In terms of tomorrow’s talent, HR leaders will find the most profiles and will be the most competitive for people with HR skills. Yes, I am biased as I think I have the best job in the world, and because it’s always easy to see how you create value versus how others create value. Ask a marketer what will be the most sought-after talent in the near future and they will give you the same spill. We all use the same logic as to why we need different skill sets – and that is why we need diversity of skills to build a successful company.
Even considering my bias, there is no denying what we are currently experiencing in the HR industry. There are job offers from the left, from the right – from every corner of you. Our profession has never seen anything like this. HR and People managers were no more important than today’s turbulent times where people are looking for a clear and compelling purpose from their future employers.
The big question then is not whose role or skills are more important, but does the future need to work for all of us?
Today, companies want to create their products for their customers or more precisely, their customers want a personalized experience. It doesn’t matter if your customers are buying a new car that allows them to manually adjust the colors of the user interface to their car’s entertainment system, or if they log in to their TikTok account and get a decent experience. Whatever the product, or whoever the customer is, they expect personalization.
For many of us already working as an HR leader it may not be a top-minded demand, but the generation entering the job market today knows nothing more. Most of their experience with brands is tailored to them and their interests. And their work environment and employer have the same expectations – the experience of a personalized employee.
Having a strong EVP is not enough for a company to help their (future) employees understand what they have to offer and why they should be the employer of their choice. Experience needs to be more grainy, it needs to be specific to each person. We’re already talking about situation-based leadership as a need to harness people’s needs, and now we need to raise the level to provide a personalized employee experience that allows our people to do their best.
At Spotify we solve this in a few ways. First of all, our program from anywhere allows our people to work from a location and in an environment that allows them to be the best they can be. The key is cooperation between those who meet in person in the office and those who actually meet. We provide well-organized tools and develop ways to personalize the information presented to our employees – a great example of this is Disco. Or look at it this way: If an employee is reading an article about parental leave in our handbook, we should give them the opportunity to apply for parental leave in the same place. And when they apply for parental leave, we need to let the manager know how to order baby swag and find a contractor or start the hiring process to find parental leave cover. This simplifies access to information and automates connecting points as much as possible to remove space for human error and enhance staff experience. It instead provides HR with what is needed in a timely manner which also helps to speed up the organization. This is more important than ever with a well-distributed workforce in a highly competitive market.
There is also a need to personalize office experience. Some people need calm, some people need social communication and some people need wall covering whiteboards. Most of them need a variety and it needs to be available at the right time. At the same time they need to feel comfortable and “at home”.
We don’t believe in blanket flexibility – where the whole office can be changed in the same way. It seems smart and cost-effective at first glance, because you can adapt to the workplace and not have to invest too much in rebuilding and adding more space. However, organizations should provide special flexibility instead, where each team can work with office designers on any flexibility elements of their particular team. It may be more expensive on paper in the beginning but in the long run you and your employees will get rewards. Investing in space and equipment is an investment in people and their productivity. For example, if HR can design their own space based on their needs, the whole team will be more successful. Virtual training may require HR’s high-tech conference room, much smaller rooms for confidential 1: 1 seconds. IT needs to be in the same position all the time so that people in need of IT support know where to find them. The engineering team needs plenty of space for white boards and pair programming.
You can read more about how to design this type of workplace in Sonia’s post on dynamic workplaces.
All and all – change unwavering – the new generation entering the workforce has high expectations of personal experience and the uncertainty around us is growing. HR is there to help guide your company and play a more business critical role in future companies.
At HR, we have the best work so far.