In the era of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (shortly VUCA), organizations face challenges like never before. But do not be afraid, because the VUCA world is full of opportunities. Human Resources (HR) may well hold the keys to unlocking boundless opportunities and becoming the superheroes of this dynamic landscape. I bet the role of HR or people and culture, if you prefer, is increasing as we speak and will be one of the most important competitive attributes of a company in the near future if not already now. This does not happen by itself though. HR must up its game!
It all starts with futuristic thinking
In this wild and ever-changing world, HR professionals must embrace their inner visionaries. HR should lead the way in adapting new approaches and new tools. It is not about surviving, because the old world is not coming back. You run out of steam and time eventually. So better to develop a future-focused mindset and leap from reactive to proactive by anticipating trends, unveiling disruptions, and adapting HR strategies ahead of time. By being the avant-garde scouts of your organization, you’ll capture those golden opportunities that will catapult your business to new heights. I would even go as far as reconsidering the leadership model in use. I’m not saying that everybody should drive for holocratic, structureless organizations, but the rationale to have old fashion silos must be questioned.
To start, unleash your agile talents
The VUCA jungle demands flexibility and adaptability like never before. HR has to cultivate an environment of perpetual growth, where upskilling and reskilling initiatives flourish. This helps to shape a culture of learning and to unleash the full potential of your workforce. With supercharged talents, you’ll conquer the shifting terrains of the VUCA world. The opposite does not sound very good, does it? So creating a landscape for continuous L&D and unfastening people to their roles and functions seems a no-brainer. Not so easy to execute, I know, but it is probably the only way to make sure you meet your colleagues in the organization in the future.
Embrace the tech revolution
HR tech is evolving very fast. Yesterday we had news about an automated process in job agreement management and salary payments. Today we have AI-powered mentors and custom-made learning courses. HR professionals must be fearless champions of digital transformation. Automation, data analytics, and AI-driven tools should be in your pipeline. The administrative tasks must be left behind, there is no value in doing something almost as good as a machine does it. So, HR must add value where humans can and I think HR people can add value in talent acquisition, performance management, and employee engagement. But make sure that the technology is your ally, you’ll soar above the competition and make a lasting impact.
Ignite the innovation
In the VUCA jungle, innovation is a secret weapon! In HR, the task is to create an atmosphere of collaboration, where diverse minds converge to generate groundbreaking ideas. Celebrate risk-taking and reward those courageous enough to challenge the status quo. Any organization with innovation as its guiding star will outshine its rivals and pave the way for extraordinary success. As the technology is new, the innovation drivers and roots are not. You may want to go back and think about how the Japanese moto, auto, and electronic giants became giants. The Western world knows little about Honda motorcycles and Toyota vehicles in 1940. It is the discipline and involving all employees in the continuous improvement process that produced success. So ask how your employees contribute their ideas to the company’s success on daily bases. Take the Japanese kaizen and apply modern tools.
Change requires transformation and clarity
Change is the heartbeat of progress. But the nature and the pace of the change may differ from team to team, from one location to another. There might be even different changes and different drivers. But you must remember that you serve the same owner. Crystal clarity of communication is required. Less is more does not really apply here, though be aware of messy messages. HR teams can extend their helping hand of support, and equip teams with the know-how needed to navigate uncertainty. Once again, HR has to step up and take the leading role. It is not about communicating a message, it is all about making it a better place to work. That’s what makes people excel.
Agility is your superpower
In the VUCA jungle, agility is the golden ticket to success. You have to break free from the shackles of rigid processes and embrace agile methodologies. Embrace rapid adaptation, iterate on feedback, and continuously improve your HR practices. You can not even imagine how often I have to hold myself back when HR leaders say they can not implement another tool or process as they have currently a lot of recruitments or internal training ongoing. Now this sounds just like a resignation letter to an ambitious and modern boss. You must be able to renew processes, execute training and drive digitalization continuously in parallel to day-to-day tasks. Data also becomes very important. The ability to mind data and read data should not be neglected. A winning team requires an agile-minded and capable HR function.
Craft the employer brand that strikes
In this thrilling talent market, HR professionals hold the key to crafting an unforgettable employer brand. HR has to paint a vibrant picture of the organization’s values, purpose, and commitment to employee well-being. But remember, one size does not fit all. Your HQ CFO has other things in mind than the production line worker in a manufacturing unit 1000 miles away. So make sure the branding is relevant to the people who make or break your success. Empty slogans are discussed in social media at best if they are funny. Usually, people get just annoyed by reading employer branding messages that fail to meet reality. And remember, the reality is in the eyes of the beholder. So make sure you support the headliner with specific and relevant messages depending on the audience you are talking to. Saying that, one is sure, you have to showcase your dedication to making a positive impact on the world. Recruit the values, live the values!
To sum it up, today’s HR function is not about hiring people and administering salary payments. Modern HR drives the company. It still is all about the people, but people prefer organizations that use modern tools, are leading the change, and can go from one transformation to another with improved strength and resilience. Soft values matter a lot and technology can take the function to new heights. Get on top of your data and just go for it!
Martin Rajasalu, CEO of Moticheck