3 ways HR can create a business-boosting impact on people’s careers
The HR department is the closest thing that any organization has to an omnipresent being.
Tasked with managing recruitment, onboarding, career development, strategic workforce planning, and employee performance and well-being, this function hears and sees all. As such, HR understands the business and its people far better than most.
Of course, being all-knowing comes with a great deal of power and responsibility.
In this article, we outline how HR teams can create a meaningful impact on people’s careers, alongside the benefits this promises to a company’s bottom line.
3 ways HR can create an impact on employee experience (and the bottom line)
1. Create a positive workplace culture
HR teams have the means to shape company culture and make the workplace better for everyone. They can identify what’s working and what’s not, set new standards to drive workplace harmony, and promote positive and inclusive behavior.
Why does it matter?
In general, employees perform far better when they feel supported, safe, healthy, and empowered.
In its State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, Gallup revealed that workplace stress is at an all-time high, with just 33% of people thriving in their overall wellbeing. Overworked and underappreciated employees are more likely to be stressed, frustrated, and exhausted, which can lead to a loss of motivation and productivity, instances of burnout, and increased absenteeism.
Feeling respected and valued is also important. In 2015, for example, Google determined psychological safety - whereby employees feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other - to be the most important dynamic in high-performing teams. People learn, contribute, and deliver more when they can actively participate in the workplace without fear of judgment or reproach. In fact, employees who work in a high-trust environment experience 74% less stress.
Establishing and maintaining a positive and progressive workplace culture is particularly important when it comes to supporting and uplifting employees from marginalized communities. The latest data reveals that 61% of employees in the U.S. have experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination, be it in the form of harassment, bullying, denied opportunities, or exclusion.
The Gallup Center on Black Voices found that around one in four Black and Hispanic employees have been discriminated against at work. Another report found that 46% of LGBTQ+ people have received unfair treatment at some point in their careers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
To foster a truly equitable working environment, HR departments must ensure employees of all ages, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, religions, social-economic, backgrounds, and abilities are respected, included, and heard.
What to do?
To drive a positive and inclusive workplace culture, try the following:
- Promote a healthy work-life balance - Employees should be encouraged to work reasonable hours, switch off at the weekends, take their paid annual leave, and ask for support when they need it. Critically, HR teams, business leaders, and managers should lead by example.
- Facilitate flexible working - It’s much easier for employees to balance their work and home lives when they have the option to work remotely or choose flexible working hours.
- Educate the workforce - All employees should receive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training, as well as unconscious bias training.
- Implement inclusive recruitment processes - Recruitment methods like job auditions, anonymous resume screening, and skills assessments will reduce instances of unconscious bias throughout the hiring process and ensure the best people are hired for the job. As a result, marginalized communities will be better represented in the workforce and afforded more opportunities to excel.
How does a positive work culture impact your organization’s bottom line?
Happy employees are more engaged and less stressed. Not only does that mean they’ll do better work, but they’ll also stick around for longer. Important, when replacing a full-time employee typically costs between six to nine months of their average salary.
The business case for diversity and inclusion is also pretty compelling. A 2019 analysis by McKinsey, for example, found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
Prioritizing DE&I will also help organizations attract and retain top talent. According to Deloitte research, 47% of millennials actively look for diversity and inclusion when sizing up potential employers.
2. Uncover hidden and untapped talents
Many organizations hold a treasure trove of untapped talent, and the task of unearthing it falls largely to HR departments.
Why does it matter?
Let’s start with the fact that, according to the Udemy Workplace Boredom Study, as many as 43% of people are bored at work.
Workplace boredom is caused by a variety of factors. For example, employees may feel bored if they are consistently assigned repetitive or tedious tasks. Some are not well suited to their current role or have simply outgrown their existing responsibilities. Others feel as though their work is not meaningful or impactful, and lose all motivation as a result. This is evidenced by the fact that 70% of employees say that their sense of purpose is defined by their work and 60% feel that being able to do what they do best in their job is very important.
Whichever way you cut it, bored or unmotivated employees will struggle to reach their full potential. HR departments can look to redress this by uncovering their hidden talents.
What to do?
To uncover hidden or untapped talents within an organization, try the following:
- Establish mentorship programs - Mentorship programs provide opportunities for employees to expand their professional network and set attainable career goals.
- Conduct skills assessments - Skills assessments are of equal value to employer and employee, serving to highlight untapped worker potential and inform strategic business decisions. An employee who is being underutilized, for example, could be given different - or additional - responsibilities, moved to a different function, or enrolled in a leadership program.
- Listen to employees - Performance reviews or employee satisfaction surveys are more formalized methods of gathering information about an employee’s state of mind and long-term career goals. But simply asking people what they are passionate about can prove just as informative.
- Monitor key performance metrics - Certain metrics, for example “time since last promotion” will indicate quickly an employee’s career is progressing. An employee who has seen little change in compensation and scope for some time may be stagnating in their role.
How will uncovering hidden talents impact your organization’s bottom line?
Now, more than ever, employees wish to feel valued, purposeful, and motivated.
In November 2021, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. voluntarily left their jobs in a phenomenon that came to be known as the Great Resignation. The reasons behind this mass workforce exodus were many and varied, but it did make one thing crystal clear; workers will not settle for a job they find tedious or meaningless. Organizations that are eager to keep attrition rates under control must invest heavily in their people.
When a workforce’s skills are properly utilized, organizations can also address skills and talent shortages, drive productivity, and achieve competitive advantage via increased innovation. Given that 74% of organizations froze hiring in the wake of COVID-19, it’s especially important that existing talent is put to good use and opportunities for internal promotion are seized.
3. Facilitate growth
Employees increasingly depend on their HR departments to facilitate and support consistent career growth. This is achieved by identifying trainings and opportunities, mobilizing the workforce, and expanding skills.
Why does it matter?
Today’s world is volatile and unpredictable, to say the least. A global pandemic, natural disasters, geo-political unrest, rapidly evolving customer demands, and unprecedented technological advancements necessitate agile and adaptable business models.
And so employees cannot hope to remain relevant, valued, and secure in their roles if career growth is not a top priority. That means replacing obsolete skills with the skills of tomorrow, adopting a mindset of continuous learning, completing new qualifications, and willingly embracing change.
HR departments are aware of this too, and increasingly eager to future-proof their workforce. Indeed, research from Gartner, conducted in 2021, found that 58% of the workforce will need new skill sets to do their jobs successfully.
What to do?
To facilitate career growth, try the following:
- Conduct skills assessments - As already discussed, skills assessments are a useful tool for unearthing untapped talent. But driving growth also requires a deep knowledge of existing skill sets, enabling skills mapping, strategic workforce planning, and career pathing.
- Career pathing - This is the process by which organizations align opportunities for career growth with their talent priorities - a win-win for everyone. Career pathing is often informed by skills assessments, but it’s also important to speak to employees about their interests and long-term career goals.
- Support business leaders and managers with performance monitoring - Formalizing the process of performance monitoring means underperforming employees are quickly identified and KPIs are properly tracked. With this knowledge, it’s easier to resolve problems, set attainable targets, and support longer-term career growth.
- Invest in courses and qualifications - While there are several things that organizations can do internally to drive career growth, this should not be seen as a replacement for more widely recognized qualifications and courses. External learning and development opportunities can be expensive, but so long as the right people are enrolled in the right programs, the investment will pay off.
How will facilitating growth impact your organization’s bottom line?
Organizations that fail to support their employees’ career growth will see increased attrition rates. In a 2022 McKinsey survey, for example, 40% of respondents said they were unhappy with their jobs and looking for new opportunities.
Further, skills gaps will widen, innovation will suffer, and the organization may lose competitive advantage. The shift to remote working, which has made it more difficult for people to learn from their peers and managers or attend training events, has only served to widen the skills gap. Organizations must put measures in place to mitigate further impact.
Workplace collaboration tools are a category of software solutions that allow companies and individuals to communicate better and work together. Collaboration tools encompass project management software, video conferencing platforms, messaging apps, file sharing and more.
Integrating your collaboration tools with a talent management solution like 365Talents streamlines the talent experience and process by bringing it directly into the communication and collaboration platform that employees are already using.
For employees, integration means they can receive new suggestions for skills, experiences or training to enhance their profiles directly through their communication app, eliminating the need to log into multiple solutions to keep their profiles up to date.
For HR and managers, integration can ensure effective communication with their employees, as notifications are delivered instantly to suggest new skills. Additionally, they can ensure that employees are engaged in completing their 365Talents profiles and participating in the training or job opportunities suggested by HR or managers.
365Talents integrates with Microsoft Teams, Slack and Workzone, among other popular collaboration solutions.
Uncover more HR insights
Defining a more meaningful mobility for a new world of work
Mobility is the key to helping you meet the needs of both your company and your employees. But what does mobility mean in the modern, people-centered world of work?
A green skills guide to the sustainability transformation
Climate change is reshaping the world of work and many companies are greenifying jobs and developing green skills to prepare for their next transformation. Here's how to get started.