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The future 2020 workplace: 3 ways to get your modern HR initiatives on track

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The workplace of the future will be the most diverse the world has ever seen, according to an Oxford Economics report, Workforce 2020: The Looming Talent Crisis, sponsored by SAP.

By 2020, multiple generations working together will have different skills, experiences, habits and motivations and more of these workers will be freelancers and contractors. These trends represent a major opportunity for employers and employees alike, indicating that to remain competitive you need to ensure your HR department is ahead of them.

The worldwide survey, consisting of 1,361 executives and 1,488 employees from SMEs, has shown that many companies lack the tools and culture to engage employees, track performance or measure the effectiveness of their HR initiatives.

In order to adjust to shifting demographics, here’s how you can capitalise on these trends and effectively manage your talent:

Prepare for Millennials: Engage and foster loyalty

“We are in a time where every demographic group from the silent generation through to Millennials are present in the workforce,” says St Barbara’s General Manager, Human Resources, Val Madsen.

St Barbara is an Australian-based ASX listed gold producer and explorer. Madsen says the business places a strategic emphasis on empowering a diverse workforce to encourage and incorporate innovative, varied views.

“With Gen Y and Millennials reluctant to stay on with any particular organisation for more than five to seven years, companies need to stay up-to-date with the latest developments, as much as possible,” says Madsen.

To engage all employees in your long-term business vision, it’s important to establish your core values. In addition to the cove values, St Barbara HR has devised a five- pillar HR strategy: talent, diversity, leadership, engagement and performance.

HR has also developed a suite of policies and guidelines to cover all aspects of the employee lifecycle including recruitment, performance and promotion, says Madsen.

Let the tech work for you

While it can be a challenge to provide the latest in technology devices and connection for employees, you need to prepare for those who work remotely and require access, advises Madsen.

New IT applications, services and infrastructure can offer significant increases in productivity and help you stay up to date, she says.

This year St Barbara implemented SuccessFactors, a cloud-based SAP program, to provide an online performance appraisal system that allows managers to monitor their teams.

“While we had effective policy and procedures for performance appraisal, we had been using a manual system that presented considerable challenges in terms of managing the data and reporting,” says Madsen.

“The feedback of the new system has been positive, with managers and employees being able to access key business output objectives online. Managers in particular are now able to monitor their teams at a glance.”

The leadership forecast

As a leader it’s vital you have touch points for employees to provide their views and perceptions, says Madsen.

“An employee engagement survey can be developed and administered efficiently and the data will help the organisation focus on things that matter to the workforce,” she says.

A more recent initiative has been tailored leadership development programs for all levels of management.

Any sized business should be incorporating these types of programs to have a pipeline of talent prepared for the future.

To learn more about preparing for the future workplace, view the Oxford Economics survey.

Written by: Thea Christie

SAP