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Analytics, again, can help answer some of these questions.
Rather than considering patterns among, for example, Baby
Boomers and Gen Xers, unique data on individual employees
helps organizations go deeper.
“I think the generational analysis has been done to death,” said
Oldroyd. “We need to think about demographics in a much more
sophisticated way. It’s not just that someone comes from a par-ticular
culture, race, gender or generation. It really comes back to
understanding who your employees are, and being able to offer
some customized options to really engage them.”
Social media, too, is a potentially effective tool for fostering
connections and community among transient or temporary work
groups. In the past, an organization might have assumed an em-ployee
would stay for five or 10 years. With a growing population
of freelance and contract workers in the future, organizations will
have a shrinking window in which to make an impression.
“With social media, an organization can enhance the work ex-perience
in the moment and make it extremely positive for the
employee,” said Oldroyd.
That’s an area with growth potential for most businesses. While
plenty of businesses have harnessed the potential of social media
when it comes to external branding and clients, fewer have mas-tered
social connectedness, internally. A 2016 Forbes article by
Patrick Willer noted:
Consumers know all there is to know about products and ser-vices
on their mobile devices with social opinions from the
entire world. Hyper connectivity. But only a fraction of or-ganizations
are able to hyper connect their own employees in
order to create better products, services and customer experi-ences.
The few that do are changing industries. They disrupt.
They are connecting brainpower.
Making the most of social is an opportunity in waiting. Oldroyd
says that many organizations have begun to ask questions that will
pave the way for better connectedness in the future.
“The changing nature of work and ‘work interface’ has real-ly
triggered some thinking in the workplace about how to create
those collaborative, engaged communities that allow your employ-ees
to fully bring their skills and abilities to work, regardless of the
cross-functional areas they’re in,” she said.
READY, SET, FUTURE
Typically, technologies and trends don’t arrive without notice, but
signs of change may not be right in front of you. Expanding net-works
– and curiosity – beyond HR, says Oldroyd, will offer a
better sneak peek at trends and opportunities.
“Internally, you need to understand your business and organiza-tion
and really know where it’s headed,” said Oldroyd. “What are
the business or organizational opportunities? Who are the con-sumers
and stakeholders and what insights do you have around
them? What technology do you already have in place that you
could potentially leverage?”
Finding answers to those questions, Oldroyd says, comes
through being a true leader with the organization, as well as expo-sure
to different points of view.
“Real insight needs a diverse and varied network, as well,
that’s a mix of people from HR and other professions,” she
said. “Historically in HR, you might have just looked at trends
around your industry or your sector – but now some trends are
ALL COMES BACK TO CORE HR PRIORITIES
Change can come in many forms including globalization, political
movements and technological disruptions. What remains con-stant
– and what dictates how an organization reacts to, manages
or leverages those changes – is a set of foundational HR priorities.
At its core, HR’s role is to transform culture, says Oldroyd.
“You need to consider how to encourage great productivity
from employees but also address their emotional needs at work,
so there’s a purpose to what they’re doing; it’s not all results driv-en,”
In a time of constant change, Oldroyd also points out the impor-tance
of developing what she calls “stractical” leaders – people who
are open-minded enough to see the potential of creative ideas and
also practical and agile enough to implement them, and quickly.
“They have to look at change as exciting and energizing, not
something to be avoided,” said Oldroyd. “Change is inevitable, first
of all. Once you accept that, you have a tremendous opportuni-ty
to get a competitive advantage, by creating a strategy and a plan
around a future that doesn’t exist yet.” n
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ MAY 2017 ❚ 19