The shape of work is changing in front of our eyes. And while plenty has been written about digitization and the future of work, little has been said about how organizations can take this opportunity to re-imagine and super charge their HR function. This takes a holistic, planned and sustained approach. In this article, I share some views, based on our LACE model, so organizations can make the most of this opportunity.
Brexit and the emergence of new roles, in our increasingly digital world, are fuelling talent shortages and mean we need to recruit great people in different ways. People Matters estimates that, “65% of children starting school today will end up in completely new roles that do not exist today”. Added to this, in the UK organisations are facing a period of incredibly low unemployment (4.2%) and a real shortage of critical talent, amplified by a political environment of increasing immigration intolerance. Meaning the talent needed to deliver growth can’t be found.
These factors alone indicate there is a clear argument to fundamentally review and change how we recruit and support people through the entire employee lifecycle so we stay current and relevant in the changing environment.
Actively supporting HR in its evolution
Many HR functions could become impotent in their ability to influence the outcomes of their businesses if they don’t rethink traditional ways of working and thinking. But focused and supported in the right way, a HR function could super charge people, helping organisations to differentiate themselves to win in the market.
For the first time, in its long and distinguished history, HR and other functions that support people have an opportunity to make a real difference, beyond that of rhetoric. A great general once said “the only difference between winning and losing is timing.” And that time is now for HR. Leaders of organisations need to rethink how they view and support their HR functions, particularly in the following areas:
Give HR a fresh start
Leaders should take a step back and forget their previous perception of HR, and think of what HR could become in an organisation. Consider the opportunity of supporting your HR team to power up the people in your organisation. It could be a game changer – we know that people are the differentiator for many organisations and that won’t change in the digital age.
To support a digital business, HR must first break with the paradigms that have defined it since the emergence of the Ulrich model. This includes moving away from the term HR – commoditising an organisation’s most important differentiator as simply human resource. We are moving rapidly into an era of people-centric working, where people want to be treated as humans, where resilience and the chance to bring your best self to work are looked for by talent. Those organisations that have people-centric functions, centring around the employee experience, and a Chief People Officer have started shaking the 90’s human resources mentality.
Fundamental to the LACE model, is understanding that the role of HR is no-longer policy and resource management. In a digital and agile organisation, we need to not only capture information but identify insights and use this knowledge, enable behavioural change and, in turn, enhance productivity. Recognising the importance of enabling people to be at their best is the first step towards a new very differently aligned model for the function, and outcome for your organisation.
The standard Ulrich model is no longer relevant. We must do things fundamentally differently.