If, over the last 5 years, you had taken a few moments in any given January to search for upcoming HR Trends you’d have probably come away feeling as though the new ‘big ideas’ in people management are around reducing the gender pay gap and increasing board-level diversity, true flexible working, increased support with regards to mental health and the list goes on. So why are these things not improving year-on-year?
Take for example the gender pay gap. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take 202 years for men and women to achieve pay parity. For me this is both a ludicrously true and incredibly sad statistic.
As a HR professional, I am continually frustrated by the ever-increasing chasm between what we all want our work lives to be and the reality of 2020 workplaces.
However, I also feel truly privileged to be able to work with progressive organisations who want to make a difference.
Are we human resources or human beings?
I am passionate about progressive HR and I understand that flexibility and inclusion are of vital importance in creating mutual trust at work.
I am a big advocate of treating people like people; human beings rather than human resources.
The vision of a human resource is that it’s obedient, well-mannered and easy to control. Human beings are none of these things and yet many of our people management practices are designed to the contrary.
Human beings have busy and demanding home lives which we can’t easily compartmentalise from work.
Human beings all have unique emotions and ways of coping which don’t just shut off when we get to work.
But (and this is a massive but…) in my experience, the vast, vast majority of human beings all want to do well and all want our time at work to be valuable and worthwhile. We all want to be told that we’re doing well and we don’t mind if we’re given areas of improvement as long as it’s done in a compassionate way.
Proactive and positive talent management strategy
So how do we create this workplace nirvana?
Well, for me it’s pretty simple really…
I believe that the best way to treat people like people is to create Talent Management strategies that are reflective of the way we all want to work.
What if we design jobs to be achievable and flexible, create cultures that encourage open and honest dialogue and have an inclusive and transparent approach to progression and development.
That would be a good start, right?
Improving your bottom line
Anyone who has tried to recruit talent in the UK’s increasingly tight labour market will understand that doing what we’ve always done just doesn’t cut it any more. If we want our organisations to continue to grow then we need to recruit, retain and develop people effectively.
Talented individuals are looking to join organisations who acknowledge and positively accept that they have families, hobbies, side-hustles etc which all demand time but that those talented individuals still want to contribute at work and make a difference.
So, if you can offer an open and honest culture then you will stay one step ahead of competitors who are still recruiting human resources rather than human beings.
In addition, a Gallup study found that engaged employees tend to be more productive, innovative and committed to achieving business goals and companies with a high-engaged workforce are 21% more profitable. A true win-win situation.
So ‘treating people like people’ will be my only HR trend for 2020, 2021, 2022 and beyond because when you treat people like people then life is generally a whole lot better for us all.
Victoria Johnson (Green Jay Founder)