Tag: HR Leaders

Knowledge and expertise are essential for creativity 
According to a recent survey conducted by Gartner, Inc, 49% percent of HR leaders named innovating for success as one of their top three priorities for 2022. The latest findings were announced during the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference, on 16th of September.

Despite HR leaders prioritising innovations, a May 2022 Gartner survey of more than 3,500 employees found that only 46% of employees agree that their organisation encourages creative thinking.

Emily Rose McRae, Senior Director in the Gartner HR practice said: “The survey results show that an organisation’s actions directly impact the ability of employees to be creative by 25%. In fact, an organisation’s actions have more than double the impact of an individual’s personality when it comes to driving employee creativity.”

The analysis found that effective creativity – producing a high volume of relevant and novel ideas – requires three things:

  1. Knowledge and expertise
  2. Ability to overcome “stickiness” of prior knowledge
  3. Imagination

According to the survey results, there are three actions organisations can take to increase employee creativity in general:

Broaden participation to increase knowledge and expertise

In today’s dispersed workforce, individuals seamlessly toggle between asynchronous and synchronous work environments. As such, leaders and teams must create space for idea generation to occur across all modes of work, while simultaneously facilitating participation.

Leaders should also intentionally include employees from all levels. Executives are more likely to spend their time thinking strategically, while managers are more likely to focus on change management, and those more junior may have the clearest understanding of where potential quick wins lie.

McRae continued: “Bringing together employees who reside in various parts of the organisation, both physically and figuratively, will enable the business to harness the diversity of perspective as a knowledge base for creative activities.”

Lower stress to reduce stickiness of prior knowledge

The pressure to respond as work, and the workplace, evolved during the pandemic affected every industry and all leaders and employees. HR has had to exercise creativity in many forms – from developing a hybrid/return-to-office strategy, designing a pandemic talent strategy, to finding flexibility for frontline workers and establishing mechanisms for employee activism.

Finding creative, innovative solutions requires mental and temporal space. At a base level, managers must reduce tasks that crowd out creativity, while ensuring employees have time to decompress and recharge between tasks. At the broadest level, senior leaders should consider if their organisation has a culture that rewards idea generation, regardless of the ultimate success of ideas.

Increase novelty to drive imagination

The shift to hybrid work has limited employee interactions. When work consists primarily of similar days interacting – or not interacting – with the same people, creativity is particularly challenging.

HR should work with managers to bring together people who haven’t worked together before, or who have very different perspectives. Progressive organizations are going a step further and intentionally create shared new experiences among employees. One method is to offer individuals and teams, both remote and onsite, daily or weekly challenges, such as: work from a different location, take a walk in a new neighborhood, or try a new food.

“Adding novelty to the everyday – and sharing it with colleagues – can spark people to see problems differently and thus develop new solutions,” concluded McRae.

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Senior leaders unaware or unwilling to alter approach to managing the workforce

According to the 2022 Culture Report on Tech-Enabled Employee Experience from Achievers Workforce Institute, companies where senior leaders accept remote work are 29% less likely to struggle with attraction and retention.

While employees’ desire for flexibility in the workplace is at an all-time high, senior leaders at many companies are unaware or unwilling to alter their approach to managing the workforce.

In fact, the number one reason that workers changed jobs during the pandemic was for better work flexibility, AWI said. Of the workers who have the option to be hybrid or remote, 85% said they prefer that option. However, two-thirds say company leaders expect them to be in the office at least part-time.

Likewise, 56% of leaders in HR say the C-Suite doesn’t understand this change in the workforce, and 45% say they don’t have support needed to make changes that will attract, engage and retain top talent.

Employer concerns

Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Achievers Workforce Institute’s Chief Workforce Scientist said: “A major concern for company leaders is fostering a culture of connection and belonging with a dispersed workforce. We know that a strong sense of belonging drives a 3x return on a wide number of business outcomes. Many leaders believe that to achieve their desired culture, employees must be in the same physical space. However, the world of work has changed and so must our approach to creating a sense of belonging for employees. Employees are sharply focused on having an experience of connection and belonging, but they are confident they can achieve it while working from anywhere.”

Despite concerns over their performance, the research found that remote workers were equally as productive as those who worked in the office. It also found that employees are more likely to be engaged and advocate for their company when remote. They also have a tendency to trust their company leaders more.

In addition, HR leaders in companies that support remote work say they’re less likely to struggle when trying to attract and retain top talent.

The AWI study identified four types of technology that can foster the culture that both employees and company leaders are seeking: network, recognition, wellness and feedback. By implementing these systems, research shows that employers find an increase in engagement, belonging, trust and productivity, as well as their employees feeling valued and less burned out, overall.

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Delays due to difficulties in finding quality candidates

According to 58% of HR managers, delays in hiring are negatively affecting business performance.

In Talent Work’s survey of 400 HR leaders, it was found that recruitment is taking double the time to hire talent when compared to 2019. Twenty-one percent of respondents agree that it is taking three times as long.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents agree that the delays are due to difficulties in finding quality candidates.

When looking at 2022 priorities, employer branding was noted as the key priority for HR in 2022. Thirty-one percent plan to relaunch or develop their employer brand, while a further 20% have already done this. Only 12% of respondents said they didn’t have time to focus on their employer brand.

Other priorities were employee retention at 21% and changing processes to allow speedy hire at 20%.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents believe that brand awareness impacts their hiring ability, and 42% don’t believe they have a strong awareness as an employer or don’t measure their brand awareness.

Neil Purcell, CEO, and founder of Talent Works, said: “These statistics clearly show that 2019 thinking isn’t going to work in the 2022 employment market, which is the most competitive we’ve ever seen. Companies need to get strategic about how they can speed up hiring to accelerate business performance, and as the research indicates, effective Employer Branding is the most widely recognised way of doing this. It’s great to see that companies are beginning to think differently in such an oversubscribed market, but over one in ten companies surveyed were still unaware of the Employer Brand concept, which shows that there is still work to do.”

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12% of employees believe HR doesn’t champion DE&I

New research from Cezanne HR has revealed that a staggering number of employees don’t trust their HR departments with 58% of respondents agreeing that their HR team champions DE&I, which evidenced strong HR leadership in this area. The same 58% also indicated better performance for HR when asked if they trusted their HR team more or less than before COVID-19. It was perceived that there is less favouritism by HR towards senior or junior staff in the business.

The industry is seeing the benefits that conscious DE&I brings to businesses when it comes to talent attraction and retention, but it seems most HR professionals and organisation leaders may not realise its ripple effects with almost a third of respondents (30%) didn’t know if their HR team champions DE&I, and 12% said their HR team didn’t.

For Cezanne HR’s new report, The Psychology of HR Relationship Building: Trust, visibility, and respect, 1,000 people across the UK and Ireland were asked about different factors that might influence HR’s relationships with the workforce.

For the last 18 months HR departments have grappled with how COVID-19 has affected the workforce and there’s been a definite increased focus on DE&I due to world events. The survey revealed that those HR professionals who are motivated and invested in DE&I showed a higher percentage of people who trusted them more before the pandemic (40% versus 32% for all respondents) than they do following the pandemic.

Shandel McAuliffe, Head of Content for Cezanne HR commented: “At a time when many employees are re-evaluating their career options, the relationship HR has with the wider workforce is critical. Trust is key to that. Employees that trust HR to help them grow with their current employer and create an environment that is fair and inclusive, are going to think twice before jumping ship.”

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38% of employees are looking to change roles  

Almost all HR leaders are concerned employee turnover will skyrocket in the coming months, according to a Gartner survey of 572 HR leaders.  

Another Gartner survey of 1,609 candidates between May and June 2021 found that nearly half of today’s applicants are considering at least two job offers simultaneously. 

Talk of “The Great Resignation” is still dominating the news, despite no concrete evidence of its existence. According to data by Personio, close to two-fifths (38%) of employees are looking to change roles within the next six to twelve months.  

To gain competitive advantage in today’s war on talent, employers need to focus on retention strategies such as the following:   

  • Ensure career progression plans: empower your staff to be the CEO of their careers and ‘grow your own’ instead of hiring externally.  
  • Implement mentorship programmes. These foster a sense of belonging in the workplace.  
  • Emerging talent is very focused on diversity and inclusivity. Ensure your business is inclusive.  
  • Promote a work/life balance. Wellbeing is a key focus for employees now more than ever.  
  • Widen your business’s talent pool. Hire outside of the normal parametres of the preferred skillset. It’s not always about skills, it’s about potential, too.  
  • Offer flexible working that aligns to employee and work needs: flexibility is no longer a perk, it’s a prerequisite for employment since coming out of the pandemic. If you’re not prepared to offer your workforce flexibility, they will find an employer who does.  

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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