When we started “Faces of HR” back in August 2019, we envisioned it as a profile series in which we could chat with professionals who are on the front lines of human resource work. It was our goal to get many perspectives on the breadth and scope of what HR professionals are doing and learn more about their respective work and how they are making an impact in their field.
Now, after catching up with more than 100 exceptional HR pros, we at HR Daily Advisor would be remiss if we did not share some of the insights we have gleaned about current trends and where our HR pros believe the industry is headed. Companies world-wide have experienced drastic changes over the past 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, it’s a critical time to revisit your company strategy around building a thriving, diverse, and inclusive culture. We were fortunate enough to chat with myriad HR industry leaders, and as you read on, you will find some of our favorite insights and the emerging trends they believe will affect the future of the HR profession.
For Amy Zimmerman, Chief People Officer at Relay Payments, the current state of HR corporate culture in American business has never been more important. “Companies that are building an intentional culture based on their values are better able to showcase how they operate and what’s important to them,” she recently shared with HR Daily Advisor. “Companies with strong cultures are growing exponentially, attracting, and retaining the most talented team members, and winning in their respective markets.”
Zimmerman also noted how the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated problems with corporate culture. “With the sudden shift to remote work, companies struggling with culture issues were certainly adversely affected and are now suffering the most from the great resignation,” she said. “Conversely, the companies who had strong cultures, who nurtured their team members, communicated often and transparently, and leveraged their values in every decision they made, fared beautifully, for the most part. The exponential growth experienced by many companies and record numbers of investments confirm it.”
Janine Ting Jansen, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Teva Pharmaceuticals, says reimagining HR corporate culture starts with understanding our history.
“I spend a lot of time coaching leaders and talking with leaders about coaching youth,” Jansen shared. “And I think of it as the best practices that we have. It’s almost like history, right? We need to understand our history so that we can be better prepared to tell our future. Because our future is always going to be different. The past doesn’t tell our future. We tell it. We shape it. It’s ours. But with that comes this moment of understanding past corporate culture. What people don’t enjoy. When we get those annual employee surveys, what are the pieces that have the greatest gaps on what we thought they should be? Let’s focus on that and speak truth to power. If employees were disappointed in a certain area, let’s have open conversations about that and be unafraid to pursue it. Let’s just not say for the past 20 years, we’ve always done it this way and we will continue.
“I think we have a lot to unpack in the corporate workplace with the new generations coming in and the five generations in the workplace,” she continued. “Also, the lessons learned from the other generations are very important, and they should be captured and heard. But we should also be speaking about how we eliminate more of these barriers and these critical sore points so that we can have a more engaged workforce. I think of it as we must shift, and acknowledge that, yes, this in the past has been very difficult. We’re hoping to change that so less people have to overcome it, so that more people just have that freedom to just step forward.”
Today, more HR managers and organizations understand the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but we still have a way to go. We must be the change we want to see in the world. This starts with increasing your awareness, respecting one another, listening to one another, and focusing on the power of allyship to bring about positive change.
Ashley T. Brundage, Founder and President of Empowering Differences, has experienced firsthand the power of allyship.
“In this journey for me, I largely was able to survive through allyship,” Brundage explained. “For me, it also stemmed to my four-step process of empowerment that I created. The essential four steps are to know yourself, know others, develop your strategy, and then act. I have a book, workbook, and an online course that all help people drive more empowerment. However, the biggest thing that I want people to do is realize self-actualization. Ultimately, you must have self-actualization to allow empowerment to flow for others.”
So, what will corporate culture look like in the future? Our team at HR Daily Advisor agrees with Zimmerman that it will be team member focused.
“So many companies understand that in order to attract and retain the best, you have to create an environment that prioritizes them in every way,” she said. “A purpose driven mission that team members are excited about, quality of work/life balance, career growth opportunities, recognition, a fun, engaging community, and co-workers they enjoy and respect.”