Preparing Today for Tomorrow's Increasingly Diverse Workforce
By Malysa O'Connor, Senior Director, Kronos Inc.
This is a special advertising section featuring white papers on trends that are currently shaping the HR profession.
This is the first time in history that there are five generations at work together. Recently, 60 percent of CEOs surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicated that the multigenerational workforce will in fact "transform" business in the near future.1 As workforce demographics shift and your employee makeup becomes more varied and complex, a long-term human capital management plan as part of your workforce management strategy is more essential than ever. Without a doubt, human resource professionals will be key players in readying your organization for seismic shifts within your greatest asset -- your workforce.
Managing Many Generations
Many HR leaders have already recognized the importance of instituting a human capital management plan today to secure tomorrow's business success.
According to a recent forecast by the Society for Human Resource Management, 52 percent of leaders say that developing the next generation of corporate leaders will be among their greatest challenges as baby boomers exit the workforce in large numbers.2 HR professionals must consider how to attract and retain top talent from an increasingly mobile and global candidate pool.
Stronger Partnerships, More Strategic Planning
With this tall order, it is no wonder that HR leaders are being regarded more and more as strategic business partners. It's a shift that fosters financial and people data-sharing, with the understanding that almost every facet of employee performance is linked to financial and business success. The increased focus on engagement along with finding the best talent amid widespread talent shortages is forcing HR to transform its function.
Key HCM trends in managing today's and tomorrow's workforce include:
* Recruiting, developing and managing people. With global expansion and baby boomers beginning to exit the workforce, HR leaders need new ways to attract top talent to their organizations. One way HR can become more prepared is through enhanced hiring tools and sophisticated analytics that can help identify trends and skills gaps to provide insight that will help organizations adapt their talent strategies. Analytics tools allow HR leaders to create data-driven strategies to make smarter decisions about whom to hire, how much to pay, the best time to hire, who are best-fit employees, who is performing well or not, and other insights into the "people part" of the business.
* Engaging and enabling employees. Studies show that organizations with an engaged workforce often have higher profitability and a stronger brand than those that don't. According to Gallup's 2013 State of the U.S. Workplace report, organizations with a high ratio of engaged employees to actively disengaged employees in 2010–2011 experienced 147 percent higher earnings per share compared with their competition in 2011–2012.
To facilitate engagement, many have positioned their organizations as "best places to work," created a culture that makes employees feel they have opportunities to grow and evolve in their careers, given employees flexibility to achieve work/life balance, and further empowered and engaged employees and managers through technology.
* Compliance. Compliance requirements for U.S. organizations have been changing at a rapid pace in recent years. Therefore, in addition to partnering with the CFO on allocation of resources and delivering on company strategy, the CHRO and other HR leaders must also become partners with their organization's compliance, auditing and legal functions.
As part of an effective compliance strategy, technology solutions can help HR keep pace with changing legislative, union and industry regulations to make this adherence and management easier and more accurate.
* The role of data and technology. Technology has already played a significant role in shaping the HR function to become more efficient. Now is the time to leverage this technology further for HR to become more effective. For example, web-based and mobile apps enable many employees to manage their own HR services, including benefits, payroll and performance evaluations.
Another area where technology can help HR is in engaging and managing both on-site and increasingly remote/virtual workforces. With automated tools for time and attendance, activities tracking or analytics to measure employee performance or absenteeism, HR is able to provide more transparency to employees, visibility to managers and executives, and accurate data with which they can make better business decisions related to staffing needs, efficiencies or even skills gaps.
As HR transitions from a support function to a leadership function, HR professionals can add strategic value by promoting HCM strategies that use data and analytics to better manage increasingly complex, multigenerational workforces across the entire employee lifecycle.
1 PwC. 17th Annual Global CEO Survey: The Talent Challenge (2014).
2 Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Workplace Forecast: The Top Workplace Trends According to HR Professionals (May 2013).