In her excellent article “Consumerization of HR: 10 trends companies will follow in 2016” Jeanne Meister captured all the trends she describes under the label “Consumerisation”. People are more and more expecting an experience at work that is comparable to the experience they have at home. Netflix knows their movie taste and makes good recommendations. With the help of Tinder they are able to find new partners, and all their devices at home are connected through the internet. What most people experience at the workplace is still far from ideal. The percentage of people who are not very happy at work is still remarkable high. Where is the algorithm that has suggestions for new opportunities? (“You like these type of assignments, you might also like …..”). The “Employee Experience” is very much related to this trend. The organisations that consciously design a positive employee experience, for the complete life cycle of an employee, are still scarce.
2. Performance Consulting
Redesigning the performance management cycle was high on the agenda of many organisations in 2016. Earlier we made a plea (“HR: don’t kill performance measurement!“) not to stop with performance measurement. It is positive that we get rid of the traditional paternalistic process, where a boss who had limited observations has to give feedback to her employees. It is positive that we are getting rid of labelling people with performance ratings (“You are a 3.5…”). 2017 can be the year with more focus on performance consulting: how can we help good people to become better, by providing very concrete feedback and very concrete suggestions on how to improve performance. Most people want to improve their performance, and frequent relevant feedback from various sources is an important element of performance improvement.
3. From individuals to teams to networks of teams
In their article “Organizational Design: the rise of teams” McDowell et. al. describe how new shapes of organisations are emerging. From static hierarchical organisations to networks of teams that are able to adapt to the continuously changing environment. Traditionally the focus of HR has been on individuals. Many of todays HR practices (as recruitment and performance management) take the individual employee as the starting point. The view of HR is also often limited to the people on the payroll of an organisation, with less or no focus on people and teams who are important for the organisation but not on the payroll. The focus of HR is slowly shifting, from individuals to teams. Looking at networks of teams and how to improve the way teams are working together still gets less attention.
4. Man Machine collaboration
The notion that it is less about man (woman) versus machine than about how men and women can benefit from machines is slowly gaining ground. Dirk Jonker of Crunchr told me about a recent experiment in the area of succession management. The MD officers of a multinational were asked to take a pile of cv’s of employees and rate them to what extend they were considered to be candidates for certain positions (1=highly unlikely, 5=highly likely). The results were fed into the computer. The next step: the computer was asked to look into the HR information system, and suggest candidates that were not in the initial pile, but were comparable to the profiles of the people with high ratings. MD Officers and machine working together to create a richer succession bench. It is still early days, but the signs are there that artificial intelligence will enable HR to increase their impact in various areas.