The major challenge for companies is that they must become more Human centered, encouraging diversity, engagement, well being, openness and fairness at work and in society.
We are living in a very uncertain and unstable time and more and more businesses are facing a very uncertain future as a result of political, economic, societal and technological changes. We are also hearing more on a number of high profile corporate scandals that are eroding our trusts in business. Hence, it is those companies that respond to these changes by undertaking a more proactive strategy by continuing innovation of new products and services that will succeed in this fast changing world. The old paradigms of doing work such as structure, process, hierarchy, rules and regulations are not driving the outcomes we want, from behavior to productivity. There is an old age adage that “your people are your best assets”. Work environments in the past have not got the best out of, and for people. This has led to higher levels of disengagement, mismatch of skills, stress levels at work and opportunity, equality and fairness has taken a “back seat” in pursuit of profits. Certainly the traditional ways of “doing business” has been challenged and superseded by what is termed the “gig” economy and innovative work practices such as flexi-working hours, automation and its impact of the lob role and having a more diverse workforce. Certainly these are the challenges that many business are facing. The new challenge now if how many different ways we can now connect and work.
Hence, human resources (HR) will be playing a much wider role to ensure traditional workplace processes and procedure are challenged, innovation of new practices are implemented and ensuring positive change. Traditionally HR was more rule-centered, process and control rather than being human-centered. HR should focus on ensuring that the organisation, managers and the company workforce to collaborate more in a more harmonious environment to achieve the best outcomes for all the stakeholders that have a vested interest in the organisation.
There are now an array of new ideas and thinking around the future of work and in HR itself. The primary professional organisation, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has grown its membership considerably over the past decade as the importance of HR and new practices are widely been discussed in social media outlets such as Linkedin and Facebook. Traditional processes such as strict performance appraisals/management and ranking employee have now been discarded in favor of more positive practices rather than these entrenched processes. Basic questions are now posed such as what outcome are we trying to deliver? When we start asking questions about purpose rather than process, we come up with different solutions. We’ve known for decades that you can’t Just write rules and regulations and expect these to determine the right behavior. Historically, the focus has been on inputs and costs instead of output and value. It should not be on how many hours you have spent at work (input), as traditional time sheets have always documented. But more on what quantifiable outputs have you achieved. We need different definitions of value and a more consistent understanding of the people dynamics of business. This is as important for business leaders as it is for HR and now is the time to define more of a common language. What gets measured gets done. The future of work, management practices and HR will be helping organisations to build the right business model. Strategy, workforce and culture that will help them to achieve that purpose.