Article: Building people-first companies

Employee Relations

Building people-first companies

Organizations that embrace empathy and put people first will harvest committed employees, greater productivity, and stronger inclusivity.
Building people-first companies

If ever a year demanded acute vision, it’s this one - 2020. The world of work has changed in the last couple of weeks, and companies are navigating new challenges. Nearly everyone, it seems, is embracing — or at least testing — the future of work. 

As per LinkedIn’s latest report, Global Talent Trends 2020, four trends stand out which will reshape the talent hiring and recruitment landscape - the emergence of employee experience, the spread of people analytics, the return of internal recruiting, and the ascent of the multigenerational workforce.

However, these trends are all defined in some measure by their demand for empathy — the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Today, more businesses are grinding gears to understand their talent more deeply than ever before, in order to serve them better. This new focus on empathy is encouraging companies to put themselves in their employees’ shoes. 

Employee experience could be the new HR 

Companies are beginning to work for employees, and not just the other way around. Today, employee experience (EX) goes beyond what we earlier understood to be ‘employee engagement’. What does it exactly mean? The central idea is to actively collaborate with employees to understand their point of view and design experiences that allow people to do their best work. 

As companies become more employee-centric, they’re creating more “employee experience” roles. Mature organizations are hiring dedicated EX personnel, while smaller companies are bypassing “Human Resources” altogether and branding their people function “Employee Experience” right out of the gate. In fact, the number of LinkedIn members whose current job titles include the phrase “employee experience” has seen a 2.4X increase since 2014. In India, 95% talent professionals believe that EX will be very important in shaping the future of HR and recruiting, with 77% of them focused on EX to improve retention.  

Using data to build people-first companies

While employee experience is quickly becoming the cornerstone of hiring and retaining talent, meaningful insights will inform talent decisions at every level of the recruiting cycle. Therefore, understanding and capitalizing on people analytics is quickly becoming a must-have skill in HR. People analytics essentially connects data to effective decision-making. It draws insights from human behavior to help people and companies perform better. It uses formal scientific methods to support empathy. In India, 92% of talent professionals, the highest across the world, believe people analytics will be the future of HR. 

Talent leaders have understood the value of people analytics for some time, as it has promised to revolutionize recruiting and HR for a decade. But until recently, only the most sophisticated companies have reaped the benefits. Now we’re reaching an inflection point where data is accessible to all. Understanding and capitalizing on analytics is quickly becoming a must-have skill in HR. 

In fact, over the past five years, LinkedIn has witnessed a 242% increase in HR professionals with data analysis skills. Still, many companies are only at the early stages of developing people analytics functions. 

Whether organizations use data to derive workforce insights, chart down career paths for employees, improve their day-to-day workplace experience, or harmonize different generations - they must remain cognizant of the fact that their businesses are being run by people. Their existence in, and contribution to, every level of the process is the driving force that steers businesses towards success. To fully appreciate the impact people analytics can have, it’s helpful to see where companies intend to go. Top growth areas include analyzing competitive intelligence, flight risks, and candidate success. 

For instance, professional services firm Genpact was looking at building a team of high-potential engineers with expertise in building and scaling software platforms. To hire such talent, the talent acquisition teams had to go back to the drawing board. Using LinkedIn’s data and insights, the talent acquisition teams gave the leadership and hiring managers a clear picture of talent availability in the market, which included specific companies to target and compensation benchmarks. Empowered with the right data and insights, Genpact targeted 200 specific candidates through personalised talent marketing campaigns. In less than 4 weeks, the team was able to shortlist over 21 senior tech professionals, and hire them through a customized interview process and get them on board, faster.

Closing the gaps in understanding talent

While the focus on EX is skyrocketing, only 52% of talent professionals say their company provides a positive employee experience. This means that organizations still have a lot of work to do. One reason why employee experience suffers may be that while companies are listening to workers, they’re not always taking action. Our global data says that employees who don’t believe their company will act on their feedback are 7x more likely to be disengaged than those who do, according to data from Glint. Clearly, innovative approaches are called for -- new tools are emerging to help organizations close the gap between feedback and action. The right technology can help leaders build habits around regular conversations with their teams and encourage action at every level of the organization.

When it comes to people analytics, there’s a steep learning curve from collecting data to capitalizing on the insights to build a competitive advantage. Almost half of companies feel good about maintaining clean, accurate data. But only 39% feel good drawing meaningful insights from their data. There’s a similar drop-off in the transition from “acting” (i.e., solving existing problems with insights) to “capitalizing” (taking advantage of new opportunities with insights). For example, many might be comfortable acting after a spike in attrition, but fewer would be able to proactively hire ahead of a spike in demand.

While some of the areas where companies are currently using analytics include employee performance and workforce planning, one cautionary note is that it is critically important to be careful with people data. Experts recommend treating employees as stakeholders as organizations develop thoughtful and transparent policies. 

Today, as we deal with the unprecedented impact of Coronavirus, the most important topic in HR remains improving employee experience with empathy at the core. Hence, keeping compassion at your foundation can produce better business results and build an indispensable workplace culture. 

Join us for the People Matters EX: A Virtual Conference on 19th June to learn what it takes to create a world of incredible experiences.

Click here to register.

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Topics: Employee Relations, Life @ Work, #CXtoEX, #GuestArticle, #PMEXConf

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