Companies, in many cases, fail to overcome the gap between “knowing what is necessary” and “doing what is necessary” to continue to grow or even exist in the 21st century. Some companies change the technology, and the business model, while others simply continue to do what they have done without taking control of their destiny in the new digital world.
But companies are nothing without people, at least for the time being. That’s why we need to ask ourselves how do we put together the relevant technology, processes and skills to bring the HR function to the digital era?
In companies with an advanced HR function, the path to transformation means talent management programs, systematic involvement in growing the employer brand inside and outside the company, innovative recruitment campaigns, mentorship programs, coaching, and succession to functions key development of future leaders. In the other, the lack of a strategic approach to make a proactive HR function transformation, as well as the lack of transformational process becomes increasingly risky, especially as technological developments continue to redefine markets, business models, the labor force and customer service.
The results of Valoria’s study “Trends and challenges in HR” show that in the Romanian companies, the top management and HR directors have a very different perspective regarding the most important strategic challenges for the HR function.
Strategic priorities on the HR Director’s agenda
On the CEOs’ agenda, priority is given to the following aspects: creating and maintaining a learning environment that responds rapidly to the development needs of employees (4,68 of maximum 5), retaining high-potential employees (4,53), and assuring leadership skills (4,46). The agenda of the HR directors comprises the following aspects: retention of high potential employees (4,72), ensuring leadership skills (4,63) and employee involvement (4,53).
The HR directors say they are best prepared to meet the challenges that are ranked fourth and eight by importance – a significant indicator of the lack of correlation between the importance and the readiness factor. Moreover, even the priority in the first place – the retention of high-potential employees – is only fifth in terms of company’s readiness. The result of this misalignment is disastrous for companies and requires the immediate attention of the top management and HR leaders.
Challenges to the HR practices
With regard to the greatest challenges in HR practices, the perspective of HR directors and CEOs largely coincides. Thus, the first place is finding employees with more and more specialized skills for the company (22% HR directors vs. 23% CEOs), followed by the employees retention (16% HR directors vs. 20% CEOs) and the development of the next generation company leaders (15% HR directors vs. 13% CEOs).
At the level of essential resources available to respond successfully to HR challenges, the CEOs include the following: strong HR management support for HR (4,39), solid HR staff skills in the HR team (4,30) and the efficient use of HR technology (4,15). The top 3 of the HR directors comprises the following: the solid HR skills of staff in the HR team (4.30), the transparent collaboration between HR and top management for strategy alignment (4.27), and solid HR support for the HR (4,10).
Effective recruitment, retention and rewarding of employees
From the point of view of general managers, the most effective practices in attracting, retaining and rewarding the best employees are the following: ensuring job security (score 4.56), ensuring the financial stability of the company (4.56) and structuring the requirements of each job so to provide a sense of purpose for the employee (4,45). The top 3 of the HR directors is different and comprises the following: structuring the requirements of each job so to provide a sense of purpose for the employee (4,35), ensuring the financial stability of the company (4,33) and creating opportunities for career progression (4,31).
Actions to transform the HR function into the digital age
The CEOs say the HR function will have a more strategic dimension in the digital age if: HR employees have better business knowledge (score 4.65), management will be involved in HR strategy development (4.50) and then would also be involved in its implementation (4,43). For HR executives, the actions that would make this function more strategic are the following: involving top management in HR strategy development (4.25), ensuring a better business knowledge in the HR team (4.25), and ensuring a more intense leadership engagement for the implementation of the HR strategy (4.25).
It is clear, therefore, from the results of the survey carried out by the consulting and training company Valoria, why the role of the HR director is essential in the digital age. A new mentality at the HR team level is required, including of its leader. The HE director should understand that it is important to accelerate the pace of change of the HR function in the digital age because it dramatically rewrites the chances for future success of the company.