Employee Empowerment: A Business-Critical Requirement

“The modern working environment has extra pressures that were not foreseen even just 10 years ago.  We have a multi-generational employment landscape which creates its own tensions between groups of people who have different needs and expectations.  The ubiquity of technology and ever-improving Wi-Fi means that people can work from anywhere.  Not just between home or the office, but between countries and in different time zones. ”

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Andy Davies, Vice President of APAC, People First

I entered the workforce nearly 30 years ago.  To apply for holiday, I needed to complete a form, hand it to my manager who after a few days, would sign it and post it to HR.  Eventually, this would be stored on my central record.  To keep track of that holiday, we needed to write it on a paper calendar on the wall.  If I wanted to change it, we would go through the whole process again.  There is no empowerment in this experience and certainly no thought about transparency, effective processes or appropriate use of time.

Time and technology have both moved on.  Deloitte recently published the 4 phases of HR; personnel department, operational HR, integrated talent management and business driven HR.  My reflection of my first experience of HR was at the most basic phase of the personnel department.  Some businesses have moved to the operational HR phase and now celebrate self-service whereby employees can request, amend and review their holiday requests through a HRMS.  Yet this is still not enough.

The modern working environment has extra pressures that were not foreseen even just 10 years ago.  We have a multi-generational employment landscape which creates its own tensions between groups of people who have different needs and expectations.  The ubiquity of technology and ever-improving Wi-Fi means that people can work from anywhere.  Not just between home or the office, but between countries and in different time zones.  People want their manager to be that initial point of contact and not a corporate HR manager that they have not met.  Relationships are more important than ever before as these relationships are the bedrock of people being productive whilst working remotely. 

Today's newcomers to employment have a different set of expectations.  They have grown up in an environment where everything is at their fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  They have the same expectation of work and access to the basic policies that they are expected to adhere to.  Generation Z are also expecting autonomy and free-flowing communication.  Both expectations are probably at the extremes of where their parents and grandparents entered the workforce.  They probably expected more of a command and control environment and to be told what they needed to know and no more.  This causes problems if our own approaches and technology does not support these ways of working.

If we can't support the new expectation of our workforce, we will quickly start to see an increasing turnover rate.  There are many assessments of the cost of turnover within a business.  SHRM identified that turnover costs between 6-9 months of salary whilst a replacement is hire, trained and becomes effective.  Deloitte looked at the loss of productivity of an employee and estimated this to be around US$121,000 per person.  As a business leader, you should be aware of the costs of turnover in your business.  However, everyone should realise there is a tipping point that turnover becomes a business problem.  The Economist believes that turnover above 20% is where the business is negatively affected by the loss of corporate knowledge and the effort required to train new people.  What is your turnover rate?

So, what can HR do to support a new wave of employees?  We need to provide an environment which addresses the basic expectations of our people.  A modern HRMS should provide people with the ability to own their own data. This means they can manage their absence and change their address or phones numbers (and all other personal data) at a time that suits them.  A HRMS that is available 24/7, that is not subject to restrictions of location or a need to be on the business network.  In short, an app that everyone can have on their personal or work mobile phone.  At the same time, we should provide access to career pathways within the HRMS and empower people to convene a check-in when they believe they need a check-in.  Nobody should have to ask for details about availability of jobs within the company or have to complete a complex process to embark on a discussion with their manager.

People First can provide a modern, cloud-based HRMS, that is accessible 24/7 and provides a platform to deliver the expectations of our future workforce.  Click here for 2 minute video on how People First can help your business

andy_davies_blog As an expert in human resources, and a member of both the SHRI and CIPD, Andy Davies is responsible for developing the People First partners in APAC to ensure first-class delivery of services to People First customers.   Andy is a HR professional, consultant and facilitator who has operated as a HR leader in many organisations throughout the globe.  Andy has provided expert employment law advice on restructures, disciplinary cases, grievances and recruitment issues.  His expertise also includes designing many successful strategies and systems for Reward, Leadership Development, Performance Management and HR Workshops.  Since 2016, Andy has worked with the People First team and has developed the implementation methodology for People First which is used across EMEA, US and APAC. Passionate about the future of HR, employee engagement and performance management, Andy often writes and offers best practice advice on the need for archaic HR practices to evolve for organisations to stay relevant within the ever-changing world of work. Andy holds an MSc in Human Resource Management, an MBA and a is a Member of the Institute of Consultants. LinkedIn

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