HR 2020 - a New Vision

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HR 2020 - a New Vision
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
Hi everyone, I encourage you to look ahead to the year 2020. What do you see as the challenges and priorities for your HR Organization? In the last 20 years, we have seen a multitude of challenges. In HR, "challenges will tax our collective abilities to deal with them" (Peter Senge, Dance of Change, 1999, p3).

What happens if we fail to rethink HR? What is the risk if we do not explore new ways to learn, manage, operate, and change? Does your company have a vision for 2020? How will your HR organization deal with the changes created by recent world events (e.g., 2017 US Presidential Election, refugees in Europe, 2008 economic meltdown and current recovery)?

I am looking forward to your insights and comments. Thanks.

Leverage THICK Data
Gary Wong, Consultant, Canada, Premium Member
Any visioning exercise requires making sense of the real world and looking at all the available data. HR IT systems focus on BIG data, the quantitative stuff that reports about the past.

Rethinking HR means including THICK data in the mix. As per Tricia Wang, THICK data is data that is brought to light using qualitative, ethnographic research methods that uncover people's emotions, stories, and models of their world.
If a company doesn't have some sort of "Human Sensor Network" to capture stories, it's time to rethink HR. Otherwise its perspective of reality is insufficient.

Focus on Human and Intellectual Capital
abdulraheem, Business Consultant, Qatar, Member
It is very important for the organization to focus on their intellectual capital because future organizations will need to focus on the knowledge economy. Human capital is the key for building it.

Clarification of Facts - Data Analytics
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
@Gary Wong: Hi Gary: Could you please clarify the difference between BIG data and THICK data? Is it simply "quantitative" versus "qualitative" as you have noted? Could it be hard facts versus stories? Thanks, David.

HR Problems in South Africa
Helen Strong, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
Developing countries have different HR problems. In South Africa our education system is failing our young people. The basic standards are not there. On the one side, the country has an advanced economy with a good foundation of high tech knowledge, but on the other side due to poor primary education quality the HR pipeline has been strangled. Even the attempt to bring TV tutors to supplement the personal inadequacies of the teachers has not worked. The equipment got stolen!
Once we properly educate people, we can focus on getting performance and innovation from our people. Educating our people is the solution.

Thick Data Gives Big Data Context and Meaning
Gary Wong, Consultant, Canada, Premium Member
@David Wilson: Hi, David. Yes, you are correct. Thick Data consists of Narrative Fragments that’s difficult to quantify. Written stories are the most common form of Narrative Fragments. Other forms are pictures, voice recordings, water cooler gossip, grapevine rumours, feedback.
Big Data is content - large sample sizes of quantitative data captured, stored, and analyzed. The sample size of Thick Data is much smaller but it gives Big Data context and meaning.
Consider an employee satisfaction survey. Big Data generates a rating of 6 out of 10. By itself, the number means little. A few survey comments (Thick Data), however, help to give insights and often what action should be taken.
A main function of a Human Sensor Network is to continually gather narrative feedback 24/7/365.

Human Interest Instead of Human Resources
E. Reit, Netherlands, Member
We need to change management into leadership. We need people who lead colleagues during their work, not manage their procedures and the steps they should follow. They should coach people how to think and make the smartest decision based on quality. The working people know what is needed.
Human Resources (HR) must change into Human Interest (HI), where they HI organization would be primarily responsible for educating leadership and creating an emphatic ability on all levels in the organization.

HR Trend: More Integrated Employee Training
Steven Cooke
HR should always be focused on the needs of the organization. People don't really change that much - despite the popularity of generational labels. Business does change due to many factors, and sometimes, there are cycles instead of new challenges.
A key focus for any company should be integrated employee training. Schools (other than the Trades, possibly) never really prepare graduates for specific jobs. A return to apprenticeships could improve the pipeline considerably and allow more opportunities especially for those in less well-educated societies.
Employee engagement isn't an "off the shelf" selection of people with everything needed to perform well in YOUR company. Training and experience are always needed. Why not take that challenge head-on and develop the people you need from any and all "levels" of education?

Transforming Human Beings
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
Instead of "Human Resources", we might use something like "Transformation of Human Beings". That makes more sense. By stating so, we acknowledge the capability of employees to get transformed to a higher level, where each person is capable to realize his/her own being.

Editor: I quite like your idea as it emphasizes the dynamic nature of both the HR function and of the people in the organization. We live in an era of change. Also it means we are talking about people, not resources. We live in an era of knowledge workers, not factory workers.

Further on Needs of the Industry
Steven Cooke
While I encourage education everywhere, my point was that neither Government nor Schools REALLY meet the needs of modern skills and knowledge. ONLY the industries and companies themselves really know what they want.
'Basic' education is necessary, of course (including discipline-centric higher education in some fields). But when it comes to practical information and experience, even many internal training/HR groups repeat the costs and failures of 'traditional' education, when they could be using the expense to improve their workforce capabilities.

HR Trends, Education, and Career Readiness
Gretchen Richards, Professor, United States, Member
I enjoyed the comments and agree with many. Here is what I have experienced.
1. Quality education relies on educators' professional development to remain relevant. The generation gap concerning technology and concerning engaging digital natives have created an obstacle for educators.
2. HR will need to address in all fields how to maintain a relevant, multi-generational workforce (ages 16-80+).
3. If HR/Leadership mandates training, then it must be consistent in actions and words. When issues encroach the training topics, leadership must collect and analyze all data quickly and fairly. Decisions need to be made in a timely fashion or employees will become disengaged.
4. Corporations & IHEs are building partnerships to address the college and career readiness. However, I am concerned that neoliberalism education will destroy the academic freedom and creativity that contributed to the technology and global marketplace we have today.

HR 2020 - a New Vision
Nick Shepherd
Good discussion. Here are my thoughts.

1. HR must be seen as a strategic resource as it creates most other "capitals" (capabilities) and also consumes a big part of cost;
2. Focus in HR thinking must move away from the bias on cost and focus on creating a climate for optimization of human potential;
3. An issue will also be agreement on acceptable behavior by making "values" as important as is "mission" (Values drives behavior / relationships and mission drives process).
4. Making it happen will require the highest ever investment in leadership development through which human potential is encouraged and engaged.

Finallly HR must become equally important to areas such as finance. People are not your greatest assets because you cannot own them, but they are your greatest opportunity for success and potentially your most important partner. In 2020, we will need strategic leadership coupled with effective processes of HR structures.

More Commitment to HR Strategic Planning
Francisco Vasquez, Entrepreneur, El Salvador, Member
Yesterday, I was in a conference about HR Strategic Planning and I understood that this activity in most companies is important, but not very important.
If companies do not really pay attention to the development of their employees and reward them fairly, it can have a big impact on the company's income, because the attitude of employees can quickly increase or decrease a company's bottom line.
So by 2020 organizations have to pay more attention to their HR Department.
I suggest to change the name of the HR Manager to "Manager of Dreams".

Evolution of the Modern Workforce
David Ocema, Student (University), Uganda, Member
It is worth noting that many individuals in modern workforces are more educated, schooled and trained in more diverse fields than in the past. Today, a sizeable percentage of the workforce is multi-skilled and multi-talented. Employees are also more analytical. Generally it's quite difficult to manage such people in the traditional way.
Therefore, I think the task at hand is for HR professionals to learn managers adaptive tactics to 'manage' these people so they can meet the challenges at hand.

External Sources of Training have to Focus on What is Actually Needed
Steven Cooke
Government and scholastic institutions are often cited as trying to 'adapt' or "providing training needed by industry", but my experience is that they are more often trying to maintain their own viability (and paychecks)!

I have worked in many sizes of companies, most recently in a major Oil & Gas company with an extensive internal training program. Similar programs exist in British Petroleum (BP) and Total, probably can be found in other companies. Even there, I found that all too often the "educators" developed what THEY thought was needed.

In my years in the field, I rarely found anyone in HR asking the line managers what was needed by THEM, and even when that was done, there was never any direct, linked feedback requested from the managers to see if the programs were really effective. It is a sad cycle of complain, ask for money, train more, and complain again!

One practical option for any trainer is to spend at least a month (or more) doing the job that they are providing training for. Then, the trainer can determine the answers for the following questions: What do they need? What do they lack?

Response to Relabelling HR
Steven Cooke
@Srinivas: Sometimes "rebranding" is useful - usually it is not, UNLESS the practitioners really have a new vision. Changing the label does not change the practice. If one does not know how to obtain value from "Personnel", then using the organizational title "Human Resources" won't help too much. If we can't understand "Human" in terms of people and "Resources" in terms of value (and development), the "Transformation of Human Beings" isn't going to change it either.

Improving HR Management
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
@Steven Cooke: Hi Steven, based on your comments, you may not have worked with the best HR professionals. I recently read a book on Google's HR operations. It would appear Google uses more input from line managers and employees, than one would expect to find in many organizations.
So perhaps you need to look beyond the Oil and Gas Sector to find better practices. I have found that "people leadership" benefits organizations where HR management and the line work together. In the 21st Century, I would agree that we need a positive and forward-looking HR Vision. Best practices, innovative ideas and benchmarking HR performance may be a way to move the HR profession forward. I agree that HR professionals would benefit from working in the line or operational areas. Regards, David.

Improvement of Quality of Experience Levels
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
@Steven Cooke: Currently the markets are ushering in the experience economy. The better the quality of the customer experience, the better will be the price.
Here I think the department relating to human beings plays a major role. Let's consider the rate of evolution and the rate of value generation by "resources". Cement, wood, machines are resources and they generate value. However human beings are able to transform quickly at different layers and in that process realize better quality of experiences. Even to such an extent, the person may realize that the so called resources have become part of him at the very foundational level.

Organization and Employee Should Look After Each Other
Amir Murtaza, Pakistan, Member
Selection and training should be conducted to satisfy organizational needs, but at the same time the organization should also be well informed about employee needs and try to satisfy these needs.

HR as Capital Investment
Eduardo Montes, Consultant, Mexico, Member
HR must be seen as real capital investment. The capacity programs and training in my country Mexico focus almost exclusively on middle management (supervisors), in order to produce quality. They often not have the knowledge or preparation to use the necessary tools to do their jobs, which involves planning, cost management, HR management, etc. .

Key Drivers for HR Change by 2020
Gandhi Heryanto, Management Consultant, Indonesia, Premium Member
To respond to the challenges and priorities of an HR Organization in 2020, we must first identify the drivers for such change. A survey conducted by the Asia Pacific Cegos identified 5 key drivers, namely:

1. The impact of technology;
2. The challenges of a cross-generational workforce diversity;
3. Increasing diversity;
4. The future of work infrastructure; and
5. Leader/Manager readiness.

With these 5 key drivers change, we will be better to face of the changes that will occur as the HR vision 2020

Source: 2020 vision: Five key things HR should do for future change, HRD Magazine.

BEST Practices are not COMMON Practices!
Steven Cooke
@David Wilson: There may be excellent companies, and certainly "Best Practices" out there. However, if those do not become the "common practices" or standards of operation, this discussion will repeat itself in every decade.
I've seen it over a 40-year career in Quality Management. Yes, we DO make some progress, but MOST of the chronic problems (usually in management) remain chronic across industries.
Those that are best in class do well, but even they seem to stumble along the way… Did you see the latest on Google's discrimination practices, for example?

Modern HR Thinking
Maysam salmasi, HR Consultant, Iran, Member
In my opinion, for HR to become a modern discipline, all functions should be changed with attention being paid to the needs of next generation (i.e. those entering the job market in 2020).

Changes to HR for the Next Generation
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
@Maysam salmasi: Thanks for your contribution. Could you please add some more information on your point of view? Regards, David.

HR for the 'Next' Generation
Steven Cooke
@Maysam salmasi: I would agree and encourage all HRM folks to continue to modify, change, remove, replace systems and tools that are no longer effective.
However, while generational changes must be acknowledged, the entire workforce is and always will be a large cross-section of generations as well as cultures!
HR should be LEADING in INTEGRATION, not specialization or special interests! Don't lose or ignore your loyal staff in exuberance to attract the new workers. Changes will come AS they are integrated properly. They should not be disruptive to the existing workforce either.
Best regards,

Management & Leadership
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
I agree with much of what you say. In reply to @E. Reit, consider: It is not possible to be a (good) manager without being a leader. It is possible to be a leader without being a manager.

Leadership is integral to the role of manager. Manager-ship is not required for the actions of leading. To “change” from management to leadership seems to imply that there is no need for ‘managers’. I would question this. Rather than saying “change” from management to leadership I would say ensure that the two sets of skills are combined.

HR Vision. Challenges and Issues
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
It would appear some of the challenges for HR are in HR itself. Human Resources (HR) needs to support both the business and the people in the organization. HR needs to provide people leadership, facilitate issue resolution, and create 21st Century people practices, while supporting managers to be effective leaders.
Besides that, how does HR manage some of the outside issues, such as the me-too movement, trade wars, human rights, pay equity, etc.? Leading the organization's conversation on these topics is one way HR can support the necessary discussions and initiatives, which may lead to creative and innovative solutions.

HR 2020 a New Vision
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
@srinivas: Consider: Why change the name of the HR function? Many organisations (i.e. people) seem to think that changing a name will mean there will be a cultural, orientation and activities shift. Not so. If the same people are still there with a set way of thinking, there will be no change. You need to change the mind-set, paradigm and/or activities to ensure Human Resources becomes a 'resource for humans.' This means we need to consider and treat the people resource of the organisation as humans, rather than account for them as ‘workforce-resource’.

Special Interest Group Leader
David Wilson

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