The Changing World Of HR
When you are not making an actual tangible product as a business, such as radios or teddy bears, the value of your ‘product’ or service is heavily reliant on the quality of your people. That’s not to say that in manufacturing companies this isn’t a factor, it’s just a relatively smaller part of the final equation. And as most industries stop making ‘stuff’ and add value in its delivery to the end user, there is no time more focused on helping people achieve their fullest potential than now.
Where HR used to be tasked with focusing on administrative tasks such as payroll, hiring and firing processes, nowadays we will look to HR on guidance on how to grow and nurture people. Here are a few topics that seem to be dominating the HR field.
Training can be done more efficiently, and the amount of tools we can use to support organisational processes is expansive. You no longer have to send people on pricey days away in a hotel for training, with remote learning all you need is a quiet room and some time allotted. Pretty much any skill can be learned via online courses on Lynda, Coursera or Udemy.
Organisational tools for timesheets, workflow management and team collaboration can be bought on a cloud subscription basis. You can also find specialised services for pretty much anything, such as restaurant accounting software.
We are moving away from instructing and are aspiring to coach people more. As job descriptions become more fluid, businesses are starting to demand flexibility and dealing with ambiguity more from their employees.
No longer can you train your workforce to the letter on something and expect that process to be the same year in year out. We need the workforce to adapt to new changes that might even have fundamental effects on how they perceive their jobs and themselves. Rather than ‘giving someone a fish’ we now need to teach people ‘how to fish’. Coaching seems, for most companies, the way to go.
Encouraging employees to become problem solvers in a controlled environment, and allowing them to learn by doing (and sometimes make mistakes) is, conceptually speaking, a logical step for most companies.
The concept of coaching, however, does not usually fit with the way appraisal structures are set up most companies. Where traditional appraisal structures rely on setting goals and having a half-yearly or quarterly check-in, coaching happens much more as and when, and sometimes more frequently.
Goals are usually more focused and occur in a shorter amount of time.
Effective coaching can lead to a multitude of goals (15+) being discussed and met in a year, whereas traditional methods usually focus on 5-6 goals per year. This also means that coaching is a more intense process for line managers, who will have to allocate more time to ensure coaching is done right.
With an increased requirement on companies to do the right thing, and focus more on employees, we are confronted with mass tailoring of job specs to the person and not the other way around.
With the wide acceptance of personality tests as an indicator of organisational fit, we also acknowledge that every individual learns and grows differently. So, ranging from individual training or tooling and a more employee-centric approach to appraising, it seems that if you take care of your employees, the bottom-line will take care of itself.
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