From Personnel to Human Resources - HR Makeover Trends

Date:   Monday , June 13, 2016

Headquartered in Cologne, LANXESS is a global leader in specialty chemicals and has profound excellence in High Performance Materials, Advanced Industrial Intermediates, Inorganic Pigments, Liquid Purification Technology, Material Protection Products and Functional & Leather Chemicals

It won\'t be an exaggeration to say that the HR landscape has had a complete makeover since its inception. The evolution from \'personnel\' to \'human resources\' was the answer to the need of the day to focus on value of employees as organizational resource and view HR as strategic and trusted partner contributing to important business decisions, advise on critical situations, and in short, be the front wheels leading the path rather than back wheels supporting the journey. This transition couldn\'t have been more vibrant and evolving than today\'s times! The intense business competition, increasing globalization, transformational change, new technologies and so on, are compelling HR managers to re-engineer long-standing HR processes and the technologies that support them.

Today\'s organizations focus on employee in a holistic way; wellness, engagement, pride and happiness being the key indicators associated with the workplace. It is a symbiotic relationship between the employee and the organization based on trust, fairness and respect. Employee engagement has become priority for many organizations to keep employees motivated, which in turn shall impact performance. Offering health and wellness programs that support a healthy workforce continues to be a trend for many organizations. These programs create differentiated employee value propositions and reflect that organizations value their employees.

With more millennials joining the workforce, the talent landscape has changed and so has the ecosystem. The policies around attendance, leave management and working conditions have become more progressive. Many organizations offer flexi time, work from home, and telecommuting option to those whose roles permit this flexibility.

More and more emphasis is on having transparency and openness as part of cultural fabric. Companies following best practices have been driving OD interventions to sow the seeds of two way dialogues and feedback across levels and geographies. Lot of time and resources are committed in strengthening the performance culture with a strong foundation of values. These are aligned to the latest trend of doing away with bell curve and annual appraisals by many companies who are now focusing on continuous year-round discussions and dialogues to promote overall development of employees and establish performance oriented culture, thus focusing not just on the \'What\' but also the \'How\'.

With the Gen Y in picture, trend of instant rewards is emerging strongly. Rewards and recognition programs are geared towards acknowledging commendable work on the spot. Based on ethos of the organization, variable pay is focused on company performance rather than individual performance so as to not promote unhealthy individualism and emphasize the importance of teamwork. Nowadays employees look for more flexibility in the workplace. Some employers are offering flexible plans that allow employees to choose how their pay will be structured. There is an increasing importance to the perks and benefits offered. Today\'s employees look beyond compensation as well. For instance, a lot of companies offer extended maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave.

Agility is the necessary skill that HR function needs to be fully displaying in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. For this, technology has to be intelligently deployed as the biggest tool in the armor. The fusion of technology into organizations continues to gain momentum. Technology-based applications are extensively used in HR. Intranet forms a powerful tool in connecting, communicating and information sharing with employees. Organizations are also turning to informal social media as a platform to widen the connect and for employer branding. Talent acquisition has digitized with web-based interviews and Learning & Development too has transitioned, with e-learning modules and webinars used extensively. Moreover, most of the transactional activities like travel approvals, regularizing attendance, planning increments or viewing salary slips are done through online tools. Employers have started investing in ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning/softwares) which help employees as well as managers to perform various transactional activities, thus ensuring effective and better time utilization.

In today\'s time where data is the king, using the right data to gain valuable insights and findings can turn to be a game changer in helping businesses manage challenges and making one a progressive organization. Moreover, an organization can gain competitive edge when it uses analytics to gain data-driven insights into trends and apply the same to various HR gamut to help organization align its business strategy with people strategy. Predictive analytics facilitates an informed and proactive decision making. For example, it is just not the external benchmarking surveys alone, but in combination with internal exit data, hiring trends, retention and engagement surveys, demographic patterns that help provide the necessary insight to carve the framework for different HR systems.

In line with the efforts of organizations to strive for viability and sustainability, it is imperative for organizations to focus on diversity and inclusion. Diversity is incomplete without inclusion. While diversity has various dimensions including generation, age, gender, nationality, religion and disability, inclusion supports a diverse workforce by focusing on the needs and having the right conditions for an employee to work in. Many organizations conduct events and have support groups which serve as a platform having focus on women empowerment and enrichment for its women colleagues to learn from, bond, realize their potential to achieve career aspirations and network with each other. Reverse mentoring as a concept is gaining momentum with Gen Y supporting Gen X leaders/managers on coping with the rampant technological advancements.

It is clearly a time of leap for HR industry. While employers may offer the best value propositions, at the end, it is all about humanizing the work eco-system and making the HR framework people-centric, which is the differentiator to evolve as tomorrow\'s organization.