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Becoming ‘people-centric’: The evolution of human resource management

Written by Staff Writer

February 27, 2024

Becoming ‘people-centric’: The evolution of human resource management

By Raine St.Claire

In response to recent challenges related to recruiting and retaining talent, many businesses are now exploring and adopting innovative hiring and talent management strategies. With increased competition, both locally and globally, for top-tier professionals, the HR industry is moving beyond the traditional method of evaluating a candidate’s value. The often-overlooked aspect of “human” in human resource management (HRM) is, in fact, the most critical element that many companies fail to fully leverage in managing their human capital.

Compensation conformity vs. unique competence

Many firms fall into the misconception that offering fair compensation is sufficient to attract their desired talent. However, the notion of fairness is subjective, and enterprises that provide salaries deemed ‘competitive,’ based on market rates or industry standards, will ultimately find themselves attracting candidates who meet these salary expectations but may not excel beyond them.

In today’s landscape, highly educated and globally exposed young executives are unwilling to settle for anything less than their true professional value. Companies aiming to attract top-tier professionals should refrain from merely checking predefined criteria (e.g., work experience, previous salary) to determine a candidate’s market worth.

An individual’s professional value extends far beyond this checklist, encompassing their attitude, personality fit, values, network, leadership skills, personal talents, achievements, strengths, mindset, and numerous other qualities. These elements combine to provide significant intrinsic value to a company’s growth and success.

Unfortunately, despite acknowledging that the economic value of superior talent surpasses that of average talent, many enterprises still default to offering highly qualified candidates what they believe these individuals are worth within the confines of their typical recruitment model and industry benchmarks. Companies willing to look past cost savings and instead offer packages that recognise an individual’s professional and personal value will emerge victorious in the competition for not just any talent but the best talent.

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A career or just a pay-check

The Fortune 500 companies that consistently top the list owe their success not only to financial achievements but also to their commitment to nurturing and developing their staff. For example, Bain & Company, a leading management consultancy recently recognised as one of the world’s top 100 employers. Here, employees have the freedom to define their own career paths, choose from various industries or projects, and determine the trajectory of their careers over time.

Some enterprises offer sponsorship programmes to support employees in upgrading their education or skills and provide mentors whose role is not evaluative but rather to offer guidance and a supportive ear. In one of the world’s largest network equipment providers, nearly all employees are also shareholders. These companies acknowledge that their people are the lifeblood for prosperity and are therefore dedicated to their personal and professional development.

Is employee development and career advancement a priority in your company?

To stay competitive, the success of any firm hinges not only on its products or services but also on the people who drive its mission forward. It is so much more than just hiring talented individuals; it involves nurturing their talents, providing them with opportunities for growth, and fostering a sense of purpose and belonging within the enterprise.

The following questions delve into crucial aspects of this endeavour: 

  1. Is your company committed to investing time and resources in the professional development of its employees? 
  2. Are there clearly defined career paths to guide them towards future advancement? 
  3. Do employees feel deeply connected to the organisation’s mission statements? 
  4. Is your company dedicated to allocating time and resources for the professional growth of its employees? 
  5. Are there well-defined career paths in place to groom them for future advancement? 
  6. Do they experience a strong sense of belonging? 

The answers to these questions play a defining role in transforming a mere job into a meaningful career, and they often serve as a magnet for attracting the right talent to an enterprise poised for growth and excellence.

Understanding that a company authentically values an individual’s advancement distinguishes a job from a purposeful career and often plays a pivotal role in attracting the right talent to the company.

Supervisor or visionary?

A company’s culture is often shaped by its management team, and HR professionals are increasingly acknowledging the crucial role of executive leadership in creating effective enterprises with dynamic human capital.

Even in developed countries like Singapore, many managers still lack essential leadership qualities. Employees often feel marginalised and micromanaged by their superiors. Common complaints in exit interviews include favouritism, public humiliation, interference with personal time, and unrealistic deadlines.

The latest management concept gaining traction is servant leadership, which emphasises that managers are there to serve rather than be served. Many managers, as they advance in their careers, may distance themselves from the people who contributed to their success, driven by power, money, and recognition. Ego can hinder their ability to admit that leadership is about more than just themselves.

To become an enterprise recognised as the preferred provider, employer, and investment, a company’s HR department bears the responsibility of ensuring that its managers possess strong people management and leadership skills. This enables them to cultivate a culture that inspires, motivates, and empowers employees to bring out their best.

Fostering careers, not just jobs: The impact of employee development and engagement

Your company’s investment in the professional development of its employees, clearly defined career paths for future growth, and their sense of being integral to the it’s future are factors that differentiate between a job and a career. This recognition of individual progress often plays a crucial role in attracting the right talent to the enterprise.

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