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Employee-centric HR. Interconnected.

Delivering value in a fast, complex, customer-oriented, digital and connected world.

Looking around, it is clear that the external context is dramatically changing. In this fourth wave of the industrial revolution automation is reshaping entire industries & digitisation, artificial intelligence and biological technologies are on the rise. In this knowledge economy, customisation stands central. Currently, far more than in the past, the accent is on innovation and creativity. Agility and continuous learning is a must. Jobs – how, where and when we work – are profoundly changing. Multiple generations and -cultures lead to unprecedented diversity in the workplace. In brief, the future of work is now!

In order to compete, organisations need to be agile in this fast pacing, digitising and networked world. They need to continuously adapt their strategy by looking outside-in, in order to survive. One of the reasons why strategies often fail is the lack of consideration for the human factor. In order to succeed, one need to design a context (structure, technology, policies, processes, …) that is people-oriented wherein people become highly engaged to thrive. Within this context, technology needs to be used to the best of mankind. Human interaction with clients will in the end always be crucial. This because people are able to translate value, emotions and passion to customers. Machines don’t!

With this in mind, people must be placed at the heart of the business agenda.

Value-based leadership will play a key-role to enable a climate of growth and innovation.

A set of universal values – that transcends time, place and culture – steer behaviour and connect multiple generations & -colours in the workplace. Leaders need to develop the following values and norms, both within themselves and with others:

    • Openness to change (challenge the status quo)
    • Self-transcendence (understand, appreciate, tolerate and help others)
    • Behavioural integrity (mutual respect, transparency, a safe and trustworthy environment)
    • Grow (social recognition, meaningfulness and being successful)
    • Authenticity (self-confidence, being able to be yourself, walk the talk)

Ultimately, value-based leadership is a series of balancing acts. Harmony among the above-mentioned values is fostered in safe spaces for dialogue and in meaningful- & purposeful partnerships. Leaders stand at the rudder of change and need to foster sustainable growth (people and organisation). They need to stimulate a climate of well-being, where people feel competent and engaged & willing to do their utmost best for the customers as well as for the organisation. In this way, leaders tap into the leadership potential of everyone within the organisation!

Additionally, cultural alignment should be treated like any other business initiative. It needs to be embedded into policies, processes, systems, budgets, operating approaches and communication initiatives. Make sure to create metrics that track the desired culture and how it is performing & have real accountability metrics against progress.

The HR-function as accelerator for employee experience

First things first. HR needs to catch-up in the management arena. This by learning to master business language. They need to be able to financially translate the HR-initiatives taken, in order to show how HR impacts organisational results. Technology and data-analytics will deliver metrics (qualitative and quantitative) that measure the value and return on talent investments and -management. Moreover, the value of data & analytics – when aligned with business priorities – will become the foundation for knowing exactly where to focus efforts to improve the business, not just the HR function!

What kind of capabilities are needed related to talent analytics?

  • Envisioning a data analytics culture (align tools & analytics with business priorities)
  • Business judgment (ability to use business- and organisational knowledge to draw conclusions from talent data)
  • Data visualisation and story-telling (present talent insights in a manner that is easy to consume and trust)
  • Data management skills (dealing with financial-, organisational- and personnel data)
  • Statistical expertise (data interpretation)
  • Psychological skills (behavioural insights)

Talent analytics: from hindsight to insight and foresight!

Data-driven people management focuses HR data & -analyticson the goal of adding value and driving performance across the organisation – all the time, not just every now and then.

Accountable for leading the people dimension of business strategy, HR needs to grow and mature its operating model. Technology will support HR as a key-enabler from increasing productivity, over economies of scale, to quality and innovation.

  • ‘Automation technology platforms’: this kind of technology increases cost-effectiveness and reduces spend & enhances quality and compliance of operations. It ensures HR freeing up time to built closer relationships with the business and become more business savvy.
  • ‘Fully integrated technology solutions’: these kind of applications have evolved from basic administrative applications towards fully integrated solutions that drive strategic business objectives.

Some examples (non-exhaustive) of HR-technology platforms are: SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), Self-Service Tools, VMS (Vendor Management Systems), ATS (Application Tracking Systems), RPA (Robotics Process Automation), etc…

A ‘ talent mindset ‘ starts at the top!

The following article clearly illustrates the importance of talent thinking (… and acting!):

Is your CEO authentic to the people agenda?

Employee experience can be grown and accelerated by HR through creating the rightinternal context. The greatest value of HR lays in becoming a Talent Value Partner. This by creating a precious ‘moments of truth employee journey’ throughout the full HR-cycle. Employees spend quite a lot of time in the workplace. HR needs to create worthwhile experiences and feelings about their jobs, so that they can autonomously function in an engaged manner to deliver the predefined results.

Beside becoming a trusted partner with peer colleagues on executive- & management level, HR should become a valued advocate for employees.

HR makes growth and innovation happen through processes and culture. Progress wrt KBI’s (Key Behaviour Indicators), about the above-mentioned values, need to be consistently monitored. Deviating behaviour, whether or not in function of self-interest, must be dealt with in a strict and consequent manner.

HR & Leaders need to understand the importance of aligning the business strategy & the workforce with the desired culture. They need to move beyond role-modeling the desired culture & design systems and processes to embed the desired culture in operations. Last but not least, they need to help employees resolve the cultural tensions that are created as the organization evolves and grows. In brief: create a culture that performs!

HR needs to develop and implement a digital HR-strategy, that puts people at the heart of the business agenda. Digital technology will support everyone at the level of communication (e.g.: web conferencing, instant messaging), as well as wrt (team) collaboration (e.g.: entreprise social network, content management & team collaboration tools).

Capabilities that need to be nurtured in the right manner and that are key to propelling business growth & developing new markets and products are:

  • continuous learning & innovation (learn effectively, creativity, strategic thinking)
  • analytics (applying expertise and technology, critical thinking)
  • networking (collaboration, building value-based relationships, influencing)
  • delivery excellence (team goals, planning and organisation, decision making)

In managing and motivating employees, leaders should lead with a purpose. The best leaders communicate the importance of culture & help their employees understand how to translate culture into day-to-day work. They articulate strategic choices & align policies, processes and systems to send consistent signals.

Leaders adopt a flexible leadership style. They adjust personal behaviour and behave as a role-model, to be consistent with the culture. Depending on the context, the complexity of the situation and the task maturity of the employee and/or the team, leaders should balance between a relationship-, task- and change-oriented leadership style. Keys to success within the leadership journey are ownership, adaptability and the extent to which innovative (external) collaborative partnerships are established.

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