Consider running a marathon race where the rules change every 100 metres; that is exactly what human resources (HR) of today experience in the professional ecosystem. In the past couple of decades, the ambit of tasks covered by the human resources department has changed vastly. From being gatekeepers of their organisations, the HR department wears multiple hats - covering a range of responsibilities from confidante to mentorship to taskmasters. Below we will discuss the kind of challenges that lay ahead in an ever-transforming corporate world.
Talent recruitment and retention
A record number of professionals are turning entrepreneurs. Start-ups empowered with fresh investments are wheeling off top talent using innovative and flexible employment options. Legacy organisations should work towards fending off the crunch of quality talent in the market. The average time spent by employees in an organisation has been steadily decreasing, surprisingly so is the average age of an organisation. Thus, recruiting and retaining quality talent is not just about holding competitive edge; in fact, it is a matter of survival for organisations. Training employees at all levels can be a tough task, especially owing to rising costs. HR should not shy away from utilising the experience of in-house managers to train their subordinates. This also helps to bond the team better. While filling a job position, HR can go the extra mile to shortlist / archive candidates that are a great fit to the organisations even though they may not be for the job.
Sensitising employees towards the diverse cultural backgrounds of their colleagues will help initiate inclusivity and tolerant values. At the same time, employees should be aware of the socio-cultural regulations within different geographies. Team-building activities are the easiest and most interesting ways to help employees warm up to the idea of working towards a common goal while in a diverse workforce. Companies can use word-of-mouth and referrals to bring in the right fit talents.
Growing inertia within their profiles is a leading reason why employees soon turn unemployable. HR must foster a culture of continuous learning. In order to motivate the workforce, one could provide recognition to such employees. Pay special attention to ensure ease of learning. eLearning Courses are a natural choice for a range of reasons. A carefully drawn training and development program will help enhance professional skills and knowledge of employees.
Compliance laws and regulations
Organisations have to keep up with the changing employment and related laws. At the same time, HR should also have an eye on the immediate future. Regulations in terms of wages, local and state laws, hiring practices, safety, etc. should be adhered to strictly. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary legal expenses, audits and/or fines.
In a connected world, staving off from the decay of Brand Value remains the biggest concern for senior management. Unfortunately, Employee Satisfaction is an exhaustive task and proper workforce planning is essential to continue treading the right path. While offering special incentives remains a key option for Employers, a continuous tracking of such schemes can point out the unpopular benefits. Thus, HR can redirect the investments to augur employee satisfaction. Material assistance cannot be the only reason for employees to stick with an organisation. HR should concentrate on providing emotional stability as well. This goes a long way in earning their loyalty. From a cost-savings perspective, a healthy employee reduces risk of absenteeism. A majority of organizations are providing a homely feel to work stations, flexible working hours, etc. to boost the Employee Happiness Index. Scheduling, Tracking and managing employee leaves is a tedious task. HR should ensure managers are made aware of the importance of family friendly benefits for the success of their teams. The average months between promotions can be a vital metric for employee competitiveness.
The key lies in mapping the corporate landscape and preparing one’s organisation for the upcoming changes. It is an evolving process. The corporate world is now investing in their greatest asset and implementing the ‘employees first, customers second’ adage.
Nilesh Gaikwad is Country Manager at EDHEC Business School, France. He can be reached at