Article: Season’s Teachings: What the HR should have learnt from 2018


Season’s Teachings: What the HR should have learnt from 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, let’s take a moment to look at the year that was and what insight and learning it provided for the people who operate the people landscape. What did the HR get to learn form 2018?
Season’s Teachings: What the HR should have learnt from 2018

Winter is here and it is that time of the year where, besides wanting to pack up and leave for the holidays, we all want to take stock of what we gained out of the last twelve months. Granted, not every piece of learning comes gift-wrapped and neatly placed under the Christmas tree. Some might require the re-analysis of a certain situation to arrive at an epiphany, but every learning counts. Be it a sudden stroke of understanding that dawns upon the whole team, a realization that is excavated out of deep research and analysis or an industry insight born out of witnessing the repetition of a trend across geographies, every year brings with it a few key learnings that need to be internalized and mastered for success in the year to come.

Teaching #1: Know the hire purpose

The need to hire and retain the right talent has been a requirement since before HR existed as a function but 2018 was a year that taught HR professionals the need to be able to operate in a recruitment and retention landscape more challenging and changing than ever before.

Adrian Tan, Co-founder and Director of HR tech consultancy, The Resource Group shared that, “Despite all technological advances, recruitment-retention can only be better by improving fundamentals - such as workplace culture and good management. As studies like he OC Tanner Culture Report and those by Gallup report have shown, people may join for money but they leave for a whole list of other reasons.”

He adds that change is not only inevitable but has been coming upon us faster than we can catch up. For example, by the time organizations are just about cracking the millennial code, here comes GenZ to create the next phase of disruption and to demand adaptation. The HR, as a function, thus needs to find the balance between buying and building talent and has to be in synch with the present and future talent needs of the organization without losing focus on the business impact of the people puzzle.

Teaching #2: Think transparent

This holds especially true with regard to employer branding as 2018 clearly pointed out. This was a year of mass walk-outs which signified that not only were organizations naked in front of the world but also that employees had did not shy away from using their voice to stand up for what they believed in.  

According to Adrian, “With escalating transparency, it is impossible for companies to operate in silos. In regards to HR practices, more and more information will be made online (on portals like Glassdoor) before a candidate even becomes an employee. 

The need thus arises for the complete employee experience to be well thought out and authentic. Every misstep is visible to internal and external customers and the HR needs to play the role of a moderator and a mediator not merely to help situations that are going downhill but rather to drive a culture of transparency and openness.

Teaching #3: Align right

Anjali Raghuvanshi, Chief People Officer at Randstad India is of the opinion that, “Human Resource should create meaningful and measurable impact to the top and bottom line. Be it through finding the right talent, giving employees avenues to feel appreciated to making the workplace a trusted, energetic and safe one.”

She added that this would necessitate a deeper adoption of tech and decision-making on the basis of data. In order to get the right alignment throughout the organization, the impact of the interventions on overall business performance needs to be critically assessed. Alignment has a strong impact on the employees’ perception of the company. A disconnect between personal goals and values and those of the organization could prove to be detrimental for engagement and for performance as well.

Teaching #4: EQ > IQ

The need for leaders with higher EQ and demonstrable leadership skills has increased significantly in keeping with the dynamic complexity of the digital ecosystem with remote teams, cross-functional verticals and the rise of über-connectivity. Thus, building an emotionally intelligent leadership pipeline is a strategic priority for HR professionals.

Raghuvanshi believes that, “In a tech driven world, building that pool (of leaders) that can be digitally savvy yet personally engaging will be an imperative to help galvanize the workforce to deliver on the strategic objectives.”

Teaching #5: Be ready to re-imagine  

Adrian talks of the need to adapt with agility and says that, “Before companies can adopt employee engagement, data analytics and AI come into play. HR has to have their ears on the ground and be up-to-date on such developments.”

Keeping the thought above in mind, HR professionals today have to be aligned to data and insights in a way that they can change, and change fast – maybe even change before the need arises to do so.

Raghuvanshi says, “The vision for HR has to be comprehensive, progressive and future proof. HR also needs to be agile to reorient and in some cases recreate certain aspects to keep up with the forces at play.”

She feels that HR needs to ask itself whether it is ready not just for tomorrow but the day after. Are engagement strategies appealing to millennials and the Gen Z? Are people being provided with best in class experiences so that they can do so for their clients? In order to find relevant answers to these musings, one realizes that it is imperative to retrospect and re-imagine.

As we prepare to bid adieu to 2018, let’s keep these teachings in mind so that 2019 may be bigger, better and beautiful – a year to re-invent, re-imagine and revitalize HR practices as we soar into the future.


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Topics: Leadership, Culture, Technology, #HRIndustry

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