A Q&A with Accenture’s Veerle Dero
By Debbie Bolla
What are the top trends in HR today?
Business, technology, economic, and societal trends continually play a role in shaping the future of HR.
Some of these trends include:
• Digital radically disrupts HR: Technology will enable talent management to become an integral part in the fabric of everyday business.
• Social media drives the democratization of work: As organizations rely on people at all levels to co-create solutions across boundaries, HR’s role is shifting from convincing others of their value to educating workers on how to co-create talent solutions with HR and one another.
• HR drives the agile organization: As the world becomes more volatile, organizations need to find ways to become highly agile. HR will need to support a world where people may no longer have predefined “jobs” that lock them into doing one activity.
• The rise of an extended workforce: Companies will be increasingly composed of an ever-shifting network and highly diverse global talent pool of contractors, temporary staff, business partners, outsourcing providers, and even the general public.
• The reconfiguration of the global talent landscape: HR will need to adopt new talent sourcing strategies to effectively match talent with tasks all over the globe and adopt new management methods.
• Tapping skills anywhere, anytime: HR professionals will need to develop a “just-in-time” workforce capability to compete in a fast-changing economy.
• The capability to expand reach to deliver seamless employee experience: As experts begin to engage in initiatives as diverse as strategy planning, sustainability, or workplace design with the goal of improving workforce productivity and business performance, the scope of HR will broaden considerably to incorporate with a wide range of other disciplines.
• Managing people as a “workforce of one”: To improve the performance of a radically diverse workforce, HR will need to work to create an organization’s unique blueprint for customization.
What are the top challenges faced by HR execs today and can you provide tips for overcoming/addressing them?
HR is under increased pressure to deliver improved business results. According to Accenture research over 80 percent of leaders cite attracting and retaining skilled talent as the largest challenge faced by HR executives. Additional challenges and business issues faced by HR execs today include:
• Ensuring the operating model provides a competitive advantage
• Increasing the agility of the organization to respond to business and markets changes
• Managing change within the organization • Aligning people and processes to support a company’s business model
• Growing and operating in a volatile environment.
In order to address these issues, companies must rethink their HR and HRIT strategies to best respond to market forces. To achieve optimal success, HR must shift focus beyond cost reduction and instead implement HR Tech solutions that will help increase revenue growth and improve business results. To do this, companies should reduce HR operating expenses (via automation and HR Shared Services), cut workforce costs (by ensuring that the right people are in the right places), and develop HR strategies to improve workforce performance and stay competitive in the market.
What are your own organization’s top HR priorities and how do you manage them?
As a company, Accenture is continuously working to improve performance by managing employees as a “workforce of one.” For example, Accenture segments employees in part of their overall well-being to determine those who might be at risk for leaving.
As Accenture continues to grow, attracting and growing talent will remain a critical priority. We are also completely changing our performance process and will implement Performance Achievement, which is a totally new approach to performance management.
We’re moving from an annual process with ratings and rankings to more ongoing, forward-looking conversations that focus on our peoples’ strengths, their progress, and their career possibilities. Performance Achievement is grounded in research about what really drives individual and team performance. High performance happens when people know what is expected, can apply their strengths, and can get ongoing coaching and feedback.
How is your organization standing out from competing companies seeking high-quality recruits?
At Accenture, recruitment really is about bringing a unique and personalized experience to the candidates: graduates, professionals and executive talent. This experience should give you strong insight into what working for Accenture looks like and how you can bring innovation and added value to our clients.
Accenture is very present in the market to talk and meet with talent: campus event, job fairs, events, etc. But one of our main recruitment channels is still referrals, where our employees are the best ambassadors to explain what working for Accenture means and how ‘high performance delivered’ is translated into the different roles we offer.
How are the changing demographics of the workforce impacting recruitment AND retention strategies?
As companies globalize, HR will need to adopt new talent sourcing strategies to effectively match talent with tasks all over the globe, and assume new management methods, such as supporting a mobile workforce across geographic barriers and managing remote work.
Recruitment and retention needs to be much more personalized and “consumerized” to the specic needs and situation of the individual. This will require a new mindset, approach, tools, and processes.