By Shamsu Nisha, 08 April 2019
Sana was looking for opportunities ever since her three-year-old started school. She had decided to take a break from work in order to care for her baby, as she was unable to handle the dual responsibilities of a young mother and a hectic work schedule. But here came a chicken-egg scenario: many companies would not hire her citing the break in her career.
Sana’s woes finally ended when she saw an ad by a leading company recruiting women like her, who had opted for a hiatus with an intention to get back to becoming a working professional, at some point of time in their lives. This and several other HR trends witnessed today represent the shifts that are taking place to make HR more cohesive and inclusive.
Ever since companies came to the realization that a structured and strategic approach to managing employees could yield immense dividends, HRM (human resource management) has become an indispensable part of running an organization. Over the years as the business landscape evolved, HR has shown remarkable dexterity to adapt to the changing times and redefined human capital management to enable better value creation and growth.
With attrition becoming a harsh corporate reality, organizations today are fighting hard to retain talent and are also getting recognized for the HR policies they adopt. To stay ahead of the curve company HRs are embracing creative HR practices starting from hiring, on-boarding, training, and employee retention in order to meet the aspiration of the employees.
With the focus shifting from championing the wishes of employees than pleasing the top management and the inexorable march of technology leaving no space untouched; the office landscape is gradually seeing a shift as established hierarchies are being dismantled and in their place new employee engagement and human resources management paradigms are starting to evolve. Let’s see how.
Employee-centric approach: In recent times HR practices have started to adopt more humane and holistic countenance where meeting the aspirations of the employees has taken precedence over top management considerations. This approach shuns the traditional transactional nature of employee-employer relations and connects both in a purposeful manner and allows the employees’ opportunities to learn, grow, develop and flourish in satisfaction. The standard motifs of salary, bonuses, free transportation, and insurance benefits are being augmented by finding the optimum work, health and life balance that doesn’t imperil employee health and family life. Today companies are taking the role of an enabler and allowing employees to chart their own career graph. Employees are deciding their assignments and time of delivery and are being suitably incentivized at the successful completion of agreed targets.
Flexibility and agility to stay competitive: We are well past the era of clearly defined and assigned jobs. Today companies are not putting in place teams with specific jobs but are putting together teams with specific skill sets that are required for the assignment at hand. HRs are also extending flexible work hours, and work from home opportunities to meet modern-day urban realities and also being flexible in designing packages that substitute one allowance for another. Besides changing their organizational structure to remain competitive, companies are also investing in setting up different and creative workstations that break the monotony of confined office spaces and enhance employee productivity.
Building more inclusive workplaces: Today companies are focusing in building more inclusive workplaces that accommodate all – gender, race, religion, age, disability etc in letter and spirit.. Companies are also training and counselling employees on matters of sexual harassment and laying down relevant laws pertaining to it. Dedicated sexual harassment committees are being set-up to look into cases of harassment and compliance. Companies are also making allowances for extended maternity leaves and welcoming mothers after long maternity breaks. HR managers are absorbing them back into the fold after relevant training and skill up-gradation. The inclusive character also extends to the involvement of employees and consumers in developing the services, products and having a say in the future of the company they are engaged with.
Focus on people skill of employees: With communication and interpersonal skills becoming an important characteristic in pursuant to collective goals HR managers are increasingly looking for professionals who have the ability for teamwork besides domain expertise. They also are keen on employees who have an understanding of company vitals like finances, revenue, and profits so that they are better placed to meet company objectives at the end of financial quarters.
Digitized workspaces: With the advancement of technology, office spaces are rapidly transforming with increased tech intervention with an emphasis on people analytics. Digital tools such as social media and cognitive assessment can be leveraged for finding talented recruits while people analytics and predictive talent models can enable HR to more effectively and rapidly identify, recruit, develop and retain the right talent.
Technology can also be leveraged to facilitate real-time learning for the employees. Learning and performance are interlinked so HR needs to equip employees with relevant technological tools to empower themselves with the knowledge so that employees can meet any challenge and in a timely fashion.