Have the Future Challenges of HR Been Predicted? Candid Q&A with Leong CheeTung 

December 11, 20192:00 pm638 views
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Human resource is the starting point where an organisation’s core value is built and instilled into practice. But with the technology is rapidly advancing and individuals demand more recognition and development, it could be challenging for HR to stay current with the latest business updates and trends.  

“Challenges can come unexpectedly, but so does opportunity.” With this belief in mind, we seek insight into the HR challenges and opportunities from an HR expert, Leong CheeTung, CEO of EngageRocket. Here are his thoughts on future challenges and opportunities in the HR world. 

How important do you think is the presence of an HR department in an organisation?

The presence of an HR department in an organisation isn’t in itself important. Finance can support with processing payroll, external recruiters can be used to acquire talent. It is only when HR is able to perform its strategic functions well does it become vitally important.

Attracting and retaining top talent in partnership with the business is critical. As the forces of change and disruption continue to exert their influence on each company, having talent that is aligned with the company mission and engaged to make a difference will be one of the factors that distinguish companies that thrive from companies that fail to survive. HR is uniquely placed to fulfil this role and needs to step up strongly to do so.

What do you think the future challenges of HR in the next decade will be?

The structure of the workplace has never been more diverse. The talent specialisation, and various ways of working, create a confluence of conditions where engaging people becomes a critical determinant of company success.

Tending to this flexible labour supply would involve reconsidering compensation, training, performance management, and engagement strategies, as mentioned by various experts. HR will have a critical role to play as companies reorganise and experiment with various different structures.

On a longer-term basis, diversity and inclusion over the next decade would also include protocols for working with non-humans. This would have a dramatic impact on the relationship between humans and technology at work.

HR will have to continuously monitor and align team members to group interests, building a consistent and positive cultural value to engage the entire workforce. All these involve extending existing capabilities of HR.

And how tough will it be compared with the previous HR challenges?

Clearly, one of these critical demands of HR in the next decade would be the ability to embrace digital. The prevalence of technology has altered the dynamics of employment. HR is now required to deliver predictive analysis to support the business in a strategic way.

HR would need to be at the forefront of digital transformation conversations, sharing a unique vision aligned cross-functionally with IT and business objectives. It is imperative that HR needs to find a way to bridge this capability gap.

How is the 2020s the decade where the role of HR becomes strategic? 

Plagued by a skilled labour shortage and fierce competition for talent, organisations have no choice but to offer a strong employee value proposition and flexible employment arrangements. Since the cost of disengagement far outweighs the cost of cultivating engagement, HR is expected to take a proactive role in this organisational transformation.

The core capability of HR in the next decade would be the ability to apply expert judgment by blending the “soft” parts of business (culture, employee engagement, wellbeing) with the “hard” parts of the business (technology, analytics, finance and operations).

With a rapidly changing market and job demands, HR needs to take the lead in helping organisations transform. Building ‘antifragility’ within organisations through their people, what Nicholas Nassim Taleb uses to describe organisms that thrive in uncertain volatile environments, is how HR can make a strategic contribution over the next decade.

Many researchers suggest that HR should be more analytical than ever. Can you give your thoughts on this?  

Just as companies track data across their customers’ journey holistically to derive customer personas and identify ways to delight them HR need to do the same across their employees’ lifecycle to create personalised and positive experiences. People analytics will become a business discipline that HR would have to master.

Board rooms are clearly starting to pay attention to the potential that analytics holds for people management. Human Resources need to be better equipped to support these emerging business requirements.

By combining technology and analytics, strategies that have been advanced in customer experience areas, HR divisions can dramatically improve the employee experience in ways that have real business impact. You can’t rely on pure data scientists to provide such insight for you – only HR professionals who are fluent in the languages of data and business can deliver this unique value.

What kind of changes should be made in a company for the next few years in order to embrace the changes in business?

Even after putting in place a cutting-edge early warning system, HR cannot reduce the chance of regrettable attrition alone. The most important task in talent retention is actually getting buy-in from the business heads and managers who lead those employees every day. Together, they need to create an environment of trust and respect for each employee.

Equipping leaders at all levels with the tools to effectively analyze and predict staff needs accurately is critical. This would make the office environment more productive, improve career development, and build a team culture focused on high performance.

Finally, the average time someone spends on their job has dropped to less than 5 years, and during the course of their career, you can expect talents to change their employer more than 10 times.  Such trends require companies to build agile talent and operations processes and to adopt new organisation structures with an added element of urgency. 

So, how can HR platform like EngageRocket save HR department from tumbling down against the challenges?  

EngageRocket allows HR to gain visibility into the overall health and productivity of their workforce to drive insights to shape action and behavioural change. These actions can directly improve productivity and talent retention.

New technologies like EngageRocket allow HR to set up continuous listening architecture to collect employee feedback and powerful insights across the employee lifecycle without recruiting an army of data scientists. It enables employees to have a safe and confidential way to voice their opinion and make a difference to their own engagement.

Armed with data, HR can then work with managers to take intelligent action in real-time to improve engagement and performance of their staff and see the impact of those actions without having to wait a year or two before the next corporate employee satisfaction survey.

Read also: Social Dialogue & The Ideal of The Future Work

CheeTung and EngageRocket Team

About Leong CheeTung

CheeTung is the co-founder and CEO of EngageRocket, the Asian leader employee engagement analytics provider that helps leaders and organizations make better people decisions using real-time data.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, he was Regional Director of Gallup in Southeast Asia. He read Economics at the University of Cambridge and has an MA in Political Science from Columbia University under the Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS). 

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