The start of a new year, the start of a new decade… 2020 is here at last. It is already shaping up to be a dramatic year for HR, with Brexit on the horizon within days, UK employment law changes scheduled from April, and workers’ rights a contentious issue for the months ahead. Factor in a growing environmental consciousness, and the fantasy of a paperless office may even become a reality.
In this article, we outline five key insights for your HR team to take the lead on in 2020.
1. Take Advancing Technologies Seriously
We have been riding a ‘modern technology’ wave for decades, so this could seem like obvious advice. But current and future advances in technology could reshape how HR teams and businesses operate in the years ahead.
In addition to the usual suspects (the ways we communicate, train and learn), consider how technology might disrupt the way your business functions in the future. Might some tasks become more automated, and could your employees become concerned for the future of their jobs – or might automation create new opportunities across your team? Is virtual reality (VR) technology likely to be relevant for your industry – and if so, is now the time to up-skill your team so that you can prepare for this change? Where might artificial intelligence (AI) have a place in your future-proof organisation?
AI may seem the domain of sci-fi movies, but it is increasingly relevant when running a business, from streamlining the recruitment process to identifying trends from your organisational data. And while technological advances can take some getting used to, they often present fantastic opportunities for employee learning and development, which helps to drive long-term business success.
2. Improve the Way You Use HR Analytics
HR analytics helps you get the most out of the wealth of data you collect year in, year out about how your company operates and who works for you. It can help you to identify problems and analyse staff performance across a variety of metrics. For example, you can use employee data to drive company decision-making and report on ways to improve employee retention, productivity and wellbeing.
Using your data more effectively could reveal surprisingly helpful insights about your organisation. You might identify a training need that has been overlooked, or see a pattern in the reasons why employees decide to move on to greener pastures. Perhaps your IT training needs to be stepped up a bit, or maybe your colleagues feel that your performance review system does not deliver motivating objectives and outcomes?
HR analytics helps you to identify these sorts of issues – but it also gives you the opportunity to test out different strategies to overcome them. If something works well, the results should soon become apparent – and if your strategy is not working, your data should help you to quickly rethink your approach.
3. Listen to Your Employees and Enhance Their Experience
HR analytics might reveal some niggling pain points for your employees – or maybe these pain points are on full display for all to see! When you do identify issues that are bothering your employees, it is important to nip these in the bud.
An employee’s experience of working with you can make them want to stay for the long term… or it could drive them out the door as soon as a better opportunity arises. To hold on to the stars in your team, communication and understanding is key. Listen to what could make people happier, and understand the reasons why people decide to leave.
Many employee ‘wants’ present a win-win for the business, because they help to drive productivity, increase employee engagement with organisational goals and improve your organisation’s skillset. For example, offering flexible working (with the technology support needed to make it work efficiently) gives colleagues a day or two where they get to avoid rush-hour, leading to improved physical and mental wellbeing as they reclaim some of their valuable personal time for themselves. Providing new and interesting training opportunities (for example, the option to learn a language) can also help to attract and retain a strong team.
Listen to your employees and find ways to offer the opportunities, benefits and rewards that encourage them to stay with your organisation. Before you know it, your analytics may reveal that your productivity and success scores are at an all-time high!
4. Prioritise Learning and Development to Up-skill Your Team
The chances are that by listening to and understanding the problems your employees face, you have identified some training needs. Perhaps your colleagues are worried about keeping on top of advancing technologies and still delivering day-to-day in their jobs, or maybe they are concerned that a skills gap is preventing them from progressing with their career. Whatever the problem, you can help by developing a training plan that addresses your colleagues’ concerns.
Be sure to provide useful and effective training – training that is wanted, needed and valued. Remember also to pinpoint future training needs by looking ahead to the longer-term requirements of the organisation, and where this might present opportunities. If you have effectively engaged employees with your organisation’s vision for success, they may already be driven by your values and objectives – so look for ways to encourage your employees’ ambitions while delivering on company-wide strategic goals. Another employee-focused win-win!
5. Recognise the Value of Meaningful Work
Money and success are not the only things that matter to the vast majority of people, according to a range of HR studies. What really matters, it seems, is meaningful work.
This could vary wildly between individuals, but common threads that define meaningful work include work that offers opportunity for personal growth (such as through training and the opportunity to be creative) and work that connects people socially (so people feel part of a team and share the team’s commitment to delivery).
‘Meaningful’ does not mean that your organisation is looking to cure a rare disease or raise people out of poverty (though if that sounds like you, then that is amazing!). Sometimes, it can be small and subtle shifts that make all the difference and help your workforce feel valued, such as improving your workplace culture and trusting your employees to make decisions and take ownership of the roles they play in your overall success.
Start the twenties in style with an employee-focused, training-driven and technology-fuelled approach to the decade ahead. Taking on board some (or all) of these insights could make all the difference to the shape of your business in the year ahead – and they may lead to some strategic and inspiring decision-making for your business.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with your training and development needs, please do get in touch.