Let’s start off with a bit of a history lesson. Legend has it that the birth of the first human resources department was a result of an angry strike, started off in the early 1900’s by The National Cash Register Company. Before I began recruiting for the Workday market, I had no idea that there were such advanced systems dedicated for the sole purpose of managing human capital. For those who have been keeping track of the evolution of human capital management (HCM), I’m sure we can all agree that it’s function has changed so drastically over the last century to even a decade, that it is now almost unrecognisable.
So, the question which might instantly come to mind is, ‘what on earth is the third age of HCM?’ and I wouldn’t blame you, because I certainly asked that question myself. According to Greg Pryor, Leadership and Organisation Effectiveness VP who is responsible for managing talent at Workday, the third age of HCM now yields to the new age of people enablement. This means that our technology, content and business processes should have a main focus on empowering individuals and teams to continuously develop and improve to help them reach their maximum potential and goals.
From my understanding, it was the age of ‘personnel’ which came first in the early 1900’s where there was a heavy focus on compliance, wage management and record keeping. Next was the age of HR in the late 1900’s which emphasised the quality of workers over quantity, as well as employee recognition. Now, entering this new age of HCM, there is a special focus on introducing a ‘fundamentally different sensibility’ and how an organisation should recognise and empower the success of their work force.
Of course, the rise of automated systems and the internet also changed the landscape of HCM indefinitely and permanently. As a result of this, many organisations are realising the competitive advantage of utilising the most advanced technologies to manage human capital. This is very evidently reflected today as more and more companies are choosing to make the move towards cloud HCM systems to digitally transform their businesses; Workday is a perfect example of this as we witness a steady increase of Workday being the HR solution of choice for many organisations worldwide. From recruiting in the Workday space for close to 7 months I’ve witnessed big brands such as John Lewis and Harrods choosing to make the move.
So as we all transition into the third age of HCM, businesses need to acknowledge that it is paramount that the function of HR transcends beyond just a support system. This brings us back to Pryor’s point on how people enablement is paving way to the new age.
Greg Pryor actually gave insight to this at the vendor’s annual briefing back in April this year, and gave elaborate examples of how Workday is currently using its own technology to manage their talent and drive how important it is to enable your workforce. Some of his examples included:
Utilise the career opportunity graph
According to Pryor, half of Workday’s employees consult this once a month! It continually analyses career movements within the organisation to provide a visible roadmap to show employee’s what their next move is. It goes to the extent of even mapping individual skills required to progress to a new role and the specific skills which need developing.
Result: A higher chance of retaining your talent; instead of looking for new roles outside of the company, employers might spend more time analysing paths towards different roles within the organisation.
Dedicate a day of the week for feedback
While Third Republic have Finish Early Friday’s, Workday has something called Feedback Fridays. This is where employees are asked to respond to 2 simple questions to provide feedback about managers. The answers are then compared using benchmark data of Fortune Best Companies to Work For rankings to assess which managers are providing the best experiences for their employees.
Result: Since introducing this function, Workday rose on the rankings for Best Companies to Work For and was the first company to make an 11-point jump in this survey.
I understand there are many other functionalities within Workday talent management too, such as mentoring and connections – which allows employees to learn and share knowledge from one another – and goal alignment; this aligns teams from the top down to organisational goals to build engagement and give employees power to create, edit and review goals. And then, of course, there’s mobile access and action which enable users to take action at any time and from any place.
These features certainly sound convincing to me, but my opinion is limited by my lack of direct experience with the technology. On that note, I’d definitely be keen to hear the thoughts and experiences from actual users to see whether they really feel that Workday talent management is an effective driver for people enablement, as well as the many other ways companies are utilising Workday features to manage their talent. Of course, as with anything, there will always be people in disagreement. Pryor mentions his observation on the ‘chasm’ between organisations transitioning into the third age of HCM versus those that remain in the more ‘hierarchical’ thinking of the HR age. He believes that companies stuck in the old age of HCM won’t be able to attract and retain talent, but would you agree?