As the world changes and challenges become more complex, so do people’s demands and expectations, specially for the younger generation, whose non-conforming attitudes are forcing companies to rethink their policies in order to attract and develop talent, as well as inspiring loyalty among employees.
In this regard, the sanitary crisis has been a determining factor for the recent shift in demand and approach to HR policies; but the willingness to change an almost solely productivity-oriented approach towards a human or employee centered one has been in the forefront of HR leaders for quite a while.
It seems increasingly clear that HR departments could -and should- play an important role in achieving a new talent and work model fit for a future of sustainable economic growth based upon inclusive and decent jobs, like it is set on the UN’s sustainable development goals’ agenda or the current list of priorities in ESG terms.
The human factor
For too long, HR departments relied on process-based mandates that optimized labor costs, reinforced compliance and supported the adoption of technology; even in areas such as recruitment or learning and development, where there is usually more room for a corporate purpose or culture to be addressed, the main focus rapidly became productivity. However, it quickly became clear that this one-dimensional approach fell short for the needs of both people and companies in regards to the search for a purpose driven job and the allure for new talent, respectively.
Additionally, the pandemic drastically altered employees priorities in the workplace creating a wide range of renewed requirements for their personal and professional wellbeing, including mental and physical health needs, and transparency about ethical implications of the company’s societal and environmental impact.
In this new context, the so-called ‘’back to human’’ HR model is gaining growing popularity among organizations, as it is a direct and more adequate response to meet people’s current demands. In a way, this new approach is a response to all the human elements essential to any organization that have been left behind in favor of technological advances and productivity.
Policies deriving from a human-centered approach are meant to be more flexible and responsive, fostering improved engagement channels between the organization and its employees. But, where should these policies start in order to guarantee a successful transition of approaches?
Purpose driven companies
Change does not come overnight, there are some basic as well as key elements that need to be addressed at the core of the company before more responsible policies and actions can thrive effectively. For HR related matters, we can talk about a fundamental pillar for a successful and reliable human-centered approach: purpose.
Purpose, together with values and culture, are essential for creating decent as well as attractive jobs where people can feel proud and fulfilled and develop their talent. Not only that, purpose driven companies are more likely to avoid systemic crises, as pre-existing alignment on the organization’s core reason for being will enable a coordinated, values-driven response that is authentic to (your) people and compelling to stakeholders (McKinsey&Company, 2020).
This is, purpose can be understood as an essential tool for efficient risk assessment and management at all levels, including HR.
The future of HR
We can talk about four leading trends when working towards the adoption of human-centric HR policies:
- Deeper engagement: New strategies look for building more personal relationships among HR teams and employees in order to shift from self-service solutions to face-to-face assessments of the different issues that they might face in the workplace. Such issues include talking salaries, onboardings, promotions, brainstorming etc. This new approach could also serve as a means for a clearer and deeper understanding and view of the workforce.
- Improved employee experience: HR teams look for methods through which they can address employee experience in a more personalized and dynamic way. This is closely related to diversity, equity and inclusion policies (DEI) that respect each individual’s differences while creating a shared feeling of cohesion across the company, which in turn helps adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances of the market and the world.
- Agile decision making across the organization: The pandemic has left an even bigger sense of urgency for the need to make better and faster decisions. However, these decisions should not only come from top management, but rather shift the approach towards one that empowers line managers and enables employees to make thoughtful decisions. HR teams have an additional responsibility in this regard, as agile decision-making strategies may call for new ways for keeping the organization together.
- Flexible talent pools: Winning on talent is crucial for any organization, and so expanding the talent pools companies go to when looking for new incorporations could be the future of organizations. In this regard, HR leaders seem to be looking towards independent workers and their skills, prioritizing the search for talent for specific tasks, even if it’s temporary, rather than putting cost savings at the expense of necessary aptitudes. This flexible approach also helps with a better assessment of talent needs which nowadays tend to change rather quickly.
Engaging through transparency
Transparency is a fundamental part of any HR related policy or practice inside an organization. Transparent information and open channels of communication are key to get the whole picture of any given issue that arises from employees, understand it fully to make the necessary assessments, and develop an adequate action plan to prevent further damage. Transparency is the base for healthy and reliable engagement across the organization.
In DoGood we believe you can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is why we actively work to pursue transparent and traceable information to be reported and help companies achieve a continuous improvement as well as a stronger relationship with stakeholders to help impact society and the planet in a positive way, helping revive trust and confidence.
In this regard, it is essential to our work to promote good corporate governance, meaning that the processes of disclosure and transparency are followed so as to provide regulators and shareholders as well as the general public with precise and accurate information about the financial, operational and other aspects of the company, including a more accurate definition of the ESG performance.
We have developed a corporate government tool that helps establish ESG impact objectives for employees in regards to the sustainability strategy of the company. Through our SaaS technology we are able to activate and track employees’ impact, creating engagement that translates into improved ESG metrics, reputational value and an overall positive impact for the environment and society.
If you want to know more about how we work to create a positive social and environmental impact, click here.