“With the changed profile of gen X and gen Y, HR faced a new challenge of meeting their expectations, which go beyond money alone… They expect freedom, challenge, novelty, hierarchy-less culture and so on”
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Last week, we discussed how the need for essential Personnel & Administration (P&A) function evolved. In this article, we will discuss how the flavor of P&A has changed and new age HR has emerged.
Factors that led to change in HR
Organisations, with expected basic administration and statutory compliance, have realized that much more needs to be done on the people front. With the profile of workforce changing from gen X to gen Y, with the emergence of new age industries, with the increased employment options to talented people, with the dominance of knowledge as against manufacturing, with the advent of technology in servicing employee needs, the expectations from the HR function changed rather dramatically!
With the changed profile of gen X and gen Y, HR faced a new challenge of meeting their expectations, which go beyond money alone. They expect freedom, challenge, novelty, hierarchy-less culture and so on. This has necessitated HR to reinvent itself beyond administration and compliance role.
What has continued from the earlier HR?
The traditional functions sometimes we may call them as core HR such as recruitment, employee services, compensation and training continue even today, albeit with a renewed focus. HR has been striving to find new ways of performing these core functions and this effort will continue! For example, recruitment has to take cognizance of social media; employee services need to leverage Information Technology to offer various self-service options to the employee; compensation needs to be modeled differently keeping the expectations of new age employees; and training needs to be more engaging and experiential. Though the core HR remained the same, the approach has been changing over the years. This surely calls for continuous learning among the HR fraternity. Those who may think that P&A to HR is merely a name change are surely mistaken.
Current areas of focus?
Here is a list of currently trending themes in HR. This surely is not an exhaustive list not does it indicate any order of priority. The purpose is to indicate how expectations from HR are changing.
Business Heads and CEOs are expecting HR to act as a business partner. They expect HR to contribute to business performance by ably supporting in aligning HR practices with the business priorities. For example, by thinking innovatively on the staffing, HR can drive greater efficiency and thereby adding to the profitability. They also expect HR to be the watchdog to ensure budgetary discipline. Growing up to this role of becoming a business partner is surely a possibility for any youngster subject to the person understanding the business thoroughly.
In as many HR areas as possible, technology can be leveraged to improve efficiency as well as achieve greater employee satisfaction. As simple as a bio-metric system to mark the attendance to an intranet to offer self-service to the employee, IT offers tremendous opportunity to HR. This space is particularly open for youngsters who are more adept in embracing technology.
Social Media for HR
Social media has emerged and grown so rapidly that it has overwhelmed many HR professionals. Spotting potential talent from social media, working on employer branding, bringing better communication among the teams, connecting with the employees virtually….it has been changing the way HR functions are performed. This is yet another opportunity for youngsters who bring in fresh perspectives on social media!
With the increased pace of working, pressure to perform, growing scale of operations, employee connect could be a possible casualty. Special emphasis and effort is called for to stay connected with the employees so that they continue to engage with the organisation. This requires ability of rapport building and empathy. A caring attitude to understand the concerns and feelings of employees is required.
With all the efforts of HR, the ultimate expectation is better business performance and employee satisfaction. In order to sustain the same however, it is imperative to make efforts to retain the talent. This is another challenge for all the HR professional. Understanding the aspirations, managing expectations and innovative ways of engaging with the talent are essential here.
Having understood the opportunity in HR, how it has evolved and what HR folks really do, it is now time for you to evaluate if HR can be a career option for you!
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