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HR Today: Influencing Talent and Engagement in the New Digital Age

by HappyOrNot

Here’s a question that gets asked a lot: What’s the state of Human Resources in today’s complex and rapidly-changing 21st Century workforce?

The answer? Well, it’s complicated.

Although the Human Resources Department has grown past it’s roots in compliance and now focuses on helping to build organizations through better engagement, better training, and an all-around effort to develop talent and help people grow, there’s a lot more to it as we approach 20 years of the new Millennium.

Many believe that today, HR and the world of work is at an inflection point in the wake of the #MeToo Movement, #TimesUp, and that diversity and inclusion issues are shifting and becoming more of a daily concern for managers and Human Resource leaders everywhere.

Social Media is Driving Workplace Issues

The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are examples of how social media can drive workplace issues and escalate them quickly. In fact, more and more people consider that not only is social media playing a huge role in these movements, but that it is also changing society — and the workplace — for the better.

Time magazine noted that, “The #MeToo movement has become a worldwide phenomenon, searched for on Google in 196 countries in the past year. The culture shift has been palpable — for the first time ever, the world has been put on notice that these once-fledgling women’s movements were not to be ignored. And people started to listen.”

The magazine made a distinction between #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement, adding that “Time’s Up shares a similar vision for women’s empowerment with #MeToo, but it has some different, specific goals. Time’s Up can be thought of as a solution-based, action-oriented next step in the #Metoo movement. The organization’s aim is to create concrete change, leading to safety and equity in the workplace.”

Dealing with “safety and equity in the workplace” is a core concern for Human Resources, and HR’s handling of hiring is where the rubber meats the road with these issues.

Maia Josebachvili, vice president of marketing and strategy at Greenhouse Software, recently told Fast Company magazine that her company has instituted as version of the “Rooney Rule,” an approach taken from the National Football League’s attempt to diversify its head coaches.

It requires that companies MUST consider a certain number of underrepresented minority candidates for open head coaching positions. And, it has increased the number of minorities as head coaches in a league where 70 percent of the players ARE minorities.

Josebachvili says that her company’s definition of what their version of the “Rooney Rule” should require has made it wildly successful in her organization.

“We’ve defined it by the on-site interview,” she points out, rather than have minority candidates get screened out through the phone interview. It’s working, she observes. “A year ago our executive team was 25 percent female and now it’s 40 percent.”

This is a great example of the #MeToo Movement at work — and how powerful it can be when applied to the workplace.

How HR is Handling #MeToo and Time’s Up Issues

Although hiring is a critical concern for Human Resources in the Age of #MeToo and Time’s Up, there are other ways that HR is addressing these employee engagement issues as well.

One way is by encouraging regular conversations with employees, particularly ongoing check-ins and encouraging employee feedback.

This is a good management practice, but it’s not always utilized in some organizations even though communicating with your workforce has been found to be a critical component in improving the employee engagement of employees throughout the company.

As former Human Resources leader and well-known blogger Laurie Ruettimann put it:

“This is simply smart management, but it’s not always something to gets much attention in many organizations even though regularly taking the temperature of your workforce not only drives higher levels of employee engagement but creates a meaningful and sustainable connection with the staff.”

Plus, Human Resources involvement can help create a “culture of transparency” by implementing employee experience programs and processes where managers are regularly asking employees not only how they’re doing, but, are also following up on the outcomes of those conversations and taking action when needed.

Ruettimann makes the case that Human Resources “has access to raw and robust data on work-related topics from performance to compensation to paid time off,” and can use this data to address underlying causes of workplace friction. “Excessive absenteeism, high quit rates attributed to an individual supervisor, and low departmental performance,” she says, “are all indicators of a problem that may or may not be linked to the #MeToo movement.”

She adds that the job of Human Resources simply comes down to this: If you see something, say something.

In doing this, Human Resources shows that they are not only protecting the company from litigation, but also showing care and compassionate toward employees throughout the organization. That builds a positive culture AND better levels of job satisfaction. When an employee feels valued by the company, they are more dedicated to the success of the business and will, in-turn, reduce employee turnover or churn, provide better customer service, increase customer satisfaction levels and thus increasing the retention levels of not only the employees but the lifetime value of the customer.

The saying is true: A Happy Employee, Makes for Happy Customers.

HappyOrNot Can Help Improve The Employee Experience in Your Organization

Doing that builds employee engagement, too. And getting regular employee feedback and data to help get at underlying issues is what HappyOrNot® does best.

As the global leader in instant customer and employee satisfaction reporting, HappyOrNots innovative feedback-collecting tablet, the Smiley Touch offers a simple, yet valuable, tool for collecting employee feedback. Plus, our intelligent data analytics reporting service helps our clients to improve their customer experience, relationships and employee engagement.

Human Resources has come a long way since the era of the “Personnel Department,” and instead of just being the people within the organization who enforce the rules, HR is now all about mentoring employees and acting as a company’s thought leader when it comes to talent management and building a winning culture.

Where employees used to be scared of interacting with Human Resources for fear that they would get in trouble for doing something wrong, in today’s MeToo# and Time’s Up era, HR is now the place where workers go with suggestions, concerns, and feedback about how to improve engagement, company culture, and the overall employee experience.

No longer do we wonder “Why We Hate HR,” as Fast Company magazine declared more than a decade ago. Now, the discussion is about the strategic value Human Resources can bring, and why the Chief HR Officer really does deserve a “seat at the table” with the other top executives who run the organization.

Yes, behind every successful organization IS a great Human Resources department, as Forbes recently declared, and behind all those successful companies that make the list of best places to work, there is a common denominator — happy employees and talented people.

Yes, HR has become a game changer for smart organizations.

Make sure you give a big “thank you” to your local Human Resources pro for that the next time you see them.

Just reach out to here to let us know how we can help you improve your overall performance.

Like what you’re reading? Then make sure you subscribe to our HappyOrNot Insights blog for the latest perspectives on human resources, employee engagement and building a high-performance workforce.

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