HR in crisis- what could save the people experience?
- 7 Min Read
In a rapidly evolving world, HR as a function is reaching a crisis point. The priorities of today’s workforce demands an evolution in how we think about people strategies. Organsiations need to hit their core targets and drive performance but how can these goals negatively impact their people experience? Managing Director of Advanced People Management, Nick Gallimore is here to take you through the six pillars of people experience and the transformative benefits organisations can unlock by focusing on them
We are currently living through a period of accelerated growth in the modern working space. These evolutions have heralded a pendulum shift in the nature of the relationship between organisations and their employees. Increasing numbers of today’s workforce are looking to their employers to act as standard bearers of positive economic, social and governance (ESG) strategies, as well demonstrating themselves as more ethical and sympathetic entities in general.
These shifts are the reason that we talk about the evolution of Human Resources to People Experience. Today’s workforce needs to see their values reflected by the organisations they work for. This will require a specific shift in focus for many businesses and in many cases, will find those who are too slow on the uptake to understand the nature of this evolution, will find themselves falling behind.
At Advanced, we believe that a focus on building a stronger People Experience does not mean compromising on drives for success. In fact, what if a change in approach – focusing on saving the People Experience, actually unlocked the tools required to embed a happier, more engaged and more productive workforce?
In this article, we will be revisiting the six pillars of People Experience and what the transformative effect of focusing on each one of these priorities can do to save your people’s experience.
It goes without saying that a driving force behind achieving greater business success is ensuring you have the key talent in place to hit those core goals. However, the rapid transformation of the working world over the last few years has meant that many organisations find their business goals are often at odds with the priorities of today’s employees, making securing top candidates a near insurmountable challenge.
A key reason for this is a reliance on older approaches to recruitment. Where before it may have been sufficient to lean on salary benefits and the merits of flashy office spaces, today’s candidates are more focused on what may have been dismissed as “Nice to haves” in the past- a focus on work-life balance, flexibility and culture and inclusivity for example.
The key to saving the People Experience from a recruitment perspective will be to focus less on more traditional benefits and to consider how to bring your cultural values to the fore. Your Employer Value Proposition or EVP, describes the various metrics which contribute to your brand as an employer.
A huge motivational factor for today’s workforce is the potential for continued learning and development. A key element of the modern People Experience lies in an organisation’s ability to foster the ambition of their employees and offer well-embedded programmes of talent development.
Unfortunately, it’s often easy for these initiatives to fall by the wayside when businesses look to drive greater productivity and profitability. What is often failed to take into consideration however, is how closely linked learning and development are with employee engagement and wellbeing- employees who feel supported in their personal development goals inevitably feel more invested not only in their own journey within the organisation but also more actively engaged with the overall mission goals of the business.
Furthermore, learning and development offers a perfect opportunity to educate and to pass on valuable skill sets or knowledge which can otherwise become lost in the churn as employees retire or leave the organisation. This is an example of the People Experience at its best- as a framework for investing in your people and understanding the mutual benefits that investment can bring.
Performance management as a function is all too often viewed in a negative light- how often have you looked at your annual appraisals or review processes as anything other than box-ticking exercises?
A narrow view of performance management can mean that businesses rarely appreciate the value it can provide to them and worse yet, restricting talent reviews to a rigid yearly cycle means there is a huge gulf of time where you are missing out on gaining insights into your employees.
How can performance management save the People Experience? It’s actually simpler than you might think. Knowing there is a need for more people-led strategies is one thing but how exactly do you measure the performance of any initiatives?
This is where re-evaluating your performance management strategies is key. Do your employees have a framework to offer their own feedback and have input in shaping their journey? If not, how can the time be reshaped to offer more value for all parties?
When we talk about productivity, what do we mean? Well at a basic level, the goal is to measure the amount of value created for each hour worked. From a people management perspective, it’s a fairly straightforward metric to measure- assessing the individual output of employees on any given day.
The issue comes when you drill down into the nature of productivity and what exactly it is that you’re measuring. A narrower, more traditional view of how we measure productivity is tied to traditional working hours and office spaces and on paper, the People Experience doesn’t appear to factor too heavily into productivity.
We think this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to get a true picture of productivity in your organisation, you cannot afford to lose sight of factors such as working environments- the difference between remote and office-based work and most importantly, external factors such as quality of life or mental and physical wellbeing. When driving conversations around productivity, it’s clear that the People Experience forms an integral part of a sustained cycle of output.
Culture and inclusion
One of the most dominant shifts in recent years has been the rise in priority for organisations to be seen as culturally diverse and inclusive workplaces. D&I initiatives were perhaps easier to deprioritise in the past but are now forming a fundamental part of the People Experience as a whole.
From a business perspective, culture and inclusivity isn’t just a blue sky philosophy- we’ve already talked about how today’s employees want to see the organisations they work for acting as more empathetic and positive forces for social change. Your commitment to a more diverse and inclusive workplace is the ultimate expression of this.
From a business perspective, there’s an already a clearly established link between D&I and productivity. People actively want to work for organisations whose values reflect their own and from an output perspective, it’s clear that employees find it easier to invest in the overall journey of a business if the workplace culture is a diverse and welcoming one.
In the modern working world, one thing that’s become abundantly clear is that regardless of the sector you operate in, you cannot afford to be complacent. What defines successful businesses in today’s market isn’t the same as yesterday’s requirements, therefore those who refuse to change are in danger of becoming left behind.
Where does the People Experience come into this? Well to put it simply, the modern workplace is one which is driven by your people. The accelerated changes we’ve seen have served to empower employees to dictate their terms and seek out organisations which reflect their needs. Whilst this is most commonly associated with hybrid working requirements, this can also relate to cultural and ESG matters.
We hope this has been a useful look at the six pillars of People Experience and how a focus on saving the People Experience should be a top priority for all organisations.
If there’s one lesson I’d want you to take away from this, it would be that a focus on the People Experience doesn’t require compromise in other areas of your strategy- in fact, we believe that the links between people-led strategies and performance are often criminally overlooked.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at the six pillars and how you can save the People Experience within your organisation- read our eBook now!