Addressing the long term challenges facing HR and their organizations

Addressing the long term challenges facing HR and their organizations

According to a 2010 survey of global C-suite executives conducted by SHRM and the Economists Intelligence Unit, the two biggest challenges facing HR over the next 10 years are:

  1. Retaining and rewarding the best people
  2. Attracting the best people to the organization

When asked about the most effective tactics for addressing these challenges, some of the top recommendations from HR leaders included things like:

  • Fostering work-life balance
  • Creating a culture of trust, open communications and fairness
  • Giving employees meaningful work that contributes to the organization's objectives
  • Investing in employee development
  • Offering a competitive total rewards package

What's interesting about the findings is that many of the tactics can be addressed through effective talent management practices. Here are some of the key talent management practices and how they help address the top HR challenges of the future.

Goal setting, alignment and management

Helps in:

  • Fostering work-life balance
  • Creating a culture of trust, open communications and fairness
  • Giving employees meaningful work that contributes to the organization's objectives

Giving employees clear goals that are directly linked to higher level organizational goals is the best way to ensure your employees:

  • Know what is expected of them
  • Know the organization's high level goals and priorities
  • Understand how their work contributes to organizational success
  • Find meaning and value in what they do

But you need to do more than just set goals, and forget them. For good, ongoing goal management, managers need to:

  • Regularly check in with employee on their progress
  • Offer guidance, coaching or help to ensure success
  • Periodically revisit goals to ensure they're still relevant, realistic and achievable
  • Communicate progress on organizational goals

These goal management best-practices help ensure work-life balance for employees by quickly flagging problems with workload, knowledge, resources, etc. They also contribute to establishing a relationship of trust, communication and fairness between the manager and employee. And they give employees the context they need to derive meaning from their work.

Job descriptions to define success

Helps in:

  • Fostering work-life balance
  • Investing in employee development

Job descriptions can often seem like unnecessary overhead, and in some organizations they don’t even exist. In many organizations that do have job descriptions, they're often inconsistent and out of date.

But clear, up-to-date job descriptions are really a foundational element for many talent management processes. They set out the requirements and boundaries for each employee's role. As such, they can be a key contributor to work life balance by helping ensure, at the outset, that each job is "doable" by an employee. With clear defined job descriptions, you're less likely to see "job creep" where additional job responsibilities are gradually added to a role without thought as to whether or not one person can actually accomplish all those tasks and responsibilities in an average work week. Good job descriptions also outline the knowledge, skills and experience required for the role and can help identify training or development requirements for the job incumbent.

Performance-based development planning

  • This is a critical way to invest in employee development – helping not only the employee, but aligning to the needs of the business.

Performance-based development planning helps ensure investments in employee learning and development are targeted and produce results. Employees get the development they need to improve their performance. But they also get to expand their knowledge, skills and abilities to meet the organization's needs and prepare for career progression. Organizations develop the critical skills they need for success in their current workforce, help drive up employee engagement and retention, and position themselves as an employer of choice. By integrating development planning with your performance management process, as well as any succession planning programs, you demonstrate an organizational commitment to employee development, as well as ensure employees' professional and career development needs are met.

Performance-based rewards and compensation

Helps in:

  • Creating a culture of trust, open communications and fairness
  • Offering a competitive total rewards package

While offering a competitive total rewards package is vital to attracting and retaining the best employees, it's really only effective if rewards are rooted in employee performance. To attract and retain high performing employees, you need a clear, transparent rewards package and a compensation program that recognizes and promotes high-performance. Programs that aren't rooted in performance are quickly perceived as unfair by employees, and tend to disengage high performers. Having clear job descriptions, performance standards, and goals for every employee, makes it easier and clearer for managers and leaders to recognize high performance and reward it appropriately, using a variety of means.

Unified, consistent and transparent talent management processes

Help in:

  • Creating a culture of trust, open communications and fairness
  • Offering a competitive total rewards package

Having unified, consistent and transparent talent management processes goes a long way to creating an organizational culture of trust, transparency and open communications. They level the playing field for employees, and help remove some of the subjectivity that is inherent in every manager-employee relationship. They ensure employees needs for direction, context, development and fair rewards are met. It's no wonder companies with mature talent management processes have a real competitive advantage when it comes to attracting, retaining, and rewarding a high performing workforce.

Conclusion

When looking to address the major challenges facing your organization as well as HR, your talent management processes are a good place to start. They formalize and support most of the basic management best-practices that drive employee performance and underpin organizational success.

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