Cornerstone OnDemand: Six EMEA HR trends for 2021
This year has been anything but predictable. Months have gone by with many working from home, on the Government furlough scheme or struggling to find employment due to the global pandemic. For HR, this year has been particularly difficult. The complete move from in-person to online training and onboarding, ensuring people are safe and technologically equipped for work and of course, checking on employees’ wellbeing in these troubling times – and that is just the start. But whilst there have been challenges, HR has played a key role in business continuity and will continue to work closely with leadership on strategic people management decisions.
While this year could not have been predicted, we have a pretty clear understanding of what the next one holds in store. It is likely we will be living under some form of restriction from the pandemic until at least early summer 2021. A lot of people will not return to the workplace for a while, some not at all. Either way, here are five of the most important 2021 trends that HR teams should be aware of.
Care: Putting your people first
Until a Covid-19 vaccine is made publicly and widely available – which likely will not be any time before summer 2021– organisations must continue to take care of employees during these stressful and uncertain times. , award-winning and bestselling author, recently said: “Fear, anxiety and even anger are rife and heightened stress could potentially have a damaging impact on people’s mental health and this is an increasing concern. Living in the land of uncertainty can be very difficult and a lack of control can be frustrating, even frightening.”
Supporting and caring for your people is going to be more important than ever before. Even once the pandemic is over, we must not return to normal – care should remain front and centre of all HR plans and initiatives. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our people are more than just our employees. They guarantee the smooth operation of the business and without them, things simply fail to run. Regardless of the situation, people must feel psychologically safe, cared for by their employers and be able to speak up and feel listened to.
Additionally, we must start to look at how we can be fair to all workers, not just those working from home. Those have saved around two hours a day travelling and are able to do things they wouldn’t be able to ordinarily, such as take in packages during the week or scheduling a plumber to fix a leaky pipe. For those unable to work from home and on furlough, eventually returning to the workplace (for the long haul) means returning to scheduling life around work and a healthy balance is much harder to achieve. Organisations must find ways to ensure a healthy work-life balance for all employees. A way to achieve this could be offering flexible working hours or offering days off during the week for people to take care of life admin tasks.
Zero tolerance for lack of transparency
Through the pandemic, following the news has become a daily ritual and many of us began to scrutinise how the Government reacted to the crisis. Transparency from these leaders aided in encouraging people to follow the isolation rules, take safety precautions, and avoided country-wide panic. Where information was clear and there was transparency, people felt more certain in such uncertain times.
Beyond judging how the Government tackled the crisis, many began to judge how their own organisations reacted too. Most companies have faced some form of cut back, from putting staff on furlough or reduced hours, to letting some of their people go. For those on furlough or reduced hours, transparent communication has been crucial to help them understand what is expected of them and the reality of the future of their role.
In a global crisis, transparency is more than simply communicating changes – it is enabling people to access the information they want and need, not just what the business thinks should be available. This could be anything from allowing people to see how many others are on reduced hours or complete transparency with how well the business is performing and how much it has been affected financially. Crisis or not, transparency is now expected – and it will continue to be moving forward. Long gone are the days where employers and employees operate at different levels – organisations will need a more open approach to communication, focusing on ensuring all of their people have access to the same information at all times. And importantly, care must coexist with transparency, so that there’s mutual trust.
Pragmatic transformation and innovation
One of the benefits businesses have seen through the pandemic has been the push for digital innovation. For some, moving all job roles and operations online was a mammoth task but was turned around incredibly quickly to meet changing needs – digital transformation happened, and it happened fast. In 2021, digitisation will have a very different feel.
On the one hand, organisations will be increasingly cautious. The effects of the pandemic are not over, and financial losses are still on the cards. Budgets will not be the same, and investments in technology and software may not be at the top of everyone’s agenda. The focus for leaders will shift to looking primarily at KPIs and ROI when making any investments. Sometimes it can be easier to secure buy-in with influence from external and impartial parties, such as reports like the .
By contrast, organisations will likely be more open to change. Change has already happened and despite it being much faster with more instantaneous impact, organisations now know and understand the benefits it can bring. Still, any intention to implement change will need to be business-orientated and measured from the get-go to gain internal sign-off.
The pandemic has had a huge impact on jobs. In some cases, the functions and responsibilities have changed dramatically, in others, the jobs may no longer exist. As we continue into another year of pandemic restrictions, certain skills will start to become obsolete. The average person’s skills have a shelf life of roughly 5 years, but with the pandemic pushing innovation, this time frame could become even shorter than expected. In fact, people are already feeling the strain of needing to learn new skills, as recent shows that 30% of people are concerned that their job won’t be needed in the next few years and over three-quarters are worrying about how their role will change in the future due to the crisis.
Whilst the lockdowns and restrictions won’t last forever, when we do go back to some sense of normality, things will be incredibly different. Numerous organisations have made huge leaps and bounds with innovating and futureproofing their services. Restaurants are a brilliant example of this – previously, many were strictly dine-in, but to adapt, several took to sites like Deliveroo, or even created their own delivery services. Some took this a step further, with local bakeries selling their flour stocks as supermarkets saw massive shortages in essential items. This adaptability comes from organisations upskilling and reskilling to foster more innovative and creative thinking – something we will likely see a lot more of in the coming year.
TikTok-like Content for Professional Training
How we consume content in our personal lives is always evolving, and why shouldn’t we have the same expectations for learning and development content? Heading into next year, organisations must continue to adapt learning content and transform libraries to accommodate changing demands. There’s been a big drive this year to turn everything virtual, and this is the perfect opportunity to think whether content would be better off as short-form video, bite-sized ‘learning boosters’ in a social media format, or quick quizzes. We’re seeing a rise of ‘edutain’ content – which both educates and entertains – and ultimately helps people retain information.
Content must be as diverse as our workforce!
Facing the inevitability of deglobalisation
While we may all feel more connected to our partners across the seas right now due to the rise in collaboration tools, this is likely to change in the next year. We’ve already started to see changes to technology and legislation – some Chinese technology isn’t compatible globally, the Huawei ban in the UK, and new GDPR rules which imposes strict data privacy rules for companies doing business in Europe. There is a growing trend for organisations to work at a more local level. Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the global supply chain already, and this has encouraged a movement from global to in-house.
By moving operations within production from foreign to local factories, HR will have several obstacles to overcome. This change will mean there will be a need to hire people to take on local roles– meaning a lot of recruiting and onboarding. These new hires will need an extensive amount of training, as it is often expected to have had experience in a similar role – something almost impossible as these roles have been primarily carried out overseas, causing a potential skills gap. To further help fill this, organisations will likely look inwards. Recent revealed that over half of business leaders anticipate developing internal talent as the primary means of filling the organisation’s skills gaps over the next few years. But more than just hiring and equipping new people for new roles, it will fall on organisations to understand not only the jobs that were previously elsewhere, but how they were carried out and the undefined practices – the unwritten rules within the workplace that build the working culture.
2021 already has a host of challenges ready for us, but it also holds a lot of opportunity. If we work together to beat the pandemic, the next year could be a truly interesting time for businesses. Returning to the way things were before is something that we should actively avoid – we must innovate, learn from what has happened and come out of this crisis stronger and more prepared for the future. Above all else, care must be at the centre of all we do, and people must become the main focus if we truly want to prosper.
People Moves EMEA: Kearney, KPMG, Oliver Wyman, Skoda
It’s been a busy week for executive transitions across EMEA and especially in the world of consulting, with partner/CEO announcements at Oliver Wyman, KPMG and Kearney, and in the role of head of sustainability, with new CSO appointments at Laing O’Rourke and Syngenta Group.
We round up the biggest executive moves across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Nick Studer announced as CEO of consulting giant Oliver Wyman
Set to take the top job at consulting giant Oliver Wyman next month, Nick Studer has been named CEO and Dual President of the firm’s economic and brand consulting subsidiaries NERA and Lippincott and will be based in London. Having been with Oliver Wyman for more than two decades, becoming partner in 2003, Studer has since served in a variety of international leadership roles, including head of Global Corporate and Institutional banking Practice, before becoming managing partner at the start of 2021.
According to Dan Glaser, CEO of Oliver Wyman parent Marsh McLennan, Studer has not just led many of the firm’s practices, but he “has been a leading voice for change and a major driver of our Inclusion and Diversity agenda”.
Delphine Bourrilly to lead Kearney in France
Seasoned consultant Delphine Bourrilly has been appointed leader of consulting firm Kearney for France, one of the firm’s larger locations in Europe, becoming fifth head of the Paris office. Having been with Kearney for more than a decade, most recently leading the Leadership, Change and Organisation practice across Europe, Bourrilly has an array of client successes under her consulting belt, including overseeing an operating model transformation at a large retailer. Prior to this, she spent five years at UBS. According to Geir Olsen, Head of Europe at Kearney, Bourrilly’s “talent, energy and charisma will be critical in leading Kearney through its next growth phase in France”.
Roland Villinger becomes head of corporate and product strategy, Skoda Auto
A consulting veteran, Roland Villinger has been appointed head of Skoda Auto’s corporate and product strategy, a newly created area for the Czech car manufacturer that combines two departments. Described by Skoda’s CEO Thomas Schafer as “an international experienced leader and proven digital expert”, Villinger most recently oversaw the implementation of Volkswagen Group strategy and was also previously chief strategy officer and chief digital officer at Audi AG. Prior to this, he spent 25 years at consultancy McKinsey including serving as a senior partner and running McKinsey’s operations in the APAC region.
Hanan Alowain promoted to Partner, public sector, KPMG
Becoming the second Saudi female partner in the history of KPMG, Hanan Alowain has been promoted to Partner in the firm’s Public Sector function. With 14 years of experience in human capital and social development in the Kingdom, including the last three and a half years at KPMG, Alowain is a Harvard Business School graduate with extensive experience both in the public sector, as director of research and development for the Saudi government’s Ministry of Labour, and the private sector, including as a partner at investment & development group Eradah.
Vicky Bullivant named Laing O’Rourke’s first-ever group head of sustainability
Seasoned ESG leader Vicky Bullivant is joining Laing O’Rourke as its first-ever group head of sustainability from Drax Group where she was head of sustainable business and responsible for developing the firm’s climate ambition, social strategy and community and charity policies. Having led the world’s first company ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, and the UK’s first energy company to commit to improving skills and education for one million people by 2025, Bullivant boasts 25 years of ESG business experience in highly regulated sectors, FTSE 100 companies, government and NGOs.
Bullivant spent eight years at Experian, where she was head of corporate affairs and community, nearly four years as head of corporate responsibility at Eon, five years as group head of sustainability at Rolls-Royce, where she turned around the firm’s performance in the Dow Jones Sustainability index, as well as sustainability heads at Tate & Lyle and Drax Group.
Daniel Vennard joins Syngenta Group as new CSO
Former global director at the World Resources Institute Daniel Vennard has been appointed chief sustainability officer for Syngenta Group. Based in Basel, Switzerland, Vennard will be responsible for developing and implementing the Group’s sustainability into its business strategy. Bringing extensive experience in the development of sustainability strategies and in launching global sustainability programmes that deliver growth and impact, Vennard most recently served as global director at the World Resources Institute, Vennard founded the Better Buying Lab bringing together scientists to develop, test and scale innovations that help consumers opt for sustainable plant-based food.
Prior to this he spent 15 years at Mars and Procter & Gamble in sustainability, corporate strategy and marketing and brings “creativity and remarkable expertise in sustainability” that will “help us further advance regenerative farming practices and help mitigate the harmful effects of global warming”, says Erik Fyrwald, CEO, Syngenta Group.