Key Challenges facing HR and Management in 2016
Earlier this year at Natural Talent we summarised a wide range of surveys regarding the key issues facing HR in 2015. We’ve looked at surveys conducted this year and now identify the key challenges likely to be faced by HR and management in 2016:
1. Attraction and Retention of top Talent:
As the employment figures continue to rise, organizations need to offer more to prospective recruits in order to attract and retain top talent. Not only will the discernible recruit be looking for material reward, but also choosing employers who offer additional perks such as flexible working. Some companies continue to make poor hires which can be costly and easily avoided by conducting Psychometric tests and Competency Based Interviews to ensure the right fit.
According to recent research by the Hay Group, 40% of employees do not feel they belong to a collaborative culture, whereas 80% of global organizations regard teamwork as one of their strengths. Many employees see themselves as being part of a ‘working group’, as defined by Katzenbach and Smith, but not belonging to a ‘real team’. Very few managers or team members consider they are part of a high performing team and many teams have the added complexity of working across functions and countries or are even virtual. Teambuilding days are often viewed as a tick box exercise because key interpersonal or business issues remain buried. In order to create a high performing team the key areas for improvement need to be addressed in an open and honest way with tools such as the Team Needs Questionnaire and carefully facilitated debate with SMART Action Plans to improve all key development areas.
- Learning and Development:
“Firms rated highest for engaging and enabling their staff achieve four and a half times the revenue growth of their lowest scoring counterparts and see up to 54% improvement on staff retention. People are the lynchpin to sustaining performance in this rapidly changing world, and organizations need to wake up to this. The successful organizations will be those that realize their employees are a unique asset and can help them meet the challenges both now, and as they intensify in the future,” according to Mark Royal of the Hay Group.
In their survey 50% of employees felt they are not receiving enough training. Swift upskilling of recently promoted team leaders, managers, leaders and rising stars will continue to be necessary to ensure new managers have the competencies, tools and techniques to be able to effectively and confidently manage and lead their teams. Key development areas and work relationships which need improving can be identified by a 360 Feedback Review. Short, focused, practical and bespoke skills development sessions and Management Development will prove increasingly popular to get new managers up to speed.
Being able to react, be flexible and respond positively to constant change, as well as being able to make the tough calls will continue to be important for leaders and HR teams. 46% of employees surveyed were concerned about the time it takes for key decisions to be made throughout the business. They also wanted swift, open and honest communication regarding change, with managers looking for support from team members who embrace ongoing change, whether from M and As or change of ownership.
In the Hay survey 43% of employees felt that a positive performance did not necessarily lead to career progression, which feeds a lack of engagement. 41% felt that they were not part of a structured process for Talent Management or Succession Planning. Employees feel demotivated without regular positive feedback and a clear Performance Management framework in place. In the current job market individuals will continue to look elsewhere if they don’t feel valued and see little opportunity for promotion.
- Strategic Thinking and Planning:
One of the key challenges facing leaders and managers will continue to be the ability to free up time from operational fire-fighting in order to be able to think and plan strategically. Stephen Covey’s Ti-Mandi Matrix to identify whether tasks are Urgent or Important is still of use today in order to create space to ask the key questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’, to review policies and goals, identify potential risks and opportunities, set new objectives, forward plan and ensure alignment.
- Managing a diverse workforce, including the Millennials:
With the continuing skills shortage especially in some specialist areas, increasingly companies are recruiting from abroad and need to ensure their onboarding process addresses any issues and concerns. The tech-savvy generation tends to enjoy team-working, looks for feedback on their performance and wants a decent work/life balance and HR and managers need to be innovative in developing ways to keep these employees engaged and motivated.
Building a culture of innovation and growth in order to identify opportunities in the market and stay ahead of the competition will be key to future company success. Innovation and Creativity should be included in workplace competencies and assessed and developed from selection to promotion. Sales teams should be trained to consult more with customers to pre-empt their needs and identify possible future trends. Technology should be up to date and mobile-conducive.
9. Managing the Company Reputation – both on and offline:
In 2015 we have witnessed the reputation of one of the most respected global brands unravel with a major loss of integrity through the type of actions which we thought had been left behind after the banking crisis. As Volkswagen tries to win back respect organizations have again been reminded of the need to adhere to the vision and values and demonstrate authentic leadership, aided by HR.
10. Managing Workload and promoting Workplace Well-being:
Even though companies continue to have the confidence to recruit and grow, the legacy of the economic downturn is that many team members and managers are still doing two peoples jobs and often working over 60 hour weeks. Stress continues to account for at least 35% of actual reported work related ill health with pressure of high workloads and tight deadlines, lack of managerial support and a feeling of too much responsibility cited as the main causes. A recent government study suggests that an overall improvement in wellbeing will result in improved productivity, profitability and quality.
Recommendations are that Management and HR will need a more holistic approach to well-being in the workplace, encouraging healthy habits, more empowerment of employees, and tailored personal development including Time and Project Management training, Resilience training, Coaching and mentoring, and ready access to EAPs.