(If you only pick one focus in 2018, let it be this…)
Out of curiosity, I did a Google search to find out what the almighty internet had to say about the top HR trends for 2018. The results were pretty interesting and relatively consistent. The one trend alluded to in every article was that companies need to focus on creating a holistic employee experience.
If, like me, you have never worked in HR, you may ask why this is so important. Or you may feel more concerned about what impact this trend could have on profitability. Maybe you hate the sounds of this and would rather put everyone back in their cubicles (eek!).
We can all agree that employee disengagement statistics vary, but it’s reasonable to say that around half of the workforce is disengaged. This costs millions in lost productivity annually! It’s clearly time to make a paradigm shift that will only make our companies more prosperous.
#1 Authenticity breeds creativity and innovation
The old adage about leaving your work life at work and your home life at home is finally becoming obsolete. The idea that you are one person professionally and a different one personally never resonated with me. What about the strength we all bring to the table as whole individuals? What about the power of authenticity in leadership, creativity, and innovation?
We hire people. They don’t become something else when we change their status to employee. We need those same people engaged and contributing at work. Every step we take toward total inclusion of the human experience in the workplace is a step toward authenticity. Who can be innovative or creative with their authentic selves buried behind an outdated belief that what we do and who we are exist as separate identities?
Make authenticity part of your culture by:
- Incorporating flexibility in formal/informal policies
- Opening up the possibility of remote working arrangements, when possible
- Supporting your people when they need it most (bereavement, illness, divorce, etc.)
- Empowering your mangers to develop trusting relationships with their teams
#2 “If you build it, they will come”
How many of us have worked for a company that had a great vision statement on their website, but once you were hired you couldn’t find a trace of it with a microscope? Why do we spend so much time and money defining mission, vision, and values, if we aren’t going to live and breathe those sentiments? Think about it, these core beliefs can shape culture if allowed to permeate the company. What does that mean? Well, let’s dive a little deeper.
If your organization truly wears its values on its sleeve, you will attract your team. You will attract the team that fits your vision. That isn’t to say that there won’t be differences of opinion or individual contribution. I’m speaking to a partnership between the core values of your company and the core values of your people. Don’t underestimate this, really. People, well millennials at least, want to work where they feel connected and aligned. If you ever wondered how to retain high potential millennial talent, this is a big piece of the generational puzzle. By the way, have you noticed that millennials now make up the largest segment in the workforce?
Broadcast your vision and values to attract top talent:
- Live and breathe your values by making them a key part of your performance feedback cycle
- Create powerful employer branding that puts your values front and center for all those perspective employees out there
- Treat prospective employees the way you would treat prospective customers or clients
- Utilize available technology to communicate your employer branding and to give prospective employees an incredible application experience
#3 Acquire, retain, develop…rinse and repeat
For years we have heard that job-hopping millennials have one proverbial foot out the door and aren’t worth investing in. Whoa! Hold on, have we really been treating the largest cohort in the workforce with such little regard and compassion? The oldest millennials are now in their mid-30s. They aren’t kids fresh out of school anymore. This might sound crazy, but recent statistics show that as millennials age they would prefer to stay with a company longer term. Insane, I know! What they really want in order to stick around is an opportunity to grow, develop, and advance within the company. Seems reasonable and familiar…
With this negative mindset about millennials permeating organizations, it’s no wonder they don’t stick around. Loyalty and investment go both ways. Let’s be honest, most companies will say they have at least a partial succession plan for some roles, but if someone else left suddenly, gaps would be obvious. I’ve seen this happen. So, we have a workforce that isn’t prepared for turnover and we are practically escorting millennials in one door and exiting them out the back!
Stop the revolving door
- Throw out the mindset that all young employees want to leave
- Create collaborative development plans for your employees that are beneficial for both the individual and the company
- Shift from annual feedback cycles to continuous feedback discussions
- Allow employees some visibility into succession planning and involve them when appropriate
#4 Humanize HR with Technology? Really?
Most of us have had the unfortunate experience of applying for a job and then hearing crickets. Or getting all the way to a third interview…and then crickets. It’s a common tale and it isn’t a great experience for the top talent that we are trying to recruit. As the workforce moves toward higher numbers of alternative arrangements, like contracts and contingent workers, candidates will require more touch points and communication. The trouble is that our HR departments aren’t necessarily able to scale up and meet the demand for, what can only be described as, customer service. Enter technology.
It may seem counter intuitive to enlist the help of a great Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to humanize the applicant experience, but let’s talk through it. Some companies at least send a notification that an application has been received. Take that a step further and send additional notifications when an application is viewed or allow for status changes that are communicated to the applicant. Schedule interviews and extend offers with the touch of a button. Who has time to manage all that? Your handy ATS can do it. What happens most of the time now is akin to what the kids are calling ghosting on social media platforms. One minute you’re chatting and hitting it off and the next? Crickets.
Using a great Applicant Tracking System is just one example of how technology can help your HR department meet the demand for their time and help your applicants and employees feel more connected. Do you have a Talent Management Strategy? Many companies say they do, but struggle to execute it effectively and consistently. Again, enter technology.
Here are a few ways that a great Talent Management System can humanize HR:
- Employ transparent and collaborative goal setting that can be monitored and adjusted
- Use continuous feedback cycles to encourage your managers and employees to build strong trusting relationships by meeting regularly
- Create Employee Recognition incentives that will allow anyone in the company to recognize a job well done
- Align learning plans with development and goals for all employees. If you’re further down the path, you’ll even be able to create and manage learning content or connect to external learning portals.
Technology is meant to enable HR to do more than drown in emails and paperwork. A comprehensive Human Capital Management solution will empower your HR team to optimize the greatest asset you have, your people.