HR- Back to “Human”

Why the human resource professionals need to focus on People and human resources pillars- Back to basic

Anil Puri

Many human resources practitioners worldwide and across the industry have realized employee centric approaches and policies are long overdue. The COVID-19 pandemic is a significant trigger to this thinking and strategy. For over a decade now, human resource leaders and professionals have found themselves on a cost efficiency trail that primarily applies analytics and big data to existing human resources operating models. Their departments have lived by a worthy but uninspiring mandate: to optimize labour cost, maximize productivity, reinforce compliance and country’s law, and act as a change catalyst for digitalization and technology. However, the evolving nature of business and the rapidly changing external environment have pushed all professionals worldwide to ponder on the human aspect within HR. This article explains the importance of human factors in HR management and the core and fundamental HR pillars.

“A practical guide for leaders to stop using technology as a crutch and start building genuine connections with their teams.”
―Adam Grant, New York Times Bestselling author of Give and Take

The phrase “Back to Human” explains how a more socially connected workforce creates greater fulfilment, productivity, and engagement while preventing burnout and turnover within the organization. The next generation of HR leaders must create a workplace where teammates feel genuinely connected, engaged, and empowered — without relying on technology. Back to human ultimately helps you decide when and how to use technology to build better connections in your work life. It is a call to action to leaders worldwide to make the workplace a better experience for all of us. It ultimately demands us to move from a process-centric approach to a people-centric approach. More profoundly, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the employee demands on HR to meet physical and mental health needs. It also intensified moral concerns about a company’s overall impact on society, leading to the view that some core human element is lost in all these technological advancements.

So now the troubling question we need to ponder is How to put Human Touch Back into HR Functioning?
It is indeed challenging to induce human touch to the entire employment process to give a rich EX-Employee Experience. The human resource professionals should strive towards showcasing the best aspect throughout the journey. It’s not always about attracting the best talent. It’s not just driving performance and the best culture within the organization. If the human resource community thinks that we will be able to build human touch within our organization, then I must say we are in big deception. A good people centric culture within organization helps counter negative experiences of employees that might be counterproductive. That’s why we should give equal importance to the offboarding process of employment as we give to onboarding process. It’s an end-to-end process.
We need to focus towards all our HR processes and pillars through Human in HR. Let’s look at the core and essential role of HR management, which we can concentrate on focusing on the “H,” i.e. Human in HR.

Pillars of HR- Going back to Basic

Talent Management: Talent management is the full scope of HR processes to attract, onboard, develop, motivate, and retain high-performing employees. Talent management aims to improve business performance through practices that make employees more productive. It primarily focuses on individual employees and consist of 3 significant dimensions – attract, retain and develop capabilities. Now more than ever, talent management strategies need to be flexible and agile, not only for managing the talent lifecycle but also for providing instant insight to tap the power of the workforce. The pandemic hasn’t changed the need of employees, wherever they work from, a want to feel connected and engaged. They want instant feedback and to know that they add value. They also wish to close collaboration with colleagues, even if remote.

Performance Management: Performance management systems, which typically include performance appraisal, reward, performance improvement, efficiency and cost, structure, and employee development, are the “Achilles’ heel” of human resources management. As Peter Drucker famously said “What gets measured gets improved.” It is essential to measure and manage employee performance since it allows the organization to monitor worker efficiency properly. Furthermore, it helps identify productive workers and determine how best to improve the overall productivity of the workplace. Effective performance management system in an organization will reward and recognize winning results and behaviour.

Culture & Engagement: Driving employee experience that encapsulates what people encounter and observe over their tenure at an organization. Employee satisfaction is due to “feel factors,” or how customers feel during and about their experience. HR leaders should take this same approach to employee experience, focusing on influencing and improving employees’ feelings about their overall experience through psychological, motivational, and social principles. Developing a great employee experience can make employees feel happier, more productive, and motivated. Improving employee experience could increase productivity have an incredible impact on business.

HR Analytics: HR metrics are measurements used to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of HR system and process within the organization. HR analytics, also called people analytics, quantifies people, drivers, on business outcomes. Analytics measures why something is happening and the impact of what’s happening. A sound HR analytics in place will help determine effectiveness of the HR department. It helps predict the result and ultimately aid in better decision making. It helps get past from what to why. The benefit of using HR analytics and metric is to make better decisions duly backed by facts and data, rather than a decision based on gut feelings, to link the HR process with business.

“Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway.”Geoffrey Moore.

Proper implementation of the above-said Pillars – going back to basic with a focus on a people-centric approach will help us drive good culture, build a strong connection with employees, enhance trust, and help us make a strong employee experience.

So, let’s ponder on this food for thought: The most common complaints employees have about their existing and former employer is they don’t care. What do our onboarding and offboarding practices say about our company’s culture? Employees’ feeling about the entire process and how they form their EX-Employee Experience throughout the journey plays a vital role about the organization’s human touch. Hence, the organization should build the strategy, culture, system, and policies for the employment process to imbibe an employee-centric approach. This focus on fundamental human pillars ultimately leads to a more excellent and rich employee experience for the employees who become part of our organization during the journey. Instead of an employee asking us when offboarding or during the journey – Does Your Company Care? Human resource professionals need to build a robust system within our organization so that employees feel valued, loved, cared for from day one to the last day. This makes the employee feel that they are part of the organization to create a rich employee experience, which will help create a strong image of the organization.

To achieve all these, HR leaders and teams themselves need to be inspirational group and individuals and magnets for great talent and great leaders. Therefore, as human resource professionals, our aim should be towards inducing human touch across our activities despite our day-to-day hustle and bustle.

Puri is HR Head at Dabur Nepal

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