In very recent history, the advent of mobile technology has meant that changes in the way we communicate have accelerated faster than at any time before, faster than in Shakespeare’s or indeed Dr Johnson’s time.
The evolution of HR & business
Business is not immune from evolution nor indeed does it want to be. As a result of similar technological advances, that particular evolution is accelerating at a truly alarming rate and of course HR has kept step. In fact HR is providing the framework, the trellis, on which the evolution of business has and can continue to develop. It’s not that long ago we were all talking about personnel teams, then we saw the arrival of human resources, whose effect on ‘personnel’ job titles was akin to the introduction of the grey squirrel. It is now starting to give way to people and/or talent teams, capability managers…or indeed happiness officers and vibe managers.
But true evolution, of our specific business, of our teams, needs to be a lot faster even than this. To keep ahead of the competition we can’t sit and wait for the industry to move, we need to drive that evolution actively.
Why trust is key to evolution
Trust is vital to this. Without trust, we will never manage to make things stick, to get people to follow, to survive. If it doesn’t stick, if it doesn’t last more than this generation then we’re not talking “evolution”, we’re talking “fashion”…and fashion is temporary.
An example of this that we see very regularly is when we look into one of the more significant business traits to have appeared in the last ten/twenty years; agile/flexible working.
Technology has facilitated working from pretty much any location, being fully and instantly connected to your colleagues, your clients and the entire world…but one thing that’s holding this back at the moment, is trust.
Trust in practice
In my capacity as a recruiter I am regularly – more than once daily – asked something along the lines of: “What is the employing organisation’s view of flexible working?”
More often than not the response sounds something like this:
“They are hugely supportive of flexible working. In fact one of the HR managers works from home three days a week. They’ve been there for fifteen years mind and obviously you won’t be able to do it from day one, but once you’ve been there for six months or so it’s absolutely fine”.
…and that’s where the problem lies...
They may as well say:
“We’ll hire you, but you’ll need to earn our trust before we’ll let you out of our sight”
“We’ll put you thorough a rigorous selection process, but we don’t trust that process enough to find people who are instantly trustworthy”
In fact what can often be deduced from this is that these organisations are not truly committed to flexible working, they haven’t evolved, this is fashion, and it doesn’t fit. And the candidate instinctively selects not to continue with that application.
The problem for these businesses is fairly obvious. They will get left behind. Other organisations are evolving, not just adopting fashions but becoming a new breed. And it’s those businesses that exhibit, espouse and are built on trust that are able to support that evolution and who will attract and retain the best talent. We need to find a way to keep up, because those are the fittest businesses, and those businesses will survive.
Future Talent 2017
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Matt Brooks is a finding member of Eyzon
He's an HR qualified trilingual recruitment consultant, budding evolutionist and enthusiastic writer.