Your CEO doesn’t want you to be a human resources leader—they want you to be a business leader with human resources expertise. While that may just seem like a clever turn of phrase, there’s a growing body of research that supports this concept and HR leaders would be well-served to heed the advice.
How things change. Several years ago, companies began taking employees out of offices and putting them into cubicles. From there, the trend went to open work spaces; then shared work spaces; and now large groups of employees don’t even work in the company building. In fact, by 2014 more than one billion people—more than 30 percent of the global workforce—will work remotely.
For the foreseeable future, there’s little doubt businesses will continue to experience significant change and we need to get comfortable with that—both as individuals and as organizations. Some change will be foisted upon us by customers, competitors, or the marketplace. Other change will be driven by visionary leaders seeking to find competitive advantages or operational efficiencies. Either way, we’ll be seeing a lot more change s and we must become effective at executing it.
Employees aren’t human capital assets or resources—they are unique and talented individuals entitled to respect and the pursuit of purpose in their lives. They congregate in organizations to perform meaningful work in a community with others of like mind to achieve their own goals and to make a difference in the world or in other peoples’ lives. And they like to feel good about and enjoy the time they spend working in those organizations.
Wellness incentive programs are highly effective at improving the health and well-being of employees, while also mitigating some of the staggering health care costs crippling organizations’ ability to grow. Corporate insurance premiums are based on the health and habits of employees, so organizations with more healthy employees will pay less than companies employing larger numbers of stressed, overweight, smokers who may also suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
We’re operating in an environment where the pace and velocity of change is making it almost impossible to use the past to predict the future, and the sheer volume of data we encounter on a daily basis is daunting. Every year, the amount of information online doubles and by 2020 50 billion devices will be emitting data nonstop. More shockingly, companies with 1,000+ employees now store more information than the Library of Congress.
Attracting, retaining, and optimizing talent—and doing it successfully—is the new leadership call to action. The quality and potential of your talent determines the productive capacity of your organization and will very likely correlate sharply with your potential for success and corporate profits.
Intangible talent assets like creativity, courage, commitment, persistence, passion, ingenuity, and knowledge may not show up anywhere on your financial statement, but they are characteristics that may ultimately determine the fate of your company. Apple, Nike, and Google are exceptional corporate examples of this. What would these companies have become without the abundance of these traits among their workforces? What could your organization achieve if you also encouraged and developed this kind of talent?