In the January/February issue of HR Magazine, Josh Bersin with Deloitte, makes nine predictions of “what’s in store for HR in 2015.” Many of the nine predictions are ongoing hang-overs (pun intended) and others do have some interesting twists and are the result of a world that continues to spin ever forward on the back of technology, data, and diversity. This will be a series of articles looking at each of these predictions.
Prediction One: Culture, Diversity, Engagement, and Retention
Where have we heard these issues before? Let’s begin with culture. The interesting thing about this prediction is that now culture has become the cousin of your brand. Here’s what happens…people are unhappy in your organization, they leave, driving up turnover costs. Not only that, they tell others why they were unhappy, and all of this gossip, no doubt spread by social media, says your brand is no fun to work for, and you find it difficult to lure people to sign on at your company. Current employees become overwhelmed (another later prediction) from the extra work, they become disgruntled, under produce, give poor customer service, etc., etc., etc.
The solution, according to the article, is that no matter what HR does, it should be asking, is what we’re doing fun, is it productive, and does it make work easier? According to an article by Korn Ferry, a sense of purpose would be a large part of the cure in creating a culture people want to call home. The article suggests that the “how” and “who” of the organization should be considered, but that the “why” should receive the bulk of the attention when cultivating a culture of high performers. Getting back to HR’s predictions, if people know the “why” of their work, this will spur them on to be more productive. So now, knowing the “why,” employees are closely aligned with the organization’s priorities, mission, vision, goals, and the organization’s “place in the world,” every employee will become a high performer. Hmmmm, I wonder, if this works for people who make widgets?
That’s pretty lofty stuff. Employees must have a passion for what they are doing in the first place. Unless one is doing a job that is the best match for his or her talents, skills, and attributes, your priorities, mission, etc. hold no meaning and here’s why. If your employees are not in the best job match for them, they cannot wait to leave your organization. They will be nonproductive and most likely spread negative cultural droppings all over your organization.
Diversity: Don’t get me started. Are we EVER going to put this bear to bed? Probably not. Does that mean that we shouldn’t try? Probably not. Maybe the higher purpose idea in the previous section will cure this bear of its bias. Uh, that’s probably not going to happen either. Diversity may be more of a challenge for some organizations due to the distribution of American demographics. Some areas of the country are top heavy with immigrants. Other areas are top heavy on ethnicity, age, gender, religious sects, and sexual orientation. Further, our youth-oriented society thinks older generations are useless —and that’s just the 50 somethings! Let’s teach respect and tolerance at an early age and reinforce it in the workforce regardless of who our co-workers are or what area of the country our work takes us. This is a concept or movement whose time is overdue. It could happen…..
According to HR Magazine, at least one person is carving out a path to that end. Howard Ross, Founder and Chief Learning Officer at Cook Ross, Inc. in Silver Springs, MD suggests that bias is natural. He goes on to say that we need to acknowledge our biases and suggests that his company’s cure is to remove the stigma of acknowledging bias and that he has created a language to talk about it.
Engagement: According to one source, engagement, begins at a high level. Karen Kane, a contributor to Korn Ferry’s Briefings suggests that activists are influencing the engagement of stockholders. In addition, Boards and management need to be actively engaged with one another and organizational strategy. Again, people will stay with work that best matches their skills, attributes, and talents. However, that may not be enough if they are disrespected for who they are and how they look. Does HR ever feel like a gerbil on a wheel?
Retention: See all sections above.
Clearly, no organization can sustain a happy and engaged workforce without first doing its homework on its strategies and matching talent that drives those strategies. Clearly no employee is going to stay where he or she is not happy and engaged in work for which there is no skill match or passion. Just think, if everyone in your organization had a passion for the work and were using his or her talents every day, there would be great engagement, a culture no one could match, and no team member would have time for bias.
The next view into HR’s crystal ball: Redesigning Performance Management.