Today’s businesses operate in an extremely competitive business environment with persistent uncertainty and high complexity. Simultaneously, the digital revolution is reshaping the mix of employees – magnifying the challenges of managing a multigenerational workforce and the reduced shelf life of knowledge.
The power of the most successful businesses derives from their skilled employees. The transition to a digital, knowledge-based economy, powered by new-age employees elevates their importance to levels higher than ever before. All of this requires organizations to place a high premium on meeting heightened employee expectations.
The modern workplace places enormous demands on the organization’s leaders. In addition to being skilled in their core responsibilities, leaders also need to be strategic thinkers and problem solvers.
The business challenge that worries business leaders the most today – is talent management. The scarcity of quality talent is so acute that it has sparked fierce competition and a literal war for talent among businesses.
New-age employees are selective about how and where they will work. As the recent ‘great resignation’ demonstrated, the competition for top talent is intense and the availability of talent is scarce. Businesses need to attract and hire a productive and motivated workforce.
Failing to do so, entails the risk of losing out on the benefits that come with top talent – enhanced productivity and an edge over the competition. Any business’s success is singularly dependent on its ability to foster an environment at work where talent can thrive.
Beyond the focus on operational and personnel matters – good HR leadership meets the personal and professional expectations of its people.
Workplace Challenges – Keeping up With New-Age Employee Expectations
People-centric businesses recognize the potential of people to contribute to business success. Businesses in every industry are adapting their structures, processes, and workplace models to fully exploit the capabilities of people in driving growth.
The major workplaces challenges in these efforts include:
- Upskilling and Reskilling
A Jan 2021 study conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded, that given the current pace of technological change, half of all employees across the world will need to upskill/reskill by 2025 to fit the new jobs created by automation and technological change.
Upskilling and reskilling help in the efficient management of people’s expectations and allow them to explore growth opportunities. Streamlining internal operations, delivering quality customer experience, and business success are deeply interlinked – necessitating upfront investments in the upskilling/re-skilling to secure a return on investment.
- Satisfaction and Retention
Employee satisfaction and retention are high when employees can see a clear career path. Employees are satisfied and remain loyal to the organization when they are provided with clear responsibilities and growth opportunities.
Visible efforts, through investments in time, effort, and money, to meet employee expectations keep employees engaged and demonstrate to them that the organization values its employees.
- Organizational Culture
Periodically reinventing organizations to reflect changes in the business landscape is critical for obtaining superior business results. The most difficult step in the process – is moving away from legacy processes, ending the entrenched organizational culture, and changing people’s mindsets.
These factors can slow down, or even completely block the transformative positive actions that are initiated.
- Technological Adjustment
Initiating a transformation to align with evolving technologies is an inescapable necessity for businesses today. Increasingly, businesses are, correctly prioritizing strategic technological transformation as a business-wide initiative.
Firms undertaking technological transformation must abandon outdated business models and processes originally designed for the industrial age. To prepare the firm for the digital age, the transformation needs to be a coordinated, organization-wide effort and not something being done on the side.
- Sense of Purpose
New-age employees are seized with a sense of purpose. They expect their organization’s work to be associated with the greater good of society. New-age employees aspire to contribute to initiatives larger than their own immediate needs. Organizations need to transparently communicate their sense of purpose for their employees to relate and connect with that purpose.
Best HR Strategies for New Age Employee Expectations
- Hiring Process
Remote work allows businesses to tap into the global talent pool. It is estimated that by 2025, 70 percent of the workforce will be remote, and by 2027 there will be more remote workers than workers on-site.
As remote workers and remote hiring are becoming integral to talent acquisition, organizations must adapt automation in hiring processes like virtual conferences for interview process, Application Tracking Systems, videos to showcase workplace culture and other resources to ensure successful hiring.
- Workforce Management
Workforce management is intended to orchestrate the optimal use of resources and maximize productivity. HR strategies for new-age employees should focus on the development of top talent for the organization with a coherent strategy that is aligned with the business’s needs.
Management must include modern approach like counselling sessions, reimbursements for upskilling courses, travel passes, flexible schedules, informal team collaboration activities, and constructive feedback meetings.
- Performance Management
Businesses to effectively navigate the challenges of the multiple work models will need to transform their performance management systems. Now, every organisation require automated solution that is collaborative, adaptive, and personalized to the needs of individual employees.
For better performance management, redefine to policies related to yearly reviews with monthly sessions, one-to-one meetings, 360 degree self evaluation process, and other modern methods and strategies that could actually help you to find best performers.
- Employee Engagement
A study conducted by HBR found that 81% of business leaders believed that the business outcomes for their organizations are better when their employees are engaged.
To foster employee engagement, HR policies need to be regularly reviewed and modified to keep them aligned with changing work requirements and employee expectations.
As new workplace needs to cater demand of both remote and in-office employees, you must ensure quarterly meet ups where people can meet in person, organise sessions where together people can enjoy and show their support like screening of cricket matches at office, Sports Day and other festival celebrations.
- Technological Adoption
For talent management to be a force multiplier, the organization needs to track important functions starting from hiring, performance management, employee engagement, etc.
Technology adoption enables the automation of routine activities such as resume sorting and onboarding, freeing HR leaders to focus on strategy. However, it is important to guard against falling into the trap of blindly following technology trends. Technology adoption should be driven by the organization’s talent strategy rather than the other way around.
- Authentic Leadership
Business leaders should work on increasing self-awareness about their leadership strengths and gaps. Leaders need to develop analytical abilities and cultivate a growth mindset for themselves and their teams.
Leaders need to develop an authentic leadership style and build the capacity to lead with their brains to engage their teams and enhance organizational productivity.
- Regular Survey and Feedback
Receiving feedback is the surest means of understanding the true feelings and expectations of employees. Surveys are an effective means of collecting feedback.
The system of regular and ongoing manager-employee conversations helps in the early identification of potential problems. Waiting for the end-of-year to identify problems allows inefficiency to persist in the system for far too long without corrective intervention.
Competitive business pressure is driving the pivot toward talent management and people development. This trend is especially pronounced in the knowledge economy. The winds of change blowing through the HR landscape should be tempered with informed leadership and a supportive organizational culture.
Organizations must guard against the urge to blindly follow trends and adopt HR strategies that will best further their organizational performance needs.