What Values Do We See in the Workplace?
Not that employee loyalty has gone entirely, but modern fast paced society has led to a market where there is increased automation and depersonalisation. People tend stay for short term contracts rather than being full time employees (although employee roles are still being filled), or jobs are outsourced. Working in the fast lane appears to be here to stay. This said, according to Tammy Erickson in her Harvard Business Review Blog, the concept of loyalty has been replaced with trust, and this is a far more complex value to manage. As a consequence of this, Human Resources (HR) is more important than ever, but it will need to go hand in hand with ensuring that employees understand what their roles are, and feel valued for their contribution. If the organisation’s HR department or HR consultants don’t ensure that there are systems to support this proposition, the trust value will not be responded to.
Added to the above complex issue is the fact that in Australia we are seeing a major change in our workforce, due to two major sectors changing, namely the Baby Boomers and Y-Gen. The economic downturn following the global financial crisis means that although we have Baby Boomers leaving the market in high numbers, there are many that stay as generally their dreams of retirement have been squashed when their superannuation fund values were dramatically reduced. The Y-Gen obviously varies significantly from the Baby Boomers, and employers have to navigate through these very different groups and needs.
Both to some extent are also pushing for work-life balance, which requires employers to respond with flexible hours, better leave packages, and alternative work options such as telecommuting and working from home.
What is the Australian Workplace HR Consultants' View?
It appears that the concept and views of fostering trust to grow loyalty and creating greater working flexibility is supported in Australia by a number of leading HR consulting firms. What this means, is that if systems are put in place to ensure that employees hear about what they do well, turnover will be significantly reduced. This is also complimented by better and more flexible working arrangements. So good HR systems and practices will add value and save significant dollars, as well as value lost to re-hiring, re-training, lost knowledge and re-establishment of employees.
Technology also has to be considered, as we have seen tremendous development in this area with networks such as Linked-in, Facebook, Twitter and others. These need to be accepted and integrated into the norm of HR management, and in some aspects could also be capitalised on.
Human Resources Services / Human Resources Consultants
There has been steady growth in this sector, with some statistics quoting a business value above $20b as a global industry. The nature of HR consulting business is that there are overlaps with other consulting industries, but the core fields of practice of Human Resources services include:
- Performance Management
- Redundancy Services
- Training and Development
- Organisational Development
- Coaching and Leadership Training / Mentoring
- Remuneration Planning
- Succession Planning
Getting the Best Human Resources Support You Need
Human Resource planning is the key, but only delivers benefits where there is a good team supplying the change and systems necessary. The best consulting firms tend to maintain web portals and websites with relevant and up to date information on their activities, achievements and the relevant marketplaces. It is a good idea to get proposals and to meet with the key personnel who will actually deliver the services they propose. Getting the right professional for the particular component is important. Across Australia there are numerous professional companies, but these should complement your in-house resources. The expert Human Resources service providers / Human Resources consultants are skilled enough to interrogate your organisation’s needs to determine the right solutions to deliver improved practices and efficiencies. However, the company or business owner should always manage the risk of ensuring that the programs they implement will deliver benefit. This requires that they make the commitment to make resources and time available for the process of assessment, review, implementation and then ongoing review. The selection of the right professionals is a significant issue and is key to the business success.