Your CEOs are coping with volatility and disruption by focusing on talent, culture, and fiscal discipline (The Conference Board; 2017). With so much emphasis on the people to achieve breakthrough results it is disheartening that only 5% of CHROs believe their organizations see them as strategic partners. The central question then becomes how do you improve this perception and offer high impact HR Strategy? Like many tough problems there’s not one single answer. Here’s what I’d offer as a starting point: –
- An HR strategy is not sequential to business strategy. It’s not strategy first then people but rather the magic happens when an HR strategy is born through co-creation and collaboration between business leaders and HR leaders.
- In order to “co-create”, ask yourself “what’s the value you bring to the table”? It has to be more than your functional HR knowledge. It’s time for HR to assert their voice and demonstrate a clear, calculated point of view on the future.
- Get yourself knowledgeable on the top megatrends that will have the most impact on HR strategies and become part of the movement to change that “5%” to 95%.
- I truly believe that HR is uniquely equipped with the skills to futureproof an organization in the face of a disrupted workplace, but the number one question I get from CHROs is where to start. What megatrends should they consider? Below are the 3 trends which I think make a huge difference: –
MEGA TREND #1: CONSUMERIZATION
Consumers are adapting faster to new interfaces and technologies, ahead of organizations and ahead of public policy (Deloitte; 2017). Bring value to the strategic business conversation by changing the mindset of “consumers are external to an organization” to “our employees are consumers of HR services”. Progressive organizations are seeing a ton of benefit from this change in mindset. Adopt questions that marketing would ask external customers. What do employees value? What increases their job satisfaction and productivity? What will make them stay with you for the long-haul? What will it take for employees to recommend your organization as a great place to work? Employees have choices and they are seeking out and staying with companies that have the most to offer them. Leverage your marketing team. They are experts at “listening” to consumer needs. Think about how you’re “listening” to your employees. Are you reviewing glass door insights? Are you crowdsourcing to gain insights? Are you walking your virtual floor?
MEGA TREND #2: MULTI-GENERATIONAL
For the 1st time in history there are five generations in the workplace. Bring value to the strategic business conversation by shifting the mindset from “all generations in the workplace have the same need” to “thinking about your workforce as a portfolio”. To do this you’ll need insights to help you develop the right solutions. In order to gain insights, you’ll need to think of the questions you’re trying to answer; How many mid careerists do you have? What are they telling you about what makes them tick? How do you support them with developing their digital literacy skills? How many millennials do you have? What are they telling you about how they want to do work? Value in these strategy conversations will come from a deep understanding of the work environment and needs of your entire workforce.
MEGA TREND #3: CUSTOMIZATION
Shopping for custom-made products is a growing trend with consumers showing a distinct interest in individualized products: Three out of ten consumers have already designed a product according to their own preferences and almost half of the shoppers who have not bought a custom-made product yet can imagine doing so in the near future. (KPMG; 2017). Additionally, 55 percent of the shoppers that have bought customized products in the past are willing to pay a higher price for those. Bring value to the strategic business conversation by shifting the mindset from a “one size fits all employee experience” to a “highly customized employee experience”. What works well for one set will not necessarily work for another. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and preferences of your entire workforce. Customization creates greater alignment with your workers individual strengths. Alignment results in higher job satisfaction and a happy, highly effective workforce.
This is one of the most exciting times for HR leaders that I’ve ever seen in my two plus decades in the industry. CHROs have the opportunity to be the front-runner on the task of futureproofing business strategy through a solid HR strategy; it’s time to take the reins. Through co-creation with the business and bringing unique expertise and insights to the table, you can become a driving force!