This is exciting. The second day’s opening keynote is Stevens J Saint-Rose, Coca Cola’s International SVP of HR at the Human Asset Summit in Budapest. What is Coca Cola International? Basically every country outside United States – yes, folks in the US still look at the world that there is US and there is the rest of us. Oh well..
Anyway, Stevens is a fantastic guy, full of energy and passion who truly lives what Coke is about, fun and happiness. This amazing attitude and professional humility actually carries a huge – I mean huge – amount of knowledge, skill and dedication – hey, you don’t get such a job if you don’t have true competence in the area. I had the pleasure of chatting with him over 2 hrs last night over a (few) glass(es) of wine I was blown away…
Main challenge: what can HR professionals do differently to meet future demands? For a company with over 700,000 employees across practically all over the world it is not an easy thing to do…
While previously a ‘chess-player’ approach of HR served well, in today’s complex business environment it’s a huge challenge. Coke had a ‘simple’ business vision, achieving in 10 years what company had achieved in the previous 125 years, that is doubling revenue in 10 short years.
How to achieve that? Coke started by looking at Organizational Capability Building and of course via succession and talent management.
However it’s not enough to create a talent focused organization, it is also critical to look at and create the right culture. Hence the company has developed a new approach to Employee Engagement, engaged, enabled,energized – a recipe for the big “E”, that is Breakthrough Engagement.
Worth doing? According to Stevens definitely ‘yes’, as those organizations who practiced Breakthrough Engagement had significantly better financial performance.
What’s next? How to really achieve high level energy when people already feel they give their maximum and fully engaged. According to Stevens and Coke is all about Happiness in the workplace. Hence they visited Bhutan, the only country in the world that uses a measurement of Gross National Happiness. The are 9 areas to happiness in Bhutan
- Living Standard
- Good Governance
- Psychological well being
- Cultural diversity and resilience
- Community vitality
Would it work in Coca Cola or even in your own company? Not necessarily you must look at what are the conditions that drive happiness in your own company.
Stevens warns not to confuse Condition with Dictatorship – it’s not about creating rules, it is rather about creating options where people may choose what’s best and meaningful for them.
6 Trends – external factors impacting the workplace
- New war for talent
We are moving from of capitalism to a world of talentism. (WOF) – There is a huge talent shortage in developed world despite the huge unemployment rate globally. Employability shortage is a huge challenge, the skills supplied and available on the labour market is outdated and are not needed, hence the right people to fill do the job are still not available. So the new challenge is not about fighting for the limited number of available talent rather fill the pipeline with more talent. This will require also a fundamental cultural change, giving opportunities for young people and women to move up.
- Multi-generations at work
Generation Y – or rather, Y Not? – the new generation accustomed to make decision, grown up in a world of involvement, so they demand involvement in the workplace too. Loyalty in their context is different, while generally they have more passion towards their organization they are more likely to leave too. And with a new Gen Z on the horizon HR professional must look at how to change organizations to adapt to the new generation of workforce. (Read my previous blogpost on the 2020 workplace here)
- Women in leadership
What is your organization doing to become more flexible to drive women to leadership? Unfortunately most do not do anything… 62% of companies (Mercer research) don’t do gender diversity training. To create the right avenue for women companies must create executive sponsorship, better work life balance, flexible work environment, networking and socialization for women and lastly build confidence in women.
Organizations moving from CSR to Sustainability - creating an ecosystem where everyone wins. More and more young adults are asking what’s the company’s strategy on sustainability. It has become a tool to attract young talent. (Nestle and GE does some great stuff on Shared Values)
Globalization is making the world smaller. Leaders no longer can just think about their country and market. Leaders must act within their market but think about the world. From the HR perspective: what types of leaders are we building? We must create the right competencies and leadership behaviors, leaders that are agile to be globally competent
- New ways of working
Technology has enabled us to have new ways of working – organizations has been slow to adapt that work is what you DO and not where you GO. Companies must show organizational flexibility for young adults. Time to wake up, work is not 8 hrs manufacture anymore, rather companies must create an environment that values RESULT DELIVERED and OUTPUT over SHOW UP. (Ricardo Semler has revolutionalized workplace democracy since the eighties, it’s good to see that this also infiltrates mega organizations)
This comes with a lot of additional business benefits – more engaged workforce achieving more output, resulting higher performance. On the cost side smaller office spaces required can drive cost considerable down.
Talent clouding is gaining momentum: virtual agency, a database of skilled people who don’t want to work full time and willing to do certain task.
The closing question for HR professionals: Are we thinking differently? It’s never been a better time to be in HR as more and more organization relies on HR to run the business – It’s Capitalism to Talentism – It’s our time!
What’s next for HR?
HR must be better marketer and use marketing principles of segmentation to offer more individualized services for people. What marketing does to understand consumers, HR must take on the understand employees – as Stevens put it “Employees our most important consumers”
Brand value proposition = Employee value proposition
It’s not about internal collaboration, rather collaboration outside of the company. Be more externally focused, leverage relationship – HR has never been in a more prime place to lead such organizational transformation.