A few weeks ago at the 11th annual SAPInsider Human Resource (HR) 2014 Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with several HR experts on how high-performing companies are changing employee engagement with dramatic results. Here are highlights from our conversations.
Address the leadership challenge – empower employees: According to Josh Bersin, Partner and Founder at Bersin by Deloitte, “Companies are struggling to engage, attract, retain, and lead younger people. They don’t have the leadership programs to drive the dynamic level of leadership that young people want. Sophisticated HR teams know that they have to work closely with top leadership to create new models of engagement in the new world of work.”
Bersin’s company recently released its Global Human Capital Trends 2014 survey of over 2500 respondents from 90 countries. One of the key findings is that traditional employee training is being transformed with the advent of online and mobile learning. Employee empowerment through collaboration and self-driven learning is crucial to fostering a culture of development and growth that drives higher performance.
Connect the siloes: Industry analyst, Lisa Rowan, Research Vice President of HR, Talent and Learning Strategies at IDC, believes one of the top challenges HR faces today is a diverse and geographically dispersed workforce.
“Gone are the days when 95 percent of the workforce went into the office and were full or part-time employees. People are working remotely around the globe, you have freelancers and contractors. You may have partners’ employees working next to your own employees. You can’t gather everyone around the water cooler, yet HR still needs to meet the needs of the business.”
Rowan advises HR to rethink the way they use technology. “Companies are scaling back on the number of vendors they have to work with as disparate systems can’t collaborate because they have different data on them. Take an inventory, and decide what’s working and what’s not. Wherever that greatest point of pain is, that’s where to start.”
Engage with five generations of workers: Industry analyst Christa Degnan Manning, Senior Vice President of Research at HfS Research, says that companies need an omni-channel employee experience that also focuses on soft skills.
“Self-service has been overdone and employees are frustrated with it. You need mobile, social and chat in a centralized environment that provides shared services supporting the worldwide workforce, engagement with all generations of workers in the way that they want.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge for HR is the recognition that its processes are fundamentally changing. Mike Ettling, Global Head of Cloud and On Premise HR at SAP, told me that, “Everything from recruiting to onboarding to learning is less prescriptive, and more about self-empowered employee collaboration using social and mobile.”
What I find most optimstic is that after years of considering employees as cost centers to be minimized, there’s growing recognition among many companies that people are indeed their most important asset. It only makes sense that HR technology changes as well. The focus now is on helping employees take control of their learning so they can get more work done that’s directly related to strategic business results.
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