The annual i4cp Next Practices Now conference always provides a fascinating glimpse into the future.
In the 2019 edition, which took place in Scottsdale, Arizona last week, CEO Kevin Oakes kicked off the event by affirming that the future-looking aim of i4cp’s work will continue to be focused on next practices—not the usual best practices, but the uncommon practices that few high-performance organizations are implementing today.
There were plenty of future next practices shared over the course of the conference—both from new i4cp research and in the presentations from provocative thought leaders and practitioners onstage. Equally interesting were the leads and ideas shared by attendees during informal conversations throughout the week.
What was striking was the number of conference attendees advancing new ideas in their own organizations, overcoming internal resistance, and crafting innovations that fit each organization.
What follows are 22 seeds of next practices and leads of innovative applications I noted throughout the event. If you are looking to revitalize your human capital practice and better prepare for what’s ahead, consider investigating two or three of the most interesting seeds and leads:
- Sense check your employer value proposition on an annual basis (through surveys, focus groups, etc.) to keep it fresh and relevant.
- Upcycle/recruit former employees to higher level roles than those they were in when they left.
- Pay part or all of student loans to attract today’s college graduate and ease the burden of entry-level employee debt.
- Offer up to $12,000 to help employees buy their first house.
- Creatively help potential candidates and current employees facilitate a better commute to work.
- Facilitate re-entry to the workplace after a pause (or leave) with three-month internships that could lead to re-employment. The three months should include updating skills with technology.
Inclusion and Diversity
- Freely share inclusion and diversity training material with others across your industry and community to have greater impact for societal gains.
- Extend your culture and protection policies to contractors and other talent ecosystem contributors so they feel as safe and included as your traditionally designed full-time employees.
- Integrate I&D staff and practices with the talent acquisition unit and set measure and reporting relationships to a common manager for unified impact.
- Utilize the business’s launch of a new product or service with I&D implications as a catalyst for internal team discussions on inclusive themes. Include representatives of your ERGs in these conversations.
- Involve HR leadership in initiating courageous conversations about what’s not working, what business leaders are overlooking, or what’s coming that the business isn’t prepared for—whether that’s for a more positive, inclusive culture or to prepare for the coming choices to be made when AI and work automation drives change—hopefully both!
Talent Management and Development
- Create the official job description AFTER the employee is hired to customize the role, leveraging the unique talents and interests of employees to align with work opportunistic.
- Use Organization Network Analysis (ONA) to aid with a number of improvement efforts, including finding the natural change agents and influences (both positive and negative) to involve in new initiatives as well as augmenting traditional leader successor profile information and high potential identification with ONA.
- Refine the launch of a more contemporary approach to performance management conversation by utilizing language grounded in the culture of the business. In one case, musical terms are used to describe the discussion tools, such as “your greatest hits” to better reflect the unique culture of the organization.
- Open new cross-training opportunities, upskill training/certification, and incremental pay increases to advance low-level employees into higher-value trade positions.
- Reimagine employee volunteer programs with higher developmental and culture-building impact.
- Approach first-time leadership training with the same discipline as finance and engineering, where employees first need to master fundamental frameworks and problem solving; in this case, mastering optimizing human resources before becoming a leader.
- Encourage each employee to identify their personal passion that "feeds their soul” and then finds way(s) to enable, support, and foster their involvement in that passion as a form of reward and engagement.
People Analytics and AI in HR
- Leverage people analytics teams to influence behavior change. One way in which it is happening is through real-time nudges. Building on behavior economics nudge theory, people analytics professionals leverage machine learning to prompt individuals to modify their behavior in a predictable way.
- Use of people data analytics capabilities to inform new work site decisions based on workforce availability.
- Google’s “Grow with Google” search capability, which enables military service members preparing to transition to civilian life to enter “jobs for vets” and put in their military occupation code (MOS) and the search will return information on civilian occupations that match their skills and experience. This helps address the common challenge of translating the skills and experiences gained in military careers to relevant jobs in the civilian world.
- Use analytics to build out job recommendation engine. Based on employee capability and their developmental activities (formally through work and informally), this engine enables employees and the organization to find the best fit for a given job or project.
Kevin D. Wilde is a strategic business adviser with i4cp and former Chief Learning Officer at General Mills