The Virtuous Cycle for Value-Driven HR

August 30, 2018 Harry West


If you work with Appirio, you know that everything we do revolves around the Virtuous Cycle —better Worker Experiences lead to better Customer Experiences in a self-reinforcing way that distinguishes many of the best-performing companies today.

A Virtuous Worker

Diving into the Worker Experience side of the cycle, we focus on three key outcomes — workers who are:
-Engaged
-Productive
-Agile

Companies that performed best in our most recent “State of the Virtuous Cycle” report tended to have very high scores for having an Agile workforce — a workforce that learns continuously and is best able to adapt quickly to change.

How do companies create a worker-centric culture that delivers a high performance and an Agile, customer-pleasing workforce? One of the main keys, of course, lies with the capability of the management staff — the people who are responsible for getting the most out of your talent and keeping them motivated and focused on the things your customers care about the most.

The Role of HR

Also critical in driving a best-in-class Worker Experience: the role of HR. HR is a function that has existed for a long time and undergone many waves of changes, constantly adapting to focus on benchmarks and outcomes that help businesses succeed. 

In the talent-driven era we operate in today, HR has evolved yet again to adapt a set of new capabilities that in many ways mirror capabilities that Marketing teams have honed in the field of Digital Marketing — delivering great experiences to stakeholders by knowing what they need before they realize it. Marketing needs to react to those needs in real-time to meet and exceed stakeholder expectations through the use of comprehensive data analysis, new feedback channels, and cloud-powered solutions that help deliver on a new set of prioritized business objectives. Today the primary focus of a modernized HR organization revolves around the following three objectives:

-Driving a Worker-centric Culture
-Guiding the Business
-Embracing Disruption

Let’s look at these HR organizational objectives individually.

Driving a Worker-centric Culture
Parallel to its mission of driving employee engagement, Driving a Worker-centric Culture refers to HR’s mission to modernize the approach an organization takes to management standards and culture. Companies need to allow for employees to succeed in a way that uniquely reflects the values of a company. 

If culture can be loosely defined as “what employees do when their managers aren’t around?’, this puts a big obligation on setting examples at the management level that inspire the best behaviors in your workforce. It’s not easy! 

Only 33% of organizations in Appirio’s 2018 State of the Virtuous Cycle study maintain an internal Leadership Development program — a key initiative for defining and perpetuating culture. And currently many organizations are tackling new process initiatives, such as the replacement of annual performance appraisals with less formalized coaching and rewards philosophies, putting an even greater responsibility on leadership. Appirio recommends investing in manager empowerment to fulfill the objective of better Empowering the Culture. 

Guiding the Business
One of the biggest hurdles HR faces today is in transforming itself to better Guide the Business using an influx of data from HCM solutions as well as surveys, external social listening, and other sources of information about organizational capability. 

This requires a set of consulting skills, quantitative analysis, and storytelling skills that HR has been aggressively developing in many organizations. It also requires a solid grasp of data accountability in HR and an ownership and stewardship of organization, talent, and people data. Incorporate related data from throughout the organization — finance, as well as other operational datasets that organizational analysis requires. Generating great outcomes in Guiding the Business requires a synthesis of all this data and great internal consulting — and it’s not always easy to tell which is most difficult to develop, since all elements are essential. 

Embracing Disruption
Innovation drives HR and the Future of Work, so you must encourage innovative thinking within your workforce in order to embrace new ways of working. It goes against instincts, but in order to challenge existing, traditional HR practices and realign to modern day approaches for a diverse, multi-generational workforce, organizations should embrace new work models (like virtual, remote, networked teams, and collaborative environments) and new kinds of workers (like contingent, seasonal, and freelance). Another avenue to embracing disruption is to empower your individual contributors to create and publish learning content in real-time. 

HR delegates should also work towards creating greater transparency around career opportunities tailored to individual and business objectives. The most successful HR teams empower workers to be invested in their individual roles and in the greater company culture.

Appirio can help
Appirio’s Virtuous Cycle for HR ensures both Workers and HR are aligned for a more value-driven workplace. Our specialty is to help organizations transform technology to run Finance, HCM, and Analytics better in the cloud using technologies like Workday. Read more on our Workday Hub about how we can strengthen the relationship between your workers and HR.

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