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5 Ways HR Managers and Executives Can Drive Organizational Redesign

Matt Krumrie

Career Advice Columnist

If there is one thing that HR and business executives can agree on, it's that the "traditional workplace" needs a major redesign. The Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report—which included a survey of more than 7,000 human resources and business leaders from 130 countries­—found that 92 percent of respondents identified redesigning the organization as the number one HR priority in 2016.

What's driving the nearly unanimous desire for change? The prevalence of disruptive technology and the growth of the "gig economy" have changed the nature of the employer-employee relationship, and survey respondents cited nearly three years of struggling to engage and retain employees, improve leadership and build meaningful relationships as the impetus for redesigning.

In the midst of this rapid change, the report names "Chief Employee Experience Officers" (HR representatives) and business executives as key to putting redesign into action. Here, five ways HR pros and executives can work together to be the driving force behind the organizational redesign they need.

1) Utilize People Analytics

Analytics that measure business results in sales or marketing are a key aspect of organizations large and small, but what about HR? By utilizing "people analytics," you can figure out what factors influence people to accept an offer, perform well and stay with an organization. You can also determine who will likely be successful, who will make the best leaders, how to train people to provide the highest-quality customer service and innovation, and more.

This year, the percentage of companies that believe they are fully capable of developing predictive analytics models doubled, from four percent in 2015 to eight percent in 2016. We expect to see that number continue to rise with analytics technology now embedded in most talent management systems, engagement tools, text and semantic analysis tools, and recruitment and learning platforms. Analytics capabilities will be a fundamental requirement for the effective HR business partner.

2) Put Culture Front and Center

Culture can determine success or failure during times of change. Mergers, acquisitions, corporate growth and product cycles can either succeed or fail depending on the alignment of culture with the business' direction. In fact, 82 percent of survey respondents believe that "culture is a potential competitive advantage."

More surprising, though, is that only 28 percent of survey respondents believe they understand their culture well, and only 19 percent believe they have the "right culture." To avoid this confusion, CEOs and C-suite executives should invest in defining their companies' cultural values and ensuring their own behavior reinforces the desired company culture. From there, HR managers and CEOs can work together to put company values into action and communicate how they relate to the business strategy.

3) Implement Design Thinking

The role of HR is changing to include "shaping" the employee experience. By adopting design thinking, which puts the employee experience front and center, you can empower your teams to set their own goals and make their own decisions. Placing them in charge reverses the traditional structure of goal and performance management. According to the report, by replacing communication silos with shared information and operation centers, you can expect to generate higher levels of employee satisfaction, greater engagement and higher productivity for the company.

4) Consider the Millennial

Millennials need—and want—to work more closely with customers. Instead of traditional isolated departments, consider "operating as a network of teams alongside traditional structures, with people moving from team to team rather than remaining in static formal configurations." A shift to an interactive environment drives new organizational flexibility and encourages diverse teams among high-performing companies, according to the report.

5) Embrace the Gig Economy

Contingent, contract and part-time workers make up almost one-third of the current workforce, yet many companies lack the HR practices, culture or leadership support to manage them. A total of 51 percent of respondents expect to increase or significantly increase the use of contingent workers in the next three to five years. In addition, more than seven out of 10 executives and HR leaders (71 percent) ranked the trend as "important" or "very important" to success.

To integrate a gig economy workforce into your business model, your procurement, business and HR managers should work together to access and coordinate on-demand talent markets. Once you have a have a sense of the specific talent needs, HR can focus on acquiring and engaging each segment of employees with the overall plan in mind.

Photo: Creative Commons

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