Will HR leaders challenge the status quo to manage our new reality?

Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Will HR leaders challenge the status quo to manage our new reality?

Everything’s changed. If you’re in HR, it’s about to change all over again. Restarting the economy propels us into a new normal nothing like the one we left behind. If you’re recruiting or retaining talent in this environment, that newness brings questions like: how can we manage a new wave of change when we’re still navigating the last one?

Ronny Aoun

Right now, I’m drawing real inspiration from HR leaders and business owners we work with who are putting people safety first with one eye to future needs. What am I picking up about the best ways to handle change? It’s time to let go of outdated myths, including:

‘It’s always been that way’: Recruiting and retaining great Canadian talent in a market that juxtaposes massive job losses with a hiring uptick in certain sectors is different. Doing it well means being willing to recruit and retain differently, too. Early on in 2020, experts pegged embracing the “employee as customer mindset” as mission critical. Now’s the time to recommit to that philosophy. Employee experiences begin with recruitment. What they see here is a good indicator of what they’ll get once onboarded. Mercer tells us that thriving employees are four times more likely to work for an organization that enables quick-decision making. We’ve seen that in action over the last few months as companies work overtime to adapt. And there’s a grain of possibility for recruiters in there, too. Knowing what your recruitment process said about you before, and what it’ll say for you in this new world, can set you apart in what’s going to be a complex hiring market. Will your recruitment process power your potential, or limit it?

‘We can’t try new things when everything already feels new’: We can’t afford not to try new things now. I’m amazed when I talk to HR teams who worry there’s too much disruption to pilot new approaches. Make no mistake: the way you manage change and engage your people in the process will determine its ultimate success. Even so, if giants like Apple and Google are tackling contract tracing technology through unprecedented partnerships – who’s to say the rest of us can’t try something new, too? Automation – including artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics – is just one example. Research shows 73% of us think technology can never replace the human mind. I’d probably agree. But, imagine what humans can do when paired with better technology? Some estimate as many as 60% of occupations have at least 30% constituent work activities that could be automated. If something felt cumbersome before or during the crisis, smooth that out with the right fixes. Even if that means automating a new area of your business. Doing so can free your talent team up to focus at best and highest use – fostering their own employee experience in ways that drive retention. If you can engage talent better by automating the right processes, why wait?

‘We don’t need more technology’: Less tech can be more if you’ve got the right tools. Dramatic change now occurs overnight. Are the HR tools you’re using for candidate recruitment, processing, vetting, and onboarding up to that gargantuan task? In 2019, 53% of Canadian HR leads said they were planning to invest more in automation this year. Another survey of global HR leaders, hiring managers and employees showed the number of workers already using some form of AI at work climbed from 32% in 2018 to 50% in 2019. Working backwards from the problem you’re trying to solve may very well prove: it’s not the number of tech platforms that make a difference, but what they’re capable of. Do you have the right tools in place to bridge from this wave of change to the next?

Talent leaders willing to let go of old ways, challenge the status quo, and embrace the power of the right tech platforms can make a real mark in HR effectiveness and employee experience. That’s a rallying cry I can get behind. How about you?

Share this article on