10 Ways to Move Towards Modern HR

More new businesses and more new companies find themselves in an increasingly tighter competition to provide the winning products and services. One thing that should be realized is that whatever products and services the company produces is the direct result of their employees’ knowledge, skills, and capabilities. These are huge contributions to determine a company’s success.

To maintain that success, HR should be doing everything possible to retain every employee possible.

HR will also be facing the increasing competition to attract qualified talent. With that in mind, HR leaders need to ask themselves whether they are paying enough attention to prepare HR for the modern era.

Here are 10 ways HR leaders can form the foundation for modern HR:

1. Write a playbook for managing talent.

It is never too early to begin thinking about the workforce you have today and the workforce you need in the future. One way to address this challenge is to create a sales-like playbook that elevates the talent question within the company and documents critical aspects of the company’s HR strategy. 

If you give employees the same attention you give to your products and services, you will heighten the employee experience and be able to retain highly skilled talent.

2. Know your employees as well as your customers.

You might know employee turnover rate and compensation from the reporting, but there are actually more interesting questions to ask your employees. Include sources of human-generated data, such as location data, activity data, sensor data, financial data, and unstructured sentiment analysis.

Encourage employees to build internal talent profiles as a way of gathering information that can be used for networking, collaboration, and career development purposes. With access to this kind of data, you’ll open the door to insights that can shape critical business decisions going forward. A dedicated analytics team can combine workforce and talent data with business and financial data to ground decisions in facts and provide better visibility into business performance.

3. Hire “scary” people in HR.

A new breed of analytics professionals called data scientists applies curiosity and business knowledge to plot new strategies for HR. They don’t speak the language of HR; they ask how and why. Where can you find this person? Look at other business functions, finance, product development, or even the marketing department. With the right analytics guru and a database populated with HR and human-generated information, HR leaders will be prepared to turn HR into a strategic business function that drives growth instead of hindering it.

4. Differentiate through a personalized employee experience.

By 2020, five generations will work in a workplace that is shaped by cloud-computing and social media. Millennials and Generation X workers will have 7 to 10 jobs and a variety of different professions during their careers. In a marketplace where employees have so many options to advance their careers, you will have to fight to keep and get the best people working for you. There are a number of resources available to help companies improve their employees’ experience. Social listening, using communities to on-board new hires, better tools for collaboration and mobile work, customized compensation/benefit packages, and flexible work styles are just a few examples.

5. Bring collaborative culture into the workplace.

Social apps and collaboration technology have forever changed the way we live and work. When applied to the workplace, these same social technologies can improve communication and increase productivity. More jobs are bigger than can be done by one person. Collaboration enables a network effect that makes a much bigger contribution to the enterprise. HR leaders who foster true collaboration will boost enterprise performance.

6. Recruit for continuous innovation.

Today’s job seekers have a variety of social channels to help them find a match, from LinkedIn, Facebook, to Twitter. HR departments can take advantage of this trend by participating in channels that reach their target candidates. 

In addition to social networks, predictive ranking tools help HR automate job board processes, while databases of suitable candidates allow companies to manage their own relationship with candidates. These smart sourcing strategies will allow you to recruit from a bigger pool of qualified candidates, build stronger relationships with job seekers, and earn a higher return on any talent sourcing investments.

7. Gamify learning.

How do you offer continuous learning to millennials and highly mobile workers? Josh Bersin from Deloitte says, “Extend the learning architecture to include content, collaboration, and programs in an easy-to-understand set of offerings that will help people to learn, share information, and locate and share experiences.1

8. Rethink performance management.

In today’s results-oriented workplace, the success of any individual depends on an ability to work with others, much more so than how well they complete any given task. When employee and line manager behavior are linked to results that matter not only to the organization, but also to customers and business partners, then HR becomes the driving force for business success. HR needs a performance management model that recognizes this shift and evaluates performance based on actual measures of work tied to business outcomes.

9. Go global.

As a talent pool shrinks and competition intensifies, HR will become an increasingly global business function. Organizations are expanding operationally into new geographies and moving talent across the globe in order to fill regional talent needs. An effective, global HR technology foundation can support this imperative to globalize while helping to control HR’s operational costs and cater to local needs.

10. Move to the cloud.

As a part of the move to modern HR, you need to give employees access to HR apps that are relevant, personalized, and accessible on the device of their choice. The best way to deploy and support these capabilities is through cloud. 

Cloud-enabled HR management systems require one-third the staff of on-premises solutions, according to CedarCrestone. Implementation times are also faster when solutions are hosted in the cloud.

Acquisitions, new product launches, and new markets and geographies all create an exciting yet challenging environment for HR. Organizations are constantly evolving as they drive for innovation and growth. 

To refocus HR in a new era of growth around employee experience, we need to move beyond transactions to address business needs. These needs include a talent-centric view of the workforce, tools, and policies that encourage collaboration, applications that are engaging and mobile, and the insights that enable management to predict the business impact of modern HR efforts.

1  Bersin by Deloitte, “Predictions for 2014,” Josh Bersin, December 2013
2 CedarCrestone, “2013-2014 HR Systems Survey,” Figures 10 and 11.
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