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Insight March 1 2018

4 Key trends on the Human Capital Management agenda this year.

What 2018 will look like for HR enthusiastic professionals?

More than ever HR professionals have the opportunity to play a critical role in helping their organization move to the next level in the business field or ensure that their success is sustainable, and they don’t fall into the laggard pool.

Now is a great time for those involved in Human Capital Management to focus on what is required outside of the company (like investors, shareholders, stakeholders, customers) rather than inside the company as would emphasize Dave Ulrich. And yes, he is right!

This means also a superb opportunity for HR to:
  • be the enablers to ensure the workforce evolves to new capabilities,
  • structure their organisation as a network of teams that form and unform rather than rigid organigrams,
  • become the architects of the future of work, getting ready today to succeed tomorrow,
  • to build stronger bridges with the business and the clients.

The boat is not to be missed! And more than ever the boat looks like a speedboat…

Key trends for 2018 are not surprising, however some organisations, teams and people are still hesitating how critical they are. For their success and even for their existence. They are to be taken very seriously and require to be prepared and to adapt. TODAY.

1. Acceleration Not only speed but exponential speed. Where change is THE constant.

This has an impact on how we plan, if at all, being constantly aware of what clients want, industry trends, and how quick and agile we are in adapting our people programs and quality to remain in the game.

It requires an open mind and the courage to embark on the speedboat without having the answers to everything. And in the Swiss context where risk has a special meaning, this is a challenge.

It requires different skills and mindset for professionals working in the Human Capital Management function. A mindset of agility, creativity, courage and enough balance to keep the energy level high.

It also is a clear sign that you will not be able to face this challenge by yourself but relying on a collaborative, empowered and creative team. Collaboration is key if we want to be able to move and act quickly.

2. Digitalisation and Future of Work

Here I don’t have in mind only the digitalization of the HR processes and the HR function, but also and foremost the unique opportunity for HR professionals to prepare their organization for the digital era we have entered in. It makes no sense in digitalizing the HR function for the sake of the function. This is by far not enough.

Professionals in HR have the responsibility to ensure that the organisation is equipped with the skills, the mindset and the tools to address the evolving challenges of the business.

This means facilitating the transition to a different way of working and helping the workforce in adopting a digital mindset. It also implies preparing companies to onboard new generations of talents, those who expects to have the appropriate digital tools to perform their jobs and will not be satisfied to work in the same way we have during the past decade.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotization have started to impact the way we recruit, the way we work and the way we learn.

Professionals in talent acquisition and talent development need to have a deep understanding on the implications and the possibilities that this represents. Not only to manage our workforce but how we deliver services or manufacture products for our clients.

Digital is impacting all industries and roles, to a lesser or higher extent. We talk a lot about digital taking away jobs, and at times as well about the number of new jobs digital is creating: digital compliance officer, robots trainer,

Less often we touch on how digital affects the parts of our roles that are changing due to digitalization of some of our tasks. For commercial teams, accountants, legal, production, procurement and so on… And this is a key domain where we can help as HR professionals.

46% of leaders say that job descriptions are obsolete and we need to look more at the tasks than the positions. Identifying what tasks change (and not!), what are the new tasks that need to be performed, what skills and knowledge needs to be acquired and how.

3. People analytics and story telling People data are only useful and actionable if

  • secure,
  • consistent,
  • accurate,
  • easy to find.

It therefore requires HR systems in place, facilitated by enabling (and not rigidly disabling) processes.

Yes, HR professionals need analytical skills, or rather being able to understand the implications of data analytics.

What they also need is the wisdom to form and rely on analytical experts, who can deliver intelligent and useful data. As per Josh Bersin recent report 69% of large organisations now have a people analytics team, which is great news.

By useful data I mean useful for the business leaders and for the clients. Data which have a reason and a purpose, other than editing large and indigestible reports nobody reads or understands.

The beauty of data is not the people data itself obviously but the STORY they help to form. And this is where Human Capital professionals need to get trained in order to formulate a concise, clear and useful story to allow the business to take the necessary decisions and actions with regards to their people.

Intelligent STORY telling implies a good understanding of the business and operations, a good collaboration with the IT and Finance teams as well.

With GDRP strengthening even more from May 2018 data security is requiring a solid understanding of its implication and the appropriate systems and processes in place. And we better be ready to comply.

4. Creating a People Experience I’m talking here about people experience and not employee experience only on purpose. It includes candidates experience, employee experience, customer experience.

It includes people out there whom you need to attract to either grow your company’s presence or remain in business for the coming years. The talents you are looking for to get into your company to make your results and success higher.

It means extending it to the ecosystem contributing to your company. Your employees, freelancers, contractors, part-timers, etc. The people with the skills, knowledge, behaviours and engagement you need to make your customers happy.

One of the main priorities of CEOs is to get the skills they need to deliver and attend their clients’ expectations. This requires a different approach to employer branding, sourcing, hiring and onboarding.

Organisations need to be 100% aligned and honest on what the company brand is, its values, its specificities. And communicating about it in a clear, attractive and authentic way.

Focus should be on defining, building, and LIVING a strong company culture. A culture which is aligned with what your clients would expect from you. A culture which will ensure that people you look for on the market will do anything to join you because it FEELS right to them, and they associate themselves with your company.

Creating a strong and powerful experience for your employees requires authenticity, caring leadership and the humility to listen and adapt. Experiencing means living, feeling, tasting and wanting more of it. It combines engaging your teams, creating the appropriate company culture and linking it to individual, teams and company performance. So brilliantly demonstrated by Simon Sinek with “Start with Why”.

And you can’t do this with empty words or with unaligned missions, visions, statements and behaviours.


Good news is that although the above may seem a lot, they also create a wealth of OPPORTUNITIES for companies to become a better place to work for a mix of generations, to reinforce employee loyalty and resourcefulness, and building the pride to deliver superior service or product to their clients.