Global HR Trends That Are Transforming Business

photo of renee arrington pearson partners international

Renee Arrington
President & COO

At our recent IIC Partners global conference in Paris, Renee Arrington, President & COO of Pearson Partners, moderated a panel on Global HR Trends That Are Transforming Business, featuring three HR executives from leading European companies. The panelists represented diverse industries—heavy manufacturing and defense, technology and FMCG—and offered great insights into how their companies and leaders are rising to the challenges of the new realities of working.

The discussion highlighted five top HR trends transforming business:

Organizational change: The Chief Human Resources Officer might be better called Chief Change Officer. Great HR leaders must understand their businesses deeply to support the CEO in designing an organization that fits the corporate strategy—especially during digital transformations and in fast-moving industries.

Remote and flexible work: Organizations must orchestrate a delicate balance between employee freedom and employee responsibility. The logistics of the workplace have forever changed. Employees are experiencing newfound freedoms and can personalize and curate their work experiences in many sectors. Yet, with great freedom comes great responsibility. Employees must recognize the employer’s commitment to providing this freedom and fulfill their obligations to perform and contribute to the company culture.

Innovative recruitment: Recruiting talent for trades requires new thinking. In a company where the balance of workers is 80 percent blue collar to 20 percent white collar, engaging with talent early in their educational journey and providing training and mentorship to develop the necessary skillsets is essential. The recruitment process also must be rethought to include innovative ideas like “job-dating” in factories as a way for candidates to try new things before committing.

The employee experience: Positive employee experience must be your North Star. Internal communications and workforce policies must be transparent, and decisions need to be supported by accurate data. These are essential ingredients for exemplary leadership in these times.

The future of work: A four-day workweek is a possibility in some sectors, and technology will continue to drive change. One of our panelists predicted that the four-day workweek is on the horizon for some global cultures. Another commented that technologies like 3D printing in manufacturing would continue to shape how work is done and lead to profound changes across supply chains and talent development programs.

We are in a unique period of change for the working world. It is perhaps the first time multiple change drivers of very significant impact have converged simultaneously. The changes in where and how we undertake our work demand a revolution in organization design, culture, engagement and communication. Employee performance oversight and empowerment require a new level of organizational trust and transparency. Leadership competencies have evolved—particularly for HR, whose strategic imperative is to have the right leaders and managers in place to meet these extraordinary challenges.

Pearson Partners International is a proud member of IIC Partners, one of the world’s top 10 executive search organizations. Operating through 40 offices and 460 consultants, our partnership delivers executive search, board and leadership assessment, interim management and talent mapping services along with other leadership consulting solutions.

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