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theHRDIRECTOR – June 2017 – Issue 152

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Synopsis – Issue 152 – June 2017

People analytics and Big Data
There is always talk of competitive advantage, usually centered on product, the design, the innovation, the price point and USP. But behind the scenes is the real business differentiator, analytics and big data, so powerful that it makes the movie Minority Report look like a Gothic morality tale. Any organisation that continues to operate employee management in traditional, isolated and unconnected ways is hugely disadvantaged against businesses that do. Data-driven decisions are proving to be the greatest ally against VUCA pressures, providing critical, time-sensitive data from the wider world, tracking and attracting potential recruits, through the door, into accurate, targeted recruitment. Then moving on to the day-to-day necessities of hair-trigger analysis, surrounding engagement and performance. Mining this data for insights, guidance and strategy is the touchstone to today’s decision-making, and leveraging predictive analytics is the leading-edge, that is defining optimised operations. Big data is key for HR, to provide real ROI on the value of the department. It can be the game changer, but HR needs to be asking the right questions before the data is delivered, not after. In this fast-moving field, possession of the key skills in analytics is essential. In this issue, we look for article synopsis that explore and expand upon this vital element of HR.

Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR, as a brand, has suffered terribly from unauthentic, corporate platitudes and lip service, while protracted hard times have rendered “do-gooding” disruptive and uncompetitive, as operating “responsibly” places western businesses at a major disadvantage over competitors in so-called emerging markets. CSR is also perceived as trendy, and trends come and go, plus if CSR always relates back to tax breaks, then the true intent is patently apparent. Step back in time to the Victorian era, where Britannia was Great, but its poorest citizens were born into abject squalor and misery, where for every 1000 born, 509 did not reach their teens. Consequently, a few true altruists didn’t just put some posters up and run a half-marathon – as commendable as that may be – they made life-long commitments to massive social change. And today, if real, impactful change is the true goal, then the dawning of a new era, of long life, disruptive, corporate philanthropy is required. In this issue, we are looking for honest assessments and clear-sighted informed opinion, to guide business leaders to making the right decisions for the future.

Employee Experience
“And if you get bored with the stairs, we have a slide – a bit tricky with a tray of tea and coffee”! First impressions count they say, but today, would-be job applicants already have a clear picture of the employer they may or may not be considering joining. Not from the motivational messages in the lobby café, but from the constant “real” narrative, via social media from existing employees. If today, attraction is hard to get right, then the long-term employee experience is impossible, as the workplace is no longer a place of work, and employees become specialist “giggers”, checking into the hub now and again for a rare face-to-face. Traditional hierarchical frameworks are disintegrating, technology is controlling everything and what would have been employees, are rapidly becoming third-party contributors. The concept of employee engagement now encompasses the whole “employment deal”, whilst the employee experience is about creating an environment where people not only feel happy and engaged, but also where they are free to contribute new ideas and work efficiently and productively. The future is radical benefits and work-life integration, and a whole lot more. Your wisest thoughts will be most welcomed.

Digital Revolution
Digital intervention is not so much transforming workplaces and businesses as dictating them – autonomously, without human intervention – setting a pace that businesses are struggling to maintain, faster than ever. The seemingly impossible challenge is to gain control, many are failing, and it is defining corporate incapability and business failure. Even the smartest business leaders in leading corporations are kidding themselves, thinking the business is riding the technological wave, able to capitalise on the benefits, but ultimately failing to align company objectives with the future – see Kodak, Nokia and Blackberry. Commercial imperatives aside, every business is paralysed with fear, as cyber-crime goes from the bedrooms of difficult and secretive teenagers, to state-sponsored boiler rooms, whose sole objective is to disrupt and destroy. Even inside the workplace, trying to grip technology, as it erodes hierarchy and creates more autonomy and remoteness, is a vexatious issue. Then there is the real burning question for the future of work; how will AI impact the workforce and businesses? There is much to debate and the narrative is so time sensitive, that by the time you put digit to keyboard, you’re already behind the curve. But please do send your most learned thoughts and opinions, because information is key.

 

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