February 7, 2018 in My thoughts

#HRD18 – HR’s Essential Role In The New World Of Work – Josh Bersin

Josh opened by saying that what HR are doing today is more important that it has ever been in the 25 years that he’s been working. 47% of today’s jobs will be gone in 10 years, 41% of the workforce participate in the gig economy, and most ‘new jobs’ created since 2008 fall into the category of ‘alternative work’.  Number 1 issue that worries CEOs is attracting, developing, and retaining talent. Despite growth, productivity is still suffering which may well be because we’re using technology to just automate what we did before rather than fully exploiting it. Although employee engagement is an imperfect measure, the trend had been that average engagement has (according to Glassdoor stats) has only increased very slightly over the last few years. There seems to be no pattern to which companies are more engaged than average in terms of the sector, size of organisation etc. The difference seems to be leadership that actually gets and believes in this ‘people stuff’.

We are working more hours (with workers taking less vacations), there is a real crisis in people struggling with stress at work. ‘Millennials’ are worried, with 64% expecting economic and political conditions to get worse in the next 2 years,

No matter how fast technology is, and how much is happening with AI… the future of work is all about people, and Josh has identified themes that people might want to focus on:

1 – Embrace a new organisation: a network of teams. We’ve moved away from hierarchies to much more networked teams, but how things really happen is that people tend to unite in small teams (of five or less) with shared values and culture, transparent goals and projects, a free flow of information and feedback, and people rewarded for their skills and abilities rather than their position. Josh also sees a move away from virtual working as there is a huge benefit in co-locating people.

2 – Reinvent management: leaders as coach not boss. We need managers to nurture teams and coach them to perform, not old-fashioned ‘management’ of people which is a historical hang over from the early days of the industrial age. We need a new breed of leaders. There are four levels of digital maturity: Exploring, Doing, Becoming, and Being. The Deloitte 2017 Bersin predictions for 2017 (Everything is becoming digital) is well worth reading. Feedback is vital: How does it work today? We used to do feedback once a year for the company (with an employee engagement survey) and once a year for the employee (with a performance review). That clerkly doesn’t work, and we need to move to continuous performance management. We need to move to a culture of continuous feedback. Performance management now seems to be focusing more on helping people to grow, rather than just supporting the old approaches of forced ranking.

3 – The employee experience: We need to fix the employee experience. We need to create a healthier environment for people, and wellbeing can play a huge role in helping to improve the experience. We need to move in inclusive talent management will be essential in getting the most of talented people from all sorts of backgrounds.

4 – Career: If you’re going to thrive in this new world of work where people are working longer, we need to change the way that we work. We need to find roles for more senior people who don’t want to retire but want to move into more of a mentoring role. There will be many changes to jobs, but recent WEF research has suggested that people can transition jobs much faster than we think they can.

5 – Embrace new technology: from engagement to productivity: We’ve shifted from talent management to team and work management. We need a new breed of systems that help us manage teams and we’re already seeing the great impact that tools like Slack make, and HR should be engaging with IT on the potential to do more in this area. CEOs need our help in order to transform, and HR’s new role could be as the Chief Productivity Officer

This was live-blogged during a session at the HRD Summit 2018 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in. I’ve also curated the story of the session as told through the tweets of the attendees (you might need to tap ‘load more tweets’ to see the full story):

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