Highlights from conversations on how HR and business leaders are reinventing the future of work, tackling generational diversity in the workforce, and more.
On 29 and 30 November this year, Human Resources Online attended HRD Corp's long-awaited conference - the National Human Capital Conference & Exhibition (NHCCE2022). The event, held at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre, saw a gathering of more than 2,500 speakers and participants from across the region.
As the official media partner, we were privy to a range of engaging and deep conversations among Malaysia's HR fraternity on the era of HR 5.0 – where we learnt more about how HR and business leaders are reinventing for the future of work, why it's time to do away with labels on generational diversity, and more.
In this first part of a two-part series, HRO summarises some of the interesting trends and takeaways discussed.
Reinventing for the future of work
The workplace, work, and workers as we know them will look vastly different in the years ahead, with technological advancements paving the way for new processes. With this in mind, HR practitioners will, no doubt, have to be knowledgeable in the way the future of work will impact their organisations. This will require a thorough review of manpower planning, capacity building, and employee experience, all while considering the other areas of disruptions that are changing the way businesses will operate in the future.
Through a panel conversation on the topic, the following trends were uncovered:
- Leaders are looking at reinvention. What this means is that they are redesigning to stay relevant from an organisation level, from a societal level, as an individual, and as a family system.
- There is a need for leaders to manage scarcity. by ensuring their talent can survive the challenges and the changes brought about by advancements.
- The leaders also discussed vitality - emphasising mental health. This involved creating a flexible work environment, for instance, to beat burnout and to help employees balance their family commitments. One speaker highlighted that instead of being an employer's responsibility, this is becoming a social responsibility for everyone to take into account.
- Sustainability and social governance are increasingly rising to the top of every board agenda.
On the same theme, one attendee raised a question on how HR leaders can familiarise their generation X employees with HRIS. The response? Keep the system simple. Give it a user-friendly interface, and make the features simple. For instance, explore the use of chatbots to help employees know the system better.
In a separation session on a similar theme, a member of the audience asked: With most HR functions moving towards a future of AI and automation, where will the future of HR be?
According to one panellists, HR will continue to be play an important role at the workplace, due to the "many things the function can do that add value" to an organisation. That said, HR practitioners will need to familiarise themselves with cloud skills - an increasingly critical aspect -, and to continue reskilling, upskilling, and multiskilling to adapt to AI and automation. Then, can HR thrive.
Building a sustainable talent pipeline
Malaysia has observed a healthy level of graduate employability in the past few quarters. But it raises one question: is it a fair reflection of the talent-related challenges that are below the surface, i.e., what can't be seen at first glance? That was a key point highlighted by one of the plenary speakers in his session.
What exactly are these challenges?
- #1: the creation of high-skilled jobs - are we creating enough skilled jobs for our graduates?
- #2: there may be a whole lot of skilled talent out there. But the question is - do they have what the industry needs?
- #3: finding industry-ready talent. Soft skills required but that are still lacking:
- interpersonal skills
- communication skills
- analytical skills
- problem-solving skills
How then, can leaders continue to build a sustainable talent pipeline, and overcome these challenges?
The first way involves attracting talent:
- Attracting talent towards demand
- Attracting talent beyond traditional programmes
- Attracting talent via early outreach programmes
The second centres on nurturing talent:
- Nurturing talent towards professional growth
- Nurturing talent to build a culture of transformation
Finally, the third is about retaining talent:
- Retaining talent via retention programmes
- Increasing performance, productivity employee morale and quality of work while reducing turnover and employee-related problems
Is it time to do away with generational diversity?
Another key topic discussed on day one was generational diversity. Why does HR not talk about it? According to one speaker, this could be because:
- they fear being misunderstood
- they might have the inability to accommodate different expectations
- they worry about being unable to bring everyone under one vision
- they fear offending people or alienating certain groups of people
- they are worried about any failure to ensure fairness
That said, one speaker pointed out that it's time to drop all generational labels. Why? Here are six reasons cited, as food for thought:
- Generations are not based on science
- They contain our thinking
- They promote stereotypes
- They emphasise age-related behaviours
- They rely on the rich - social categories tied to consumer trends inevitably are representative of only certain economic classes, research notes.
- They are a race to the bottom
Finally, a common question asked by the audience was: How do we manage senior employees who have limitations in L&D?
Some ways highlighted by the speakers include:
- designing the right resources to help in their decision-making process
- assessing the need to learn
- having in place a culture of innovation - Build it if you don't have one, or reinforce it if you already have it.
Photo / Provided by HRD Corp