Biggest challenges for HR in 2014: The way ahead

In the current disruptive corporate environment, managing employees (some who you have no 100% control and are not loyal ) is crucial. These are what I think are the biggest 8 Eight) challenges for HR in the Year 2014. What is the situation in your Country? I will share here what I think is happening in the Public Sector of Kenya under dispensation of Constitution 2010 – mainly the devolved system of Governance.

1.                  Engaging the critical mass of workforce

For an organisation to be able to perform in the current competitive landscape, every employee needs to have the mindset to lead, innovate and be engaged with driving its strategy. Traditional approaches of overinvesting in a few ‘chosen ones who can lead many’ are no longer tenable. You have to think of the right people on the bus!

We have observed since the County Government Assemblies in all the Counties called a strike. Besides turf war of which house is superior   the National Assembly and the Senate have continued to perform the law making functions. Perhaps we need to consider merging some of the Wards in all the County Governments. We could kill two birds with one stone. We retrench some Ward Representatives by the ballot and reduce the wage bill in the process. I hope someone in the policies levels will read this.

2.      Embracing Diversity: Husbands are the house managers and wives are Corporate Leaders

The 21st Century we are in the World where the women reign and men’s regime curtains are coming down! Now, the explorer of the unknown is now a resident at the fixed abode. An increase in the number of women in the workforce is a reality. The shift is also in terms of men (roles whose have changed) prioritizing family needs, whether due to spouse’s career, location constraints or being with children and /or parents. As a result, organizations will have to provide opportunities to employees for engaging in interest areas beyond work. Also, with dotcom employees redefining the workplace, companies will have to design the career development process to be more technology driven, and provide flexibility to work outside the office desk.

3.      Preparing for tomorrow and optimal performing today

As companies look towards a turning of the cycle over the next quarters culminating in strategic plan period, filling key positions with employees who are ready for not just today’s jobs, but tomorrow’s responsibilities will be central to the human capital agenda. This is not a walk in park! Many companies have not invested enough in grow in-house capacity and will look for talents from without.

4.      Doing More with Less

In the current economic environment, productivity, innovation and efficiency are key. Specialists with an in-depth understanding of a business/vertical yet possessing the versatility to do more and differently will be in demand. Organizations are developing focused capability interventions that are tightly tied to business outcomes. The Governors have understood this point well.

 We have observed that instead of beefing up the County Governments with another parallel Security Force, the infamous council askaris they are collaborating with the National Police Services.

5.      Change in the Direction of Leadership Development: Lead without title

One big area will be leadership development, and moving down the pyramid with leadership skills, rather than up. The thought that leadership training should start from middle Level -management and up is fallacious strategy. It should begin at every level within the organization structure. There should be opportunity to fast track exceptional performers regardless of the position.

In Kenya the policy of limiting the courses such as Senior Management Course (SMC) and Strategic Leadership Program to some job groups is curtailing growth in Public Service. I am privileged to have facilitated SMC and I have observed how this policy has been flouted by some Public Entities when sponsoring officers. Do you see what all the big banks in Kenya have done? Most of their Chief Executives are in 30s or 40s compare that with heads of Parastatals in Public Sector. No wonder the Key Performance Indicators say different story.

6.      Predictive Analytics Tools for HR

Companies will have to invest in tools for attracting, recruiting, developing and managing performance and releasing people from the organization. We will move away from crude ratings systems, industry benchmarks and so on to high-level analytics to figure out the positioning of an employee vis-a-vis his or her job, fairness of the pay structure, relationship between promotions and consistency of performance.

7.      More Power to Line Managers: Delegation to the point of abdication

There is a definite move away from long, corporate-wide annual surveys, which are too broad or haphazard approach to problem – solving of team-specific issues. Engagement leaders will have line supervisors, not necessarily the HR Professionals, leading the change; they make sure that the supervisors have the right preparation to hold candid dialogues with team members; that the teams rally around the customer and that engagement tactics are tailored for different employee job descriptions. Allow the Managers to learn from their own mistakes as long there is no recklessness and negligence. Verification of duty of care on the part of the Manager should suffice for any cost, period.

8.      Employers’ to practice best international corporate Governance

In turbulent times there is a need for greater transparency at the workplace, which will lead to higher accountability, responsibility and responsiveness on employers’ part. Besides, new employees feel the need to make a difference to the organisation and society as whole.

Acknowledgement some ideas in this article we Published By Anumeha Chaturvedi & Shreya Roy on 

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