10 ways HR teams can be driving value creation right now

After a battering of disruptions, organisations are turning to their human capital leaders to rebuild and propagate growth
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Rishi Sunak’s recent comment on the state of the British economy was more upbeat than most would have expected at the start of 2023. The prime minister put it in no uncertain terms: “Confidence is returning.” 

Despite an economic nose dive in December, the economy expanded by 0.3% in January 2023, with global energy prices and headline-grabbing inflation also beginning to fall. 

Still, the labour market remains tight, and businesses are not out of the woods just yet. KPMG reports relatively modest global economic growth predictions over the next two years, with GDP growth expected to drop from  3.1% in 2022 to 2.1% in 2023 and 2.6% in 2024.

In a bid to combat a sluggish economy and a challenging talent market, businesses’ top decision-makers are having to learn how to do more with less - and HR is no exception.

Based on insights from hundreds of C-suite leaders and talent acquisition specialists who took part in Randstad Sourceright’s 2023 Talent Trends Survey, here’s how HR teams can be making a positive difference.

1. Shift talent acquisition strategies to create value

Businesses benefit from creating internal talent pools in addition to external ones to deploy just-in-time resources that can help them respond to dynamic market conditions. Talent intelligence is a powerful tool for understanding where HR can make the biggest impact with its talent strategy, whether that’s through shortening recruitment times, improving diversity or using skills to improve productivity.

2. Make talent experience more meaningful

Gone are the days of employees keeping quiet. It’s crucial to create opportunities for people to safely share their concerns and feedback at all stages of the enterprise talent life cycle, from job seekers to employees to contingent talent to former employees. For individuals to feel valued in an organisation, their voices need to be heard above the noise of broader enterprise strategy.

HR teams must sharpen their focus on issues that make a tangible difference to how talent feels about the business’ approach to inclusion, meaningful work, fair compensation and connectedness. 

3. Drive workforce excellence through talent intelligence

Data is a valuable conduit for driving evidence-based change. But to really make the most of key insights, HR teams must agree on goals with stakeholders across the business to develop an action plan that will effect change against established benchmarks. Step 1? Identify the KPIs that matter to your organisation’s specific business and talent goals. 

4. Create more value with technology

It’s no secret that technology can be a force for empowering teams. Harnessing the full potential of technology through data-driven insights allows HR to focus on making the user experience as seamless and as responsive as possible. The trick is to create user groups to collect regular feedback about what’s working and what’s not. 

5. Unlock workforce potential with internal mobility

Businesses should be looking for opportunities to encourage and support employees’ career progression, fostering a sense of ambition for workers at every level and in every function. 

First, HR teams can ensure that training is equitable and accessible to a diverse pool of existing talent. Then, it’s necessary to align training to the skills that the organisation will need in the future. HR can also be instrumental in helping organisations to appropriately invest in resources to facilitate internal mobility, including performance assessment platforms that cover self-reflection, peer reviews and other feedback.

6. Encourage a culture of learning 

Whether working remotely or in the office, people need the support, time and resources to develop to their full potential. Learning should become part of a company’s core workplace culture. Results can be driven by rewards and recognition for completing learning modules and acquiring new skills. Learning platforms can be an effective means of customising learning experiences so that users can target the skills most relevant to their needs and to the needs of the business. 

7. Right-size with care

If putting people first is part of a company’s culture and values, the same should still be true when times are tough. It’s important to build trust by remaining clear and transparent about why redundancies are necessary; for example, business growth is slower than expected, costs need to be in line with revenue, or skills are being shifted to where they are needed. 

Communicating often and directly with all affected employees - steering clear of jargon or ambiguous language - will help to reinforce trust in the business’ handling of challenging circumstances today and tomorrow.

8. Turn good diversity and inclusion intentions into meaningful impact

Recruitment channels should be appropriately considered to include a wide variety of diverse talent pools, including universities, networking organisations, job training programmes and other professional groups. 

Managers should also receive training in unconscious bias, which may be built into all stages of the talent life cycle, from attracting new talent to employee development and even redundancies. Keeping decision-makers’ minds switched on to diversity, equity and inclusion practices helps root out unnecessary job requirements, such as formal qualifications or physical requirements, which may exclude diverse talent. HR leaders can work with social exclusion programmes to source talent who face greater barriers to their employment.

9. Nurture wellbeing during challenging times

HR teams will need to communicate regularly regarding benefits offered through employee assistance programmes, clarifying the different offerings. There is ample opportunity for businesses to personalise approaches to wellbeing to maximise take-up. HR has a central role in making health education a centrepiece of wellbeing initiatives and encouraging people to save for retirement and for any additional contingencies.

10. Build best-in-class sustainability initiatives

While some sustainability initiatives may seem like corporate grandstanding, genuine ESG efforts are good for employees and good for business. To bring people on board, CHROs should highlight how the company’s sustainability strategy is making a meaningful difference by sharing real success stories. Organisations will need to survey and engage talent on topics such as climate change, DEI, social justice and socio-economic initiatives. 

There may also be a wealth of knowledge already in the business that HR can tap into. By finding ways for employees to use their unique expertise to make a difference and appointing internal and external ambassadors who can articulate why the organisation has embraced specific ESG programmes, businesses can ensure their sustainability strategies have support from the inside out. 

These 10 focus areas suggest that there is plenty that businesses can be doing to reframe their enterprise talent blueprint for value creation. Are we going to see a total economic rebound in 2023? Probably not. And acknowledging that is a step in the right direction, according to Randstad Sourcelight’s latest Talent Trends Survey. 

Rather than hunkering down, HR teams can - and should- be actively building resilient talent strategies that align with general business strategies, regardless of the turbulent economic cycle.

To learn more, visit www.randstadsourceright.com