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Human Resources – Seven trends in people management

Text: Christine Fidelis, CPO of ília

Since the turn of the decade, we have had a global pandemic, war, and now a likely worldwide recession. During this period, the Chief People Officer (CPO) and the role of the people manager have become as important to the organization as the CFO and financial analysts during the global financial crisis.

When you add in other macro factors such as the fourth industrial revolution, process automation, Artificial Intelligence, and the consequent changing nature of jobs, to the rise of the remote working model, skills shortages, rising employee expectations of work-life balance, and the diversity agenda – all of which have people at the center – it is easy to understand why the demand for more strategic people functions is on the rise.

Based on this scenario, we can indicate the seven main agendas for HR teams in the coming years. Some are underway and should be consolidated by 2023 to support the dynamism of labor relations, resulting from the instability of the world today.

1. human leadership in first place

Now, more than ever, following the changes that labor relations have seen, the importance of an effective leader and manager has grown by leaps and bounds. The current landscape demands empathetic, adaptable, and authentic leaders for their employees.

Welcome to the era of “human” leadership!

What does this imply for HR teams?

In a role as trainer and encourager of leaders toward development in the following dimensions:

  • Transparency in communication;
  • Teamwork, collaboration and empathy;
  • Investing time in people;
  • Feedback;
  • Recognition, rewards, and praise.

In addition to company initiatives, leadership expert Kerry Azar suggests encouraging looking inward by leaders themselves, in a process of daily evolution:

“If leadership is about becoming ‘radically human,’ then there is one thing we can do every day. Ask ourselves, ‘How am I getting in the way?’ Answer truthfully and be prepared to take action.”

2. Solving the hybrid ‘productivity paradox’

With the exception of a few outliers, most companies have already adopted some form of hybrid working, but the model is still in its consolidation phase.

Against this backdrop of uncertainty, it will be increasingly necessary to rely less on dogma and more on data if companies and practitioners are to better understand key questions about the hybrid work model:

  • What is working?
  • What is not so favorable?
  • Why are we more or less productive/agile/innovative working remotely or working in the office?
  • When and why is face-to-face important?
  • How should we redesign work, the workforce, and workplaces for the hybrid era?

These are big questions – ones that require data, collaboration and experimentation. The answers will likely evolve over time and shape the agenda in the coming years. Solving the ‘Productivity Paradox’ is a huge opportunity for HR professionals and people analysts to lead the redesign of the organization of the future, fully adaptable to hybrid work, workplace and workforce and increasingly nurture the purpose, value and culture in every professional.

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Productivity Paranoia (Source: Microsoft Work Trends Index)

3. Building the skills-based organization

From a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, we have moved to a post-pandemic landscape of fragility, anxiety, non-linearity and incomprehensibility that directly impacts social and work relationships. This creates concern for three out of four CEOs about the availability of key skills and how the current landscape may make it difficult for them to acquire, develop and retain the talent they need to drive growth.

Companies are transitioning to a “skills-based organization” where they take responsibility for developing professionals in technical and behavioral skills in order to enable movement between levels, careers, and areas according to skills and retraining of professionals.

The effort to do this should not be underestimated, especially since this process presupposes the fall of the dominant employment-based work structure to a model in which skills and interests, and not necessarily one’s education, will be the guiding threads of one’s journey and career. “We have 140 years of learned behavior from leaders and managers that we are trying to change,” as Ravin Jesuthasan notes.

Companies will need to put more emphasis on hiring skills, allowing HR to increase efforts to map skills and embrace non-traditional talent. And also more investment in skills development leading to more internal opportunities, greater focus on mobility, greater agility and productivity, and the possible emergence of innovative practices such as talent sharing across organizations.

4. Generating value with People Analytics

The People Analytics market evolved in 2022 and is expected to be consolidated in 2023, along with the increasingly strategic positioning of the people area.

A Forbes article describes people analytics as:

“A collection of data about the human capital and performance of workers within an organization. But this practice also turns the information into actionable, meaningful insights that HR and PA specialists use to improve business performance and the employee experience.”

Organizations based on People Analytics tend to be more assertive about wellness, design and personalization of the employee experience.

If HR is going to meet the high expectations placed on its shoulders and successfully seize the golden opportunity in front of it, People Analytics has a key role to play.

According to a report by Deloitte, more than 70% of companies use People Analytics to improve their performance.

These are some key areas where people analytics can add value:

  • Diversity and inclusion: for actionable insights into employee sentiment and to test improvements in employee experience, psychological safety, belonging and fairness.
  • Employee Experience: to listen/experience the employee based on data to get a better “feel” for the organization.
  • Retention: to gain insight into the labor market, key competitor trends, risk factors with predictive models, and more.
  • Workforce Planning: To forecast workforce skills and costs and plan for them while managing existing costs.
  • Talent Acquisition: To assess fairness in assessment and selection and the pace of hiring appropriate to the market demands of the business.

5. Amplifying the employee’s voice

The horizontalization of organizations favors listening to professionals in order to promote collaboration, exchange, foster innovation and assertiveness for Human Resources actions.

Successful companies should scale employee listening across the enterprise, take the insights they collect to enable decisions that benefit both the company and the professionals.

Trends to watch for in the future of employee listening include more:

  • Active listening channels (e.g., video, voice, text, chat) for employees to actively provide feedback
  • Passive listening metadata collection (e.g., calendar, email, collaboration tools, etc.)
  • Text analysis to gain deeper insights from employee feedback, which will help ensure intensity and quality of work as key issues in the feedback experience for professionals.

6. Transitioning from employee wellness to a healthy organization

The last couple of years have finally witnessed employee mental health and wellness receiving due focus in the workplace.

A recent McKinsey Health Institute study found that one in four employees worldwide report symptoms of burnout. Furthermore, the study highlighted a 22% gap between employer and employee perceptions of well-being at work and identified a strong correlation between toxic work cultures and burnout.

What can we expect to happen on that front?

The answer lies in “The Healthy Organization” – a holistic and more inclusive approach to wellness across the enterprise. This concept goes beyond the physical health and safety of employees and aims to give them more flexibility and opportunities for empowerment and development. The Healthy Organization framework includes the following elements:

  • Physical health
  • Mental well-being
  • Financial Fitness
  • Social Health and Community Service
  • Safe Workplace
  • Healthy Culture

It is safe to say that a Healthy Organization would be a welcome trend to improve productivity and employee satisfaction, leading to a higher retention rate.

7. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Spotlight

Diversity, equity and inclusion have been buzzwords in most organizations for some time, and rightly so. DEI initiatives are part of addressing prejudice, discrimination, harassment, unfair wages, and other workplace issues that also help a company make the transition to the Healthy Organization mentioned earlier.

The need for IEDs has also increased as work models have evolved – from face-to-face to virtual and hybrid environments.

According to a Trailant report, only 13% of senior executives proactively support DEI initiatives, which increasingly demonstrates the need to empower current leadership, merging with DEI leadership to be ambassadors of the topic and to drive positive changes in workplace behavior and culture.

In this regard, monitoring people indicators to improve DEI will be increasingly demanded, such as:

  • Recruitment metrics
  • Hiring metrics
  • Integration metrics
  • Daily activity metrics
  • Compensation, advancement and retention metrics

Internally, in order to strengthen DEI in the company, channels may be created that favor connection, exchange, welcoming, interaction and strengthening of communities within the organization.

The people of ília

Today, we are more than 400 people in the ília. We have grown a lot in the last few years, and we work connected in Brazil, in the United States, and in Europe, both remotely and in person.

We do not waste daily efforts and we are already structured and aligned with these global trends in people management. For example, for this year we are reinforcing the People Analytics area, we continue investing in our talents and strengthening our diversity actions.

Together, we will continue building the Healthy Organization here in ília in 2023.