learn that adoption of AI and automation technology is on the rise.
As with many new innovations, AI technology remains a little divisive in the industry. But it should be pointed out that the main goal of such technology is to separate the simple, mundane and often repetitive tasks from the complex, strategic ones. Automation tools can take care of the former and free up more time for the important tasks where a human brain is needed.
When it comes to talent management, the two main areas where this technology is being used are in the onboarding process and to evaluate employee performance
One innovative way to partially automate the onboarding process is by using chatbots.
Employees want pretty much instantaneous answers to basic questions. For talent managers the great thing is that chatbots can take care of the same repetitive questions that always come up such as “Is next Monday a public holiday?” or “Do we get free English classes?”
This leaves the talent management team time to focus on the important stuff. Not only that but chatbots can build in sentiment analysis. Chatbots can also be proactive and make suggestions such as “Have you tried the free group yoga class on Tuesdays?” and even schedule sessions for employees.
HR and Talent Management influencer Jeanne Meister agrees: “For employees, chatbots deliver an unmatched level of employee experience, from real-time answers for HR questions to personalized learning and development.“
Most companies offer training as part of the onboarding process. Often this involves checklists and manual monitoring. However, this process can also be largely automated via applications such as chatbots. In addition, when it comes to employee reviews, these digital assistants can handle a lot of the basic form filling.
Employee metrics are getting more complex. Some companies are harnessing artificial intelligence platforms and machine learning to process the vast amounts of data and provide deeper insights for its talent managers.
A recent study found that 56% of all new hires leave their job within the first year. This troubling number is expected to increase. One of the key reasons for employees voluntarily leaving is lack of personal growth and career development. In a bid to quell this voluntary turnover tide, companies are looking to cultivate talent internally for future leadership positions.
This view is echoed by Sunita Khatri, Director of HCM Cloud Product Marketing, Oracle:
“We suspect organizations will start thinking about millennial-focused leadership programs, especially since by year 2020, they will inevitably be managing the next wave of workers, Generation Z”.
Speaking in Forbes, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic believes that talent managers will have to sharpen their psychological skill set to identify “hidden gems” in the workplace. By using psychological profiling, he believes talent managers will be able to identify future leaders.
By 2020 around 40% of the workforce will comprise remote or contingent workers. This means that talent managers face the challenge of creating a company culture that doesn’t just live within the office walls. It also needs to pervade the Slack channels, too. Digitizing the company culture, scheduling frequent check-ins and remembering to reward your remote workers for great contributions all can help add to their employee well-being.
Talent Management and HR influencer Karen Cariss puts it like this: “HR professionals will need to rethink the way they manage the growing number of workers shifting to freelance and contract modes of employment.”
She believes that talent management technology can “help workers maintain connections across borders, managers lead their teams and drive collaboration.”
Implementing an innovative talent management strategy is an essential part of any business. With an increasingly young, dynamic workforce, employee retention is only going to get even harder. Companies and talent management strategies that tend to succeed are ones that truly understand the lifestyle and core values of their employees.
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