Latest Synopsis

theHRDIRECTOR – Latest Synopsis


Independence is our strength – covering the issues that directly impact on those with the duty of directing human resources

ISSUE 231 – Synopsis – JANUARY 2024

Trends for 2024
Like morphing cultures in a Petry dish, we observe hybrid/remote working still with curiosity and the inexorable rise of AI with uncertainty, as the modalities and dynamics of work fizz and collide. What looked set to be a statutory workers’ right, is now being tempered by employers, trying to hammer some rigour back into the plasticity and gain some semblance of form and control. But mindful of appearing backward, conventionalist, draconian and undesirable to talent, what is emerging is a sort of quasi-hybrid model, that looks ambiguous, temporary and precarious. Contemporaneously, multiple macro changes are pounding the conventions of work into unrecognisable shapes, but with this disruption is the once-in-a-generation opportunity to for us to be sculptors of the future. It is a year poised for more sonorous, transformative shifts that demand total reimagining yet, at the same time, practitioners must focus on the basic human elements – health and wellbeing and empowerment – in the shape of reskilling and upskilling, to meet the fast-approaching waves of technology. This along with engagement, EVP and the employee experience, which are essential to winning and keeping talent.

Talent management
After a sustained period of inactivity and for many, arrested development during the pandemic, followed by an ensuing economic downturn – the greatest killer of engagement and an accelerant for talent attrition is quiescence and inertia. Traditionally employed, full-time staffers are increasingly interacting with exotic, peripatetic artisans, parachuted in for special assignments. Their lives look glamorous, their careers dynamic, they are cosmopolitan and exposed to the latest tech, they have a mindset for continuous learning and they look to have the world at their feet. This is the clichéd ‘digital native’ writ large and it is influencing employees, particularly the ambitious, that feel their lives and careers are in limbo. The reality is, expectation is turning into demand and that includes; flexible working without caveats or boundaries, re-imagined teamwork and a rethinking of how teams interact, ‘talent everywhere’ and, above all, equality, inclusion and diversity. It’s about parity of opportunity, reward and recognition and a collaborative culture where everybody has a voice. The rules of engagement have changed forever, so we are looking for forward-looking and strategic insight and guidance on how to engage, develop and retain talent in this exciting epoch of challenge and opportunity.

Shared services and outsourcing
Mention outsourcing and all of the connotations are foreign contracting or offshoring of jobs, seconded away from the country of origin, to capitalise on less expensive labour markets, in short, purely labour arbitrage. But there is a new dawn in outsourcing that is less about cost and more about solving the talent drought, where the need for talent exceeds what is available at hand locally. Of course, technology and remote working is fuelling what some have dubbed Outsourcing 2.0. – a world where talent doesn’t have a postcode. Access to a seemingly limitless talent pool has obvious appeal, but when vital operational elements, intellectual properties and corporate knowledge are widely exposed, there are serious concerns around security. But if outsourcing is approached with the right intentions and a strong commitment to accountability, these concerns can be managed and can result in positives that far outweigh the challenges. Talent isn’t confined to the bustling metropolis, people live everywhere and so, for an organisation wanting to hire the best people to accomplish work, the world is literally their oyster. However, success relies on a different approach to how work is carried out and that means a combination of rigorous screening, balanced with a healthy dose of pragmatism, because the future relies on mutual trust and transparency.

Traditionally, organisations have focused on recruiting for safety and surety, with a focus on “our kind of people”. This created workforces, managers and leaders that were neurotypical and lead to groupthink, monotony and a “stick with what we know” mentality. In more enlightened times, businesses have either willingly or been forced and embarrassed into diversity and inclusion, but this has been DEI at a superficial level – along lines of gender, sexuality, race, age and disabled people – the easy to categorise “groups”. Unquestionably, there is still inequality in the workplace across the spectrum of difference, with institutional bias and systemic failures that frustratingly confound progress. As for neurodiversity, most sectors and the businesses within them, have barely scratched the surface, despite diversity-of-thought increasingly considered essential to unlocking future potential. Neurodiversity represents the infinite variety of human neurocognition, that is a fast-growing sub-category of organisational diversity and inclusion. More widely, in the fields of psychology, sociology and anthropology, it has long been debated and argued that neurodiversity may be as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life on Earth. It seems that the world is slowly gaining an understanding of autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and more, which for so long have been pathologised as medical conditions, to be mitigated against and made exceptions for. But at last, what is increasingly being considered the ‘flip side’ strengths of neurodivergence is the capacity to think outside the box, problem-solve and provide creative insights through spatial thinking. In this issue, for this and all of our subjects, we are looking for synopsis with great insight and guidance, to inform our readers in 2024 and beyond.

As with all the subjects for this issue, we look forward to your suggestions for articles that provide our readership with the vital information and insight they need for the future.

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