Three ways to drive lasting change in the ever-changing businessÂ climate.
By Rebecca Sinclair
From the COVID-19 pandemic to social unrest and theÂ presidential election, the workforce has experienced moreÂ disruption and distraction in the last six months than everÂ before. 2020 has ushered in a new era for human resourcesÂ with much of the workforce now remote and businessesÂ seeking new ways to boost productivity and maintainÂ company culture.
The tried and true, traditional HR practices andÂ technologies are transforming. The element of dailyÂ engagement has been dismantled and businesses areÂ forced to rethink processes and policies to fit todayâsÂ remote environment. Companies with core values servingÂ as the foundation of their business are primed to realizeÂ effective change that drives engagement and buildsÂ resilience. A successful HR transformation begins withÂ hard-wiring agility into the business and should focus onÂ culture, next-generation leaders, engaged talent, a digitalÂ ecosystem, and omnichannel communications.
Building a Culture of Knowledge
The key to effecting organizational agility requiresÂ investment in a businessâ most important asset: its people.Â It is vital that the workforce is equipped with the properÂ tools, resources, and training so that overall productivity isÂ bolstered. A culture that encourages and provides ongoingÂ education and professional development opportunitiesÂ allows associates to grow within the company. In turn,Â this will positively impact overall business growth andÂ organizational change.
Learning and development initiatives provide associatesÂ with new ways of thinking, new challenges, and new skillsÂ that propel the company toward natural transformation.Â By fueling constant curiosity and fostering continuousÂ learning, businesses become more resilient and agile.Â This is vital as many roles continue to shift in a digital-firstÂ world and skills gaps across industries widen. FillingÂ these gaps through tailored workforce education not onlyÂ reskills associates for shifts in roles, but also drives topÂ performers into leadership positions that are pivotal to aÂ companyâs future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made omnichannelÂ communications critical. An integrated HR and corporateÂ communications team is important in creating a connectedÂ culture that brings teams and leaders together. By doingÂ this, communication begins with the associate even as itÂ reaches external channels.
In the new era of HR, itâs important to diversifyÂ communications in order to reach each associateÂ through their preferred channels. Whether itâs throughÂ a companyâs intranet, executive memos, or leadershipÂ videos, the ability to communicate through differentÂ channels guarantees all associates are retaining the sameÂ information in their own way.
External communications allow associates to remainÂ aware of the companyâs message, giving them a senseÂ of pride and connection to the brand. CommunicationÂ becomes the consistent thread to maintaining a connectedÂ cultureâand itâs important to think of it in a duality. ItÂ is useful for not only maintaining associate engagement,Â but also to ensure that associates are connected to theÂ brand, building morale and boosting internal engagementÂ while keeping them informedâno matter where they areÂ located.
This engagement ultimately shows up in how customersÂ are experiencing the brand and engaging with theÂ workforce.
Leveraging a Digital Ecosystem
Global complexity is real. Things change rapidly and theÂ world is getting smaller. Staying ahead of the changesÂ requires a fluid mindset. Through powerful, best-in-classÂ tools that are grounded in artificial intelligence, machineÂ learning, and analytics, HR can re-engineer the powerÂ of culture and performance to drive business outcomes.Â This allows businesses to show a return on investment inÂ terms of productivity and revenue generation to continueÂ driving the strategy and engagement of the company.
Itâs no secret that investment in technology is vital toÂ todayâs business, but the key is having an HR digitalÂ ecosystem with the right portfolio that engages andÂ evolves people in a rapid and sustainable way to driveÂ business performance. With tools that serve in areasÂ like learning and development, talent managementÂ and leadership development, social engagement, andÂ communications and connectivity, business leaders canÂ scale and sustain transformation through knowledge.
Each of these tools delivers real-time data that can informÂ where the business needs to pivot and adjust. TheseÂ analyticsâboth predictive and prescriptiveâcan provideÂ a safety net for businesses as they continue to copeÂ with uncertainty, allowing businesses to quickly tailorÂ and adjust strategies to meet the evolving needs of theÂ workforce.
A strong digital ecosystem creates an agile way to notÂ only understand the performance of an individual, but toÂ ensure the development and readiness of an associate forÂ future roles they can continue to play in the organization.Â In todayâs remote climate, this becomes important toÂ accelerate the morale and agility of the organization.
HR teams will need to excel in their digital dexterity toÂ not only evolve HR but lead their organizations into aÂ more connected future with an engaged culture. ThisÂ needs to be foundational to any HR strategy in order toÂ build associate capabilities that drive outside businessÂ performance in what will likely continue to be a virtualÂ world.
The pandemic has emphasized HRâs role in businessÂ continuity and maintaining connectivity through crisis.Â With the data and insights to back up and inform effectiveÂ change, HRâs modernization has been a long time coming.Â The traditional strategies and principles are evolvingÂ and itâs crucial for HR executives and companies to keepÂ up. In turn, the businesses that ultimately look to HR toÂ drive strategic, internal transformation will become theÂ differentiators.
Rebecca Sinclair is chief people and communications officerÂ at American Tire Distributors.