Accenture report “Shattering the boundaries of HR” points out that humanresources management is one of few areas (in addition to IT) affecting theentire organisation. This represents an ultimate change of today’s approach toHR.
This change may best be illustrated by a new opening inthe finance-HR area. Traditionally, the CFO used to classify HR as costs, whilethe HR director used to find HR the company’s most important asset.
The very concept of talent management is not new – theissue has already been analysed in 1997 McKinsey research and the book “The Warfor Talent” published in 2001. Already then were the challenges ofattracting and developing employees’ skills recognized. Crushing the wallbetween HR and the rest of the organisation involves transferring responsibilityfor talents from HR onto the entire community, primarily managers.
A particularly important aspect of HR management ismotivation. According to calculations of Sysco, a global food distributiongiant, a team of satisfied employees is both cheaper to maintain and generateshigher income. The analysis also allowed tracking which actions of the companypositively contribute to employees’ satisfaction and spreading those practices overthe entire organisation afterwards. As a result, savings of about 50 milliondollars were made on recruiting further employees.
Sime Darby, a Malaysian industrial holding, presents aparticularly interesting approach. Its managers realized that the employees whowere aware of their skills, particularly those working in engineering and IT,frequently favour development more than stability and loyalty towards theiremployer. This is the reason why they are willing to change even a goodemployer, they are satisfied with, and go to a company that will let them learnmore.
Therefore, exceptionally talented employees areassigned to “internships” in other organisations like Accenture. The key objectiveis to shape their talents through working in various environments, withoutletting them go.
Employee’s experience is directly linked to workingconditions. Today, an accepted standard is to work in open spaces, which is theresult of the growing importance of intellectual and office work.
However, open space is not an environment that isfriendly to everyone. According to a study published in the Journal ofEnvironmental Psychology, conducted on 40,000 employees from over 300 US firms,people working in open-plan offices were much less productive than their colleagueslocked in enclosed offices. The main reason for this wasthe lack of possibility to concentrate due to continuous surrounding humantraffic and noise.
Further, 83 per cent of workers think they do not needto come to the office and that their job could be done remotely from home. Withthe growth of gig economy and the presence of solopreneurs (specialistsvoluntarily giving up permanent employment to work for multiple employers), thepressure to allow remote work will just be growing.
In addition to allowing employees to work remotely,the companies also respond by building more modern offices. More and moreorganisations are giving up the traditional division of office space intomanagers’ offices, open space area and conference rooms, and turn to developingspace customised to a given type of work. This trend is interesting as more andmore tasks are performed in groups, which makes queues lining up in front ofconference rooms an intrinsic feature of work in each corporation.
This problem has been spotted by Nvidia, for instance,which designed its new building based on the latest office space design trends.At the same time, offering employees a proper working environment is a keyelement of employer branding – a new office is a genuine driving force whenbuilding publicity. The role of offices and working environment has also beennoticed by Google, whose buildings in each city become an object of analysesand admiration of architecture experts.
Building of both the employee’s experience and the workingenvironment requires proper communication. People send 12 million texts everyminute and 294 billion emails a day. The information fatigue syndrome hasalready been diagnosed and described by psychologist David Lewis: more and morepeople are not able to acquire new information, they have problemsunderstanding, not to mention selecting, simple messages. Therefore, reachingthe right candidates is becoming more and more difficult and using traditionalmethods for that may not prove sufficient.
It is becoming more and more significant to track thecandidate’s journey, in the way producers analyse purchase journeys of theircustomers. The key for success here is to reach the recipient’s awareness witha proper content targeted at the right place and time.
Brand journalism is becoming a stronger and strongertrend. This involves using reporter tools when generating contents for brands.This is a quiet revolution – as the goal of marketing is to promote the companyand the goal of PR is to build its image, the role of brand journalism is totell stories about the brand. These stories are the most effective whenbuilding the message, which offers new, much wider opportunities.
A natural consequence of this trend is the growingimportance of content marketing and PR divisions. The study conducted by AttentionMarketing shows that already now PR divisions are turning mainly towards the insideof organisations, as they are aware that building the right brand image startsfrom working at the very bottom (for 68 per cent of PR divisions inmedium-sized and large companies, their primary job is internal communication).The candidate’s market also matters here. Proper internal communication hasalways been brushed off. Those who consistently worked on internalcommunication may feel as winners today.
However, before a company is able to develop talentsand care for their comfort, it must find those talents. Here, the old barrierbetween HR and IT is falling down. General Electric and IBM, which areorganisations dependent on efficient engineers, already today have a positioncalled “Agile Recruiting Scrum Master”. Company representatives state thatapplication of agile recruiting techniques to hire employees allowed theircompanies to reduce the recruitment process down to 2-6 weeks, while thestandard process used to last 10-15 weeks.
Still, one must remember that attracting talentedemployees requires shaping the right company image. This allows building arelationship between those divisions that work on keeping the people within thecompany and those which allow attracting them. In the era of social media andthe Internet, workers may quickly verify all the information about the company.This means that the more intensive employer branding activities are, the higherthe company’s risk is that they are only a façade. If HR is separated fromother departments and is not able to verify effectiveness of its actions (suchas employer branding or talent management), it will not be able to effectivelyaccomplish its tasks.
Marta Olejnicka HR Base
Adam Sanocki Attention Marketing