4 Ways HR Must Adapt to a Changing Workplace

June 29, 2016 Zuman

The workplace is shifting in massive ways, perhaps most prominently with the introduction of and growing reliance on digital technologies, and a massive shift in what the workforce looks like. Human resource departments must adapt or risk falling behind.
In fact, recent research from Gartner estimated that by 2017, 25 percent of companies will lose market value due to a failure to integrate digital technologies and adjust to employees' changing work styles.
How can HR leaders adapt to the changing workplace and contribute to the overall success of employees and their company?

1. Take advantage of big data

HR leaders consider data analytics a necessary tool for finding success. By engaging with software and other technologies like a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) designed to collect, manage and transform the wealth of data circulating throughout a company into actionable analysis, HR will be better equipped to design efficient and effective employee training programs as well as measure outcomes, among other items. And there's no better time than now to jump onboard - a Towers Watson survey found HR data and analytics to be one of the top three areas of spending for HR.

2. Improve onboarding processes

In 2015, millennials surpassed Gen Xers and baby boomers to become the largest generation in the workforce, Pew Research reported. With this in mind, HR is finding it imperative to identify ways to revamp traditional onboarding processes to appeal to this new generation of workers. Specifically, treating this training period as an extension of recruitment will help millennials experience different parts of the organization, understand the possibilities for advancement (ideally, swift advancement), and learn about their immediate responsibilities. Also, effective onboarding processes have a planned ending - be it a prize, practice scenario or an "exit" interview in which they can give feedback. Don't let initial training fizzle out.

3.   Leverage generational and institutional knowledge

Much has been rightly made about the effect of the millennial generation in the workplace. However, older generations, from baby boomers to Gen Xers, represent a vault of institutional knowledge critical to the ongoing success of the workplace. These experienced employees are vital to mentorship programs as well as retaining critical customer relationships. Another way major companies are attempting to keep these seasoned workers in the office longer is by offering them more flexible schedules. The New York Times explained how tire company Michelin helps workers transition from 50- to 60-hour workweek schedules to part-time positions, preventing the immediate loss of talent and knowledge.

4.   Fostering social collaboration

The driving force behind the adoption of social collaboration platforms: millennials. One of the key characteristics of this group of workers is a desire to work as a team and to work when and where they want. Social collaboration solutions support telecommuting by storing important company documents, messages and even blog posts in one spot, while also making sure employees are never left out of the loop when it comes to commenting, meetings and other interactions, wrote HR.com.

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