Getting Uncomfortable in HR: Adapting to our Changing World

uncomfortable
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We hear it a lot: the world of work is changing. Often we hear it at the beginning of a big sweeping statement about how we need to become more ‘responsive’, more ‘agile’ and that because Google, Facebook and Snapchat are doing something new with their approach to employment then you should be too.

At first I thought this was another one of those ‘Death of HR’ things (google that phrase – you’ll have fun for hours) – but then after a bit more research, reading and interviews I realised that I’d been looking at it all wrong.

We shouldn’t just throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater because everyone else is ditching their performance reviews (or whatever everyone’s talking about at the moment) – we at least need to look into what they’re replacing it with, how they’re supporting their people in the change and does throwing the baby out work for us in our context? But when the research stacks up we do have to start thinking differently about how HR happens and what value we add as the people-people of the organisation.

I recently spoke to Michael Haywood, co-founder of LiveHire, about the changing world of work and how HR needs to adapt. It was really satisfying to speak to someone who, instead of waxing lyrical about an inevitable need to change (really? Of course we need to change and evolve, calling it out as a new trend is decidedly old) he focused on what has already changed, what changes are probable, and what the world of work, and HR, needs to think about to respond.

Michael and the team at LiveHire are part of a new wave of antipodeans taking on the world through innovative solutions to changes in the world of work, joining HROnboard, Atlassian and Culture Amp in global domination. Much like the globalisation of the workforce, HR solutions are going international too, proving that geographic location is in no way a barrier to the world of globalising HR.  As a New Zealander, it’s great to see colleagues in the USA be able to access some of our best and brightest (well… some of Australia’s best and brightest, but we’ll take some of the credit due to proximity,) as we’ve enjoyed HR solutions from the USA for years.

Globally our issues are similar – managers are worried about the next generation and how they ‘just don’t get it’ #socratessaiditfirst, we have increasingly diverse and contract-based workforces, and we’re all transitioning from wanting to do HR differently to needing to do it differently.

Social media & the internet are great playing field levellers: knowledge-based workers can now be in far more control of their destiny through identifying potential employers, being able to find the good, the bad and the ugly out about them online, before using user-centred platforms to register their interest and put the ball in the employer’s court.

HR practitioners in knowledge-based workplaces need to respond accordingly. It’s not just a matter of using a few new buzzwords, it’s getting comfortable with changing some of our fundamental assumptions born from the way we have operated in the past. And then, advocating for, and leading change within those organisations that are slower to adapt to make sure they don’t get left behind.

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