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theHRDIRECTOR – May 2017 – Issue 151

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Synopsis – Issue 151 – May 2017

Reward & Recognition
Against a backdrop of unavoidable external forces of change that challenge organisations, the widely-predicted skills drought and dribbling pipeline have well and truly come to pass for all operations, regardless of sector. The “one-size-does-not-fit-all” mantra is a realisation that sees a multi-generational workforce phenomenon, with a wide and diverse range of needs and expectations jockeying for attention, and more now than in recent times, R&R efficacy features high on employer engagement and is arguably the most significant metric in attrition rates. A perfect storm is leading employers to alternative compensation models that catch the eye, reward is increasingly bespoke and recognition is having to be delivered in more regular, broader, on-the-hoof and piecemeal ways, transparently and authentically. The real challenge is an organic R&R strategy that can flex to remain relevant and effective, and here, an increasing reliance on metrics is unavoidable, so whether the data is really reflecting reality is a critical question. Crucially too, the new laws on transparency of executive reward and remuneration means that businesses have to create an environment that is equitable, fair and gains buy-in across the workforce. Further still, as gender pay gap reporting comes into play, how are employers reacting and what is the anticipated outcome in terms of liability and the longer term outlook for equality?

Equality and inclusion
Whatever your politics, the great achievements in equality and inclusion and the hard-to-shift deficiencies are both in the glaring spotlight. There is still blatant and latent inequality towards women in the workplace, from arrested development to pay inequality, and the ugly truth is playing out in workplaces and tribunals. The Equality and Human Rights Commission may have launched a new national campaign, ‘Working Forward’, designed to lead the fight against maternity discrimination, but other recent headline grabbers reveal a dark and cynical culture that is at odds with the belief that we live in more enlightened times, as some employers still demand that women put on more makeup, wear high heels and short skirts. The road to equality for women is long and troubled and that any traction is only gained through increasingly punitive legislation is deeply troubling. Meanwhile, the wider vision of what diversity is looking increasingly like it was mere lip service all along, as efforts fail to improve the plight of; the lower classes, the disabled, ethnic minorities and LGBT, whose experiences remain largely unresolved and unimproved. So we ask, why is making any meaningful headway on equality in society and the workplace like pushing the proverbial elephant up the proverbial stairs.

Data-driven recruiting
Employers cannot hire fast enough to keep up with their workforce demands, competition is fierce for skills and high potential people and the traditional modes of attraction and recruitment are under heavy fire and scrutiny. For many businesses, the task is too hard and fast for HR and line managers to cope with and increasingly, data-driven recruitment is being seen as the panacea to the problem, in the bid to stream the right talent to meet business objectives. The recruitment process is indeed a data-rich mine of useful information as to whether a candidates is qualified, skillset and experience-matched, but where does that leave the sensitivities and gut feel as to whether candidates fit the value set and culture of the organisation? This is brought into sharp relief as “hiring for attitude” becomes an increasingly important attribute, and if this is holding recruiters back from taking a more scientific approach then many will be significantly disadvantaged. For example, take the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) so efficient at sifting through applications, tracking candidates and reporting on time and cost of hires, but if its reach ends at the point of hire, where data skips to other, unconnected systems, the big picture is somewhat abstract through siloed data. Worse still, it is arguable that ATS can even eliminate suitable candidates from the pipeline, if their criteria is not an exact match of the job description. The immediacy of the problem is leaving many constantly fighting fires and with no time to forecast or workforce plan, and this will inevitably lead to compromise – or worse – poor hire outcomes. Without a cohesive, end-to-end system, many employers are literally whistling in the wind and if recruiters are rendered uncompetitive, obstructed and ultimately blamed for not attaining the quality of hire, they will be at the front of the queue of leavers. In this issue we ask, how can talent acquisition leaders be best armed to be more strategic in their decisions? What is the most practical way to build talent pools using data and how can recruiters enhance their understanding of the market and be more efficient?

Organisational development
Organisational Development is about being ready for the future and removing organisational obstacles to delivering business goals. Central to its role is the cohesion and alignment of strategy, and structure, policies and procedures, and having the right skills and capabilities. But to gain real traction, a compelling and engaging business vision cannot simply rely on a CEO’s keynote, or merely shared amongst leaders in the boardroom, then left to its own fate, it has to be constantly communicated effectively, aligned and written in the DNA of the organisation. The narrative must be continuous and more cohesively and constantly related back to individual responsibility and collective achievements. Progress, positive and negative, needs to be monitored and communicated, linking business objectives to team and individual targets, standards and KPIs, so that performance and achievements are clearly linked to effort, demonstrating the clear links with progress and achievement. OD is not a set-in-stone destination, it is a hard impact, energy-absorbing and ongoing programme that must be agile to change and evolve. It is all-encompassing too, so a robust and cohesive framework that inclusively supports is vital. Plus the role of behavioural science cannot be overlooked and knowledge and capability in this will increasingly be a key part of the HR arsenal. As with all our subjects in this issue, we invite OD specialists to bring informative and enlightened strategy and opinion.

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