Why 2013 would be landmark year in HR practices and trends

This year promises to be a landmark in the alignment of intent and partnership in action between HR professionals and business leaders.

Trends and changes in HR practices offer businesses the promise of addressing many of the challenges and opportunities they both are facing going forward.

In my view, 2013 would to be the year when HR as a profession fulfills its potential of making a significant impact across the employment lifecycle for our workforces, leadership and our communities.

Businesses are moving faster than ever, creating geographically distributed, flexible, multi skilled, adaptable teams that they can deploy as macro-economic and client specific dynamics change. However, to have the speed to shape them and do so needs HR and business leaders to have the information, insight and inspiration to decide on what changes need to be made strategically and act with agility – so as to emerge successful.

Here are the top trends I see emerging which leaders will need to respond to -

1. Understanding People Using Workforce Analytics

Examining data on business outcomes and what makes teams successful in delivering them will help ensure HR adds value to keeping people moving in the right direction.  

Analytics-driven insight will become important for companies to garner from the HR processes and services they deliver as many of them can help answer key questions on the effectiveness of team size, span, structure, skill composition, individual progress, collaboration, workflows and decision-making processes - all which help to improve working relationships between team members.
More importantly, organisations will need to understand the drivers of passion and motivation that enable, engage and empower different segments of the workforce.

A singular broad-brush value proposition will not resonate equally across people – so it will need to be tailored to be made relevant to each individual’s career and life stage.

This year, businesses will need to apply their expertise in using big data to draw out information and insight and start applying this analysis to design, development and deployment of services facilitating talent acquisition, development and management.

This will ensure that decisions are made with full visibility ‘to the mirror’ when we make decisions.

2. Ensuring Inclusion to Leverage Diversity

The connotation of workplace diversity - respecting and valuing the varied experiences, recognising the diversity of our existing workforce, be it on the basis of skills, gender, age, culture, religion, language, or being differently-abled or sexually oriented - is now widely understood. 

Organisations have become increasingly committed to building on the richness of the perspectives, knowledge, insight and creativity that this diversity brings to the organisation.

Organisations will ask for effective HR strategies so as to ensure workplace inclusion and create a more supportive work environment for the diverse workforce, enabling stronger teaming which should result in more effective client service, increased productivity, greater innovation and different ways of thinking and decisions so as to enhance value created for the client.

3. Meeting Individual and Group Aspirations by Reinventing Career, Performance Talent Management Practices

With the increased competition in the global market, there is a more direct role HR plays in organisations to ensure that its leadership recognise the importance of selecting and retaining the right talent that contribute positively to growth. 

To do so, the key role HR needs to play is to ensure that the right skill is available at the right location, at the right time, at the right cost.

Viewing performance management as a process to enable us to ensure a direct line of sight to the business strategy with individual contribution will acquire greater significance.

Individual aspirations

Aligning individual aspirations to organisational needs will be an outcome of proactive career planning for high potential and high performing talent. 

Ensuring availability of talent will also lead to a focus on cost of employee health and wellness and investments in physical and mental wellness programs will grow in scope and complexity.
For them, these practices ‘invert the pyramid’ and ensure leaders, managers and enabling functions support individuals increase their motivation and value when they interact with each other and their clients.

4.Delivering value with virtual workforces

With growth unpredictable, visibility to forecast demand for talent has become very low. As availability of opportunities become more fluid within organisations, the individual worker will be more open to consider new ways of working.

As companies take a more intense look at productivity vis-a-vis work hours available, there will be a rise in offering of new work constructs.

This will lead to an exponential growth in innovating new workforce models and employment constructs.   

In 2013, a key focus will be in increasing the number of jobs and nature of skills that can be staffed by an alternate talent pool – as well as identifying how to access and make available the appropriate people in the local market to staff these identified jobs. The focus in 2013 will steer away from traditional “ROI” calculations to “VOI”, or “Value on Investment”, as different organisations emphasise the importance of different outcomes. VOI must focus on tangible and intangible benefits – generated by a healthy workplace where there is appreciation for the individual, the group and the communities’ desire for learning, involvement, growth, balance and recognition. We see HR brining the Heart into the Results expected at the workplace!

(The author is the Chief Human Resources Officer, HCL Technologies Ltd)

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