Looking back at a year of HR in 2018

 

Written by Benjamin Tan

2018 was a year which saw various shifts and changes in mindsets and practices. From new approaches to HR management to the revelations revealed in the #MeToo movement, there is no doubt plenty that 2018 has taught us. In this article, we take you through some of the most important learnings from 2018.

 

Strategic HR management

The results of Randstad’s Q2 2018 report saw various American and European organizations expanding their footprint in the Asia Pacific Region by making several key-hires at the vice-president and director level. These new senior executives were tasked with developing new strategies to optimize their existing human capital while breaking new ground with new HR teams.

Changes at such a senior level reflect a desire for change and a shift in culture in many organizations. In a time of growing competition, it can be clearly seen that HR management has an increasingly important role to play in the larger scheme of things.

Traditionally, HR professionals were usually expected to take a backseat and provide support where needed. However in a changing world, many leaders have now realized the importance of giving HR a seat at the table as a business partner.

In fact, 2018 was a year where many companies looked to their HR department for solutions to age-old problems. From employee retention and turnover to optimizing human capital for improved profitability, it can clearly be seen that the HR department has moved far beyond its typical support designation.

Proof of this can be seen by this situation experienced by our neighbours in Malaysia. Having set their sights on Indo-China, the leadership team of the Tan Chong Group have realized that the biggest challenge to their expansion is one related to employee recruitment and retention.

To tackle this challenge, the leadership team at Tan Chong Group tasked their HR department to develop a strategy of communication and development to improve employee recruitment and to reduce turnover, a fact that clearly highlights the value of HR management at a strategic level.

 

In-house talent development

As organizations move towards greater optimization and improved efficiency, in-house talent development has come under the spotlight. With HR professionals and members of the leadership team recognizing the importance of developing human capital, many organizations are choosing to develop and promote internal candidates.

From reduced costs of training to improved employee engagement, the benefits of internal talent development are innumerable. Besides motivating employees, promoting in-house talent development allows organizations to build-up a pool of highly skilled and extremely motivated individuals who are capable of taking on almost any challenge.

From here, we can easily how HR management is now playing a much larger role within organizations. Moving beyond simple paperwork and compliance, HR professionals are now capable of leveraging the power of talent management to shape their organization’s direction and objectives.

Recognizing this importance, we at IQDynamics have developed a series of comprehensive training modules that can be customized to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. Thus by combining the roles of training and development with those of HR management, we can help you develop the skills of your team.

 

Diversity in the workplace

Thanks to the diverse, multi-racial makeup of Singapore, it comes as no surprise that diversity and inclusion (DNI) is one of the most talked-about issues in the workplace. However, even with such a diverse workforce, Singapore still faces issues related to diversity and inclusion.

For example, a study by Workday reported that less than 20% of firms operating in Singapore had women in leadership roles. Furthermore, 60% of respondents felt that their organizations did not have policies in place that support disabled workers.

Fortunately, as can be seen in 2018 many organizations in Singapore have taken steps towards becoming a more diverse and inclusive workplace. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have been working on building a more diverse workforce in areas of gender, ethnicity, and age.

Further supporting all of this are a variety of initiatives introduced by the government to encourage employers to work with what is known as the silver workforce i.e. workers above 50 years old. These measures include extending re-employment age to 67 years and requiring employees to implement senior-friendly technology in workplaces.

 

Revelations related to sexual harassment in the workplace

Besides being a year of changes, 2018 also bore witness to a spate of sexual harassment allegations and scandals. The #MeToo movement saw a slew of men and women coming forward to report allegations of sexual harassment often perpetrated by individuals in position of power.

The #MeToo movement has not been confined to Hollywood alone. Since 2017, startup Uber was hit with a spate of sexual harassment scandals that resulted in the resignation of CEO Travis Kalenick.

Following this, several employees filed lawsuits against the company citing allegations of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment. It was also revealed that the HR department at Uber failed to act and even attempted to sweep the issue under the carpet.

All of the above serves to highlight the fact that in many cases employees have little to no recourse in such situations with managers and supervisors prefer to have the matter “hushed” up or swept under the carpet while at the same time, pressuring the victim to remain silent on the matter.

Learning from this, many organizations have introduced training programs to better educate their employees while also introducing a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour. Along with this, many organizations have empowered HR professionals with the authority to take drastic action to curb and eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace which include suspension and summary dismissal.

With the world changing at a remarkable pace, HR professionals need to be ready to face the new challenges that 2019 will no doubt bring. At IQDynamics, we are constantly improving ourselves to better suit your needs.

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