The past few days at the HR Technology Conference truly reflect the sentiment of the current landscape, with many sessions focused on how HR leaders have responded to the events of the past six months. With disruption not going away anytime soon, the message is simple: Adapt to the change or face an uphill struggle.
Here were some of the key highlights from today:
“We’ve moved 10 years in just the past six months”, mentioned Jason Averbrook, founder at Leapgen, as he led off his keynote. Indeed, innovation has had to catch up with more than three-fifths of workforces now remote, leading to an increase in demand for digital technologies to stay productive and grow.
To match pace, HR has also had to transform, abandoning tried-and-true traditional ways of operating for an agile approach often reserved for IT and marketing strategies. This means adopting a journey-based framework to shepherd employees through their workplace experience while wiping incumbent methods clean and sunsetting what no longer works.
Averbrook compared the new paradigms of the HR strategy to raising a pet, stating that we must always be engaged to ensure that our HR systems and the workforce they serve remain happy. While Fido may find this funny, but in a world where employees expect more from their employer, constant care is slowly becoming the gold standard.
Watch the session here. (Registration Required)
Social issues have also been top of mind this year, further accelerating organizational plans around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As HR pivots to a service-based model, culture emerges as a critical piece of the corporate puzzle—and we aren’t just talking about happy hour or team-building activities.
For Averbrook, culture addresses how people-focused executives address HR service. In a “Business-2-Me” world where career personalization takes center stage, it simply isn’t enough to be connected or reactive anymore to employee needs, but rather to be proactive and understand what workforces require at the source. More than ever, leaders must understand the people who work for them and the processes they use to get work done so that improvements can be made.
That said, culture and systems aren’t the only things that encompass culture. Those who attended Dr. Tolonda Tolbert’s afternoon session on interrupting systemic injustices in the workplace discovered another angle, centered around amending biases. For Tolbert, DEI programs are more than just checkboxes for the modern organization and represent a cultural shift that requires a sustained effort for true change to occur.
Watch Dr. Tolbert’s session here. (Registration required)
Perhaps the most illuminating sessions of the day focused on resilience—or the ability to sway back and forth in the face of adversity. This talk was led by ADP, who shared the results of their global survey where they polled leaders and individual contributors around how they have fared during the pandemic. On a high level, the data presented a dire picture with only 17% of the workforce considered to be resilient and 15% of those to be engaged. ADP also surveyed the least resilient industries, with healthcare—a frontline industry having to navigate as workers balance their lives during the pandemic—coming in first.
As HR leaders, engagement and resiliency are serious metrics to measure in a global economy, affecting issues such as employee attrition, company survival, and competition. While not every company is expected to have success, ADP did find that those who worked in teams or led their organizations were more engaged—possibly either because they could connect with others or felt the pressure to succeed. Those who worked on teams were seen to be 15 times more engaged than those who weren’t.
But ultimately, the biggest takeaway was around trust and empathy—a leadership quality we’ve championed over the past few months. As workforces continue to be remote while navigating work, schooling, family, and mental health challenges, having a leadership team that relates matters. ADP’s data corroborates these beliefs, showing that teams are 42 times more resilient when senior leaders, individual contributors, and middle managers trust one another.
In short, if you want to survive the pandemic, you better start leaning into your workforce and asking the right questions.
HR Tech continues through tomorrow. Visit Oracle Cloud HCM virtually at our booth where you can book some time to speak to one of our experts or download our AI at Work study. We look forward to speaking with you!
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