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HR Leaders Today Need These 4 Skills to Thrive

Do you consider yourself to be an expert in the field of human resources?

We polled 500 HR leaders from Australia and around the world to see how they rated their knowledge.

This lack of confidence is startling unless you consider HR directors’ evolving expectations. New skill sets, such as people analytics, behavioural sciences, and employer branding, are now required for the job. HR directors now have to wear a lot of hats, and they often feel that they’re not wearing any of them well enough.

New HR skills are required.

According to our research, 86 per cent of HR executives believe the HR Director function will be obsolete in ten years. Many individuals believe that tech-savvy, creative, and people analytics skills will be the next wave of necessary skills.

More strategic opportunities for HR leaders

This shift in the HR Director function is due to corporations placing a greater emphasis on their personnel. They recognise the importance of hiring and retaining a stable workforce, many of whom desire to work for a forward-thinking company.

New work types, such as the contingent workforce and the gig economy, are part of this evolution. It also entails managing the advent of digital technology in the workforce and function, as well as satisfying the various demands of a multi-generational workforce.

The post comes with a lot of increased pressure, but it also comes with a lot of potentials. This increased visibility changes a traditionally back-office activity into one that contributes more strategically to the company’s growth.

HR executives that are willing to learn new skills are better positioned to advance in their professions.

Businesses must work harder to attract and retain top people, which makes this new generation of data-savvy HR directors in hot demand.

In order to prosper as the HR function advances, HR directors should focus on honing the following four abilities over the next three years:

1. Communication

It may sound obvious, but 76 per cent of the HR executives we polled believe that improving communication skills will be the most essential thing they can do in the next three years. Listening, sharing, collaborating, demonstrating empathy, and other interpersonal skills are high on the priority list.

2. People analytics

People analytics is a data-driven, goal-oriented approach to labour management. HR leaders use data to make decisions about their people processes, functions, challenges, and opportunities using this method. Despite the fact that 76 per cent of the HR leaders we polled believe this is a vital ability, only 28% believe their current skill level is adequate.

3. Creativity

Employee expectations are becoming more consumer-like. HR executives must be innovative in order to transform the HR-employee connection and improve the employee experience. 73 per cent of HR leaders we polled feel creativity is a skill that will become more valuable over time, and 69 per cent say employee expectations of HR are evolving. Only 28% of people considered themselves to be highly creative.

4. Digital skills

More businesses, especially HR departments, are turning to digital platforms to streamline their procedures. HR executives that are comfortable using software to manage the tiresome aspects of human resources management are in great demand. According to our research, 73 per cent of HR and people leaders believe that tech knowledge will be a crucial ability in the next three years.

HR leaders are business leaders.

As HR leaders grow more adept at utilising data to support the function, they open up a hitherto untapped potential to position HR as both a necessity and a tool. HR and people leaders can show how a people-centric strategy impacts the bottom line.

You can then take the lead in driving those improvements across the firm, increasing your contribution and adding value to your work.

Conclusion: What’s ahead for HR

To fulfil the need, HR directors will need to adopt new approaches and skills as the industry evolves.

Finally, the HR Director or Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) must be a master of all trades and an expert in one, choreographing these new tasks with commercial awareness and demonstrable value.

The four-day working week: What HR and People leaders need to know

We’re all addicted to bragging about how busy we are.

We enjoy waxing lyrical about how there are never enough hours in the day to complete all of our tasks.

This, on the other hand, may have a significant impact on many employees’ holy grail: work-life balance.

Longer hours, on the other hand, do not always imply more output. According to Sage research, one out of every three full-time employees admits to working less than 30 hours per week. Every working week, that’s a full day gone.

In fact, despite working some of the world’s longest hours (32.7 per week), Australia ranks 14th in the OECD productivity rankings, considerably behind Luxembourg, which has a working week of only 29 hours.

So, would it be better if we just skipped the fifth day of work? According to recent studies, a four-day workweek not only makes workers happier, but it also makes them more productive. Furthermore, according to a national poll conducted in 2015, 26% of all working Australians would prefer to work fewer hours.

What examples are there of the four-day week working successfully?

Versa, an Australian digital marketing firm, experimented with a four-day workweek, enabling staff to take off every Wednesday. The company’s profit nearly tripled a year after implementing the campaign, and revenue increased by 46%.

Perpetual Guardian, a wills, trusts, and estates firm in New Zealand, experimented with a four-day week for two months and saw a 20% improvement in production.

Wildbit, a technological start-up created by former Google employees in the United States, shifted to a four-day week after its CEO, Natalie Nagele, discovered that most people can only complete about four hours of significant, cognitively focused work in a day.

She explains, “I looked at that and said, okay, as a team, where can we cut back?” “It would be good to our personal life and our ability to recharge if we could complete the same work in 32 hours and get an extra day off, so let’s simply test it out.”

Toyota, a Japanese car firm, is perhaps one of the more surprising examples of the four-day week. Customer satisfaction and productivity both increased at their Swedish car manufacturing.

The plant decreased its employees’ weekly hours from 40 to 30 and observed a 114 per cent improvement in production, resulting in a 25% rise in earnings.

Martin Banck, the factory’s Managing Director, said the transition to reduced hours had a considerable positive impact.

“Staff are happier, turnover is lower, and new hires are easier to find.” Everyone is satisfied since they have a shorter commute to work, more efficient equipment utilisation, and lower capital costs.”

What do HR and People teams need to know to implement a four-day working week?

Companies considering switching to a four-day workweek should conduct a trial before implementing the change company-wide.

Many factors influence whether or not a four-day workweek is appropriate for your company:

  • Do your staff desire to work fewer hours?
  • What impact would work a different or longer, schedule have on childcare?
  • Is your company set up to accommodate this new working pattern?
  • Would you be able to apply this fairly throughout the organisation?

Flexibility is a terrific asset that should increase your company’s attractiveness to potential employees. Switching to a four-day workweek, on the other hand, could be a significant adjustment, so you might want to investigate alternative choices first.

It’s also possible that it’s not what your staff want. Do not presume; instead, ask them what would make them more productive.

Would they want the freedom to schedule their own hours during the week? Or do you want to work from home? The only way to find out is to ask them.

Without necessarily transitioning to a four-day workweek, such measures can help produce a happier and more productive team.

Five transformations to note in today’s HR operations

People management is changing once more.

It’s evolving from HR into the People function, much as it did from Personnel to HR in the 1980s.

The HR Evolution

For a bird’s-eye view of how HR and people leaders are adjusting to the development and how these changes will effect the profession, we polled 500 HR and people leaders from Australia and around the world.

Five major improvements to operational processes emerged as best practises for navigating this transformation in the end:

1. A new approach to talent acquisition.

One-third of the executives we polled said their people management systems have progressed to a single source for all employee data.

They’re using smart data to learn about their staff in the same manner that they learn about their consumers.

Data is used by 40% of HR and People leaders to make decisions. A further 51% intend to abandon spreadsheets in favour of real-time data.

2. Advance to real-time analytics.

One-third of the leaders we surveyed have advanced their people management systems to a single source for all people data. They’re taking advantage of smart data to get to know their employees in the same way the business knows its customers.

Forty per cent of HR and People leaders make decisions based on data. An additional 51% are planning to start using real-time data instead of spreadsheets.

3. Make enhancing workforce experiences a top priority

For many businesses, workforce experience management has become a top priority. The value of the worker experience is recognised by 38% of respondents, who have produced enhanced experiences for all of their employees. Pulse surveys are used by 40% of our survey respondents to track employee engagement. Almost half of the respondents (47%) indicated they intend to implement new ways of working in the next 12 months in order to focus on employee experiences.

4. Continuous feedback is the new appraisal

Employee evaluations are still important, but the way they’re done is changing. Instead, 40% of HR and People leaders collect performance input on a continuous basis in lieu of or in addition to an annual evaluation. Thirty-six per cent of our respondents are open about their company’s and personal ambitions, and fifty-two per cent plan to include this in their strategy in the coming year.

5. Adopt a learning and development system that is flexible and driven by the employees.

Employers are increasingly providing learning and development opportunities. Employee-driven learning is offered by 43% of HR and People leaders. Employers are also becoming more receptive to how employees might put their new talents to use. Fourteen per cent of HR and people management teams provide career pathways that are flexible.

More changes to come

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Flexible working hours, data-driven decision-making, and ongoing performance management are only the beginning of HR’s development. Ninety-four per cent of those who responded to our study anticipate more changes in the industry during the next three years.

In this sense, today’s HR and people professionals are best positioned to lead the way in the evolution of the workplace. These executives are developing new techniques to attract, manage, and engage employees as a result of technological advancements. Those who take advantage will be at the forefront of a new digital workplace.

Workforce visibility: What every HR leader should know

How many employees do you have in your company? It’s a basic question, but one that many HR professionals in Australia struggle to answer without weeks of research. And in today’s fast-paced business world, that’s many weeks too long.

It’s critical to have consistent, accurate, and up-to-date information about your staff. It enables your company to be more productive, responsive, and efficient.

Having the correct processes, however, is only half of the equation. The importance of workforce visibility, according to Aberdeen Group, is “the capacity to identify the talent required by business demands in terms of skills, behaviours, and traits.”

Essentially, it’s the recognition that varied skill sets are used to solve challenges. HR leaders must be able to see their organization’s structure in order to match people with distinct aims.

Making people tick

You’ll become a more efficient HR professional… and a better manager, thanks to workforce visibility. It assists you in gaining a better understanding of your employees’ wants and desires, as well as ways to empower them to contribute more to your company.

Bad people management, on the other hand, forces people into roles or teams in order to cover a resource need. It has long-term consequences because it disengages people. Employees who are engaged in their work are less inclined to consider quitting for a higher-paying career.

Only 37% of engaged employees would consider leaving if they were offered a 20% rise elsewhere, whereas 54% of unengaged employees would. As a result, it’s critical that you understand what motivates your employees.

Efficient environments

Businesses must provide better working conditions in order for employees to be more engaged and productive.

According to a Gallup poll, only 24% of Australian and New Zealand employees are engaged at work, while 60% are not engaged and 16% are actively disengaged.

Go-karts, climbing walls, and volleyball courts are becoming commonplace in Silicon Valley’s best employers. These may appear to be unique concepts, but they have the potential to spark creativity and attract top people.

Staff turnover costs can be reduced by combining a happy workplace with the correct training and motivation programmes.

“People notice when you show real concern for their future. According to Forbes contributor Victor Lipman, “development planning should be something a manager takes a genuine personal interest in — not an HR-driven obligation.”

Building for the future

You’ll be able to prepare more efficiently for the future if you have a better understanding of your personnel. It aids in the identification of natural leaders with a desire to rise to the top. It also aids in the development of corporate strategy and the direction in which your company is moving.

Consider not only the abilities you require now, but also what your company will require in five or 10 years. Then begin preparing your top performers to take on these roles.

This way, you can encourage top talent’s ambitions, put your company’s most important employees at the centre of its future, and save money on recruiting.

People are your most valuable resource. Organizations can gain greater visibility into their people strategy across their operations with the right digital tools. It’s all about HR having the proper data to assist workforce planning, having the right resources in place, and providing a positive employee experience that keeps and engages your best employees.

9 habits of highly successful HR and People leaders

Every one of us is a creature of habit. But how do we know if we’ve developed the correct habits to help us succeed as HR and people managers?

Let’s look at the practises that the most highly effective HR and People leaders follow on a daily basis, with examples ranging from Facebook to Ford Motor Company.

1. They don’t shy away from taking risks

Lori Goler, Facebook’s Head of HR, turned down the position when it was first given to her. She claims, “I didn’t think I had enough experience.”

“Sheryl Sandberg then called me and stated, ‘No man would ever refuse more responsibility because he lacks experience.’ That is the ‘lean-in moment,’ I just realised. That’s when you try something you don’t think you’d be able to do otherwise.

“Don’t hold yourself back if you have ambition.” Lean in and look for opportunities to learn and grow. In your job, take those chances and risks.”

2. They always put their people first

Work-life balance is ranked first among Australian employees, ahead of health, life happiness, and safety.

Whether it’s preventing burnout or increasing workplace productivity, striking a good work-life balance provides a lot of advantages.

Could a healthy work-life balance even help managers lead their teams more effectively?

Absolutely, according to Stewart Friedman. He will speak about his experiences at the 2019 Australian HR Institute (AHRI) national convention and exhibition, which will be held in Brisbane from September 16-19. He is a professor at Wharton University and the Worldwide Head of Leadership at Ford Motor Company.

Friedman oversaw a programme at Ford called ‘Total Leadership,’ which aimed to strengthen leadership skills by improving peace and harmony in leaders’ lives.

In his presentation, you’ll learn how this tried-and-true strategy works, what it takes to achieve greater balance, and how you may use it to your own personal development or to help managers in your organisation.

3. They embrace change

HR and People executives must constantly analyse how their strategy may be altered and updated—and then advocate for that change, much like a plane making minor modifications to keep on course.

“HR directors must constantly evaluate data to determine whether to continue or change the direction of a project,” says Holly Burkett, Innovation and Performance Consultant at Evaluation Works.

“We must also rise to the occasion and embrace our position as change makers.”

4. They keep up with technology

Technology and innovation will accelerate tremendously, as successful HR and people executives understand. HR and People departments have never been more critical in understanding their organization’s technological strategy.

Stephen Scheeler, former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand, current Senior Advisor to McKinsey and Company, and Founder of global advisory The Digital CEO, will speak at the AHRI national convention and exhibition about how digital experience and skills will play a pivotal role in leadership going forwards.

He’ll show you how to digitalize your leadership style and how you may assist others do the same.

5. They’re always listening

Leaders sometimes get to the top and lose touch with what’s going on in the shop. They assemble a fantastic team and then step back and let things run themselves.

“Listening is our best edge,” says Angela Nguyen, Vice President, HR and Talent Management at Ad Exchange Group. Because they recognise that company operations and innovation don’t wait for the complacent, effective HR leaders never rest on their laurels.”

6. They stay grounded

“It’s easy to lose sight of the ‘human’ element in the midst of policies, processes, and projects,” says Rohit Paul of the Academy for Urban School Leadership.

“I was astonished early in my career to learn that our director required every member of our team, regardless of title, to call the HR hotline and help.

“Her aim was simple: when you engage with the people who are affected by your work, you learn about its impact.”

7. They treat their staff well

Are you winning the talent war?

Winning entails more than simply employing the greatest individuals. It’s about giving them what they want so that your company can not only attract but also engage and retain great personnel.

Flexible working hours are just one trend that helps organisations stand out when it comes to acquiring top talent. Flexibility is valued by 80 per cent of employees questioned by Sage, so it’s no surprise that 54 percent of people are eager to change jobs to work for a flexible business.

However, less than half of non-shift workers in Australia believe they have control over their working hours. This is much less than in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where only 6% of employees work 9-5.

Robin Boomer, Senior Executive Advisor at global research and consultancy firm Gartner, will speak at the AHRI national convention and exhibition about the most effective strategies to attract and retain top personnel, including recent workforce developments and their role.

He’ll also show you how to get your company and HR team ready for technology and demographic shifts.

8. They use data to inform decision making

True data-driven HR employs analytics to bring value and drive performance across the organisation all of the time, not only on occasion or for certain initiatives.

HR and People directors will increasingly need data insights at their fingertips to fuel decision making as they develop and build their people to meet the expectations of the business.

9. They look to the future

Don’t get carried away with the notion that the future is yet unknown. It’s already here, as Dom Price will explain in his lecture at the AHRI annual convention and exhibition.

The future of work, according to Atlassian’s Head of Research and Development and Work Futurist, will be determined by conquering current difficulties such as scale and disruption.

Price will discuss five ‘obsolete’ ways many of us work, as well as new techniques HR and People teams might take, all of which will be supported by real-life examples. Price will also discuss several collaborative hacks he’s discovered over the years.

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