A new world of work … the HR challenge


A new world of work … the HR challenge

The report highlights a significant gap between what business leaders want and the capabilities of their human resources departments to deliver the learning programs and leadership development capabilities that enable and build talent.

As demand for talent picks up, the power dial in business is beginning to shift towards the employee. Workers in Australia and across the world are more diverse and more mobile, with some countries getting younger and others getting older. As employees become more autonomous, with many moving “off the books” and into a broader talent ecosystem, they are also becoming harder to engage and manage using traditional approaches.

To succeed with this highly diverse employee base, organisations need to reimagine the way they manage people and discover new ways to make themselves relevant.

Culture and engagement – the naked organisation: In this year’s survey of more than 3,300 business and HR leader interviews from 106 countries, culture and engagement was rated the most important issue overall. It edged out leadership from the top spot in 2014. The culture and engagement challenge highlights the need for businesses and HR leaders to really understand their organisation’s culture and re-examine every HR and talent program they have to better engage and empower people.

Employees are customers/partners: A first step in changing the focus would be to view employees as customers or partners. To attract and grow employees to meet the challenges of new world of work – a world where the barriers between work and life are all but eliminated and employees are “always on” through mobile technology – organisations must create a culture, and thus an employment brand, that aligns with new values and the talent they want to attract.

In banking and its technology departments, decreasing the focus on generalists, and aligning specialist capabilities with priority business needs, is critical. So is harnessing the wealth of data available to better understand customer and business needs and thus build the research and professional development capability of the business.

Is customer centricity the right goal?

Reinventing HR – an extreme makeover: The fourth biggest issue in the human capital survey was the need for HR to reskill itself. The capability gap between what businesses need and what the HR department can deliver is significant. At minus 36 per cent, Australia’s capability gap is the third biggest out of 16 countries, including India and China, behind worst performer Brazil (-40 per cent) and the Netherlands (-37 per cent) second worst.

The required change starts with the senior HR leader. As this role becomes more demanding than ever, today’s senior HR leader must become even more innovative and business savvy. The leader needs to be able to bring the HR team together so it evolves into an integrated business function. Deloitte’s research shows that this change is underway with a 10 per cent improvement in respondents rating their organisation’s performance as “good” between 2013 and 2015.

However, most (64 per cent of respondents) rate their organisation’s HR performance as either “adequate”, “getting by” or underperforming. Re-skilling HR is a critical business issue that must be addressed confidently at the CEO level.

Once designed primarily as a compliance function, today’s HR organisation must be agile, business-integrated, data-driven and deeply skilled in attracting, retaining and developing talent.

In the “new world of work”, it is important that the HR function is able to build capabilities in consulting and project management, organisational change and analytical skills.

Performance management is also a secret ingredient: One of the biggest needs in the new world of work is to rethink how organisations manage, evaluate and reward people. New, agile models for performance management are here and are a core component of the new focus on engagement, development, and leadership.

David Brown is the managing partner of human capital consulting at Deloitte, and has a passion for, and focus on, making Australia a better place to work.

This article was first published in Asia-Pacific Banking & Finance. 

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