The Transformed Role of HR in the Millennial's World

In today’s hyper connected globalized fast changing economy, a vital thing to any business, is to find ways to recruit and retain qualified talents.

Recent data show that in the US there are more job openings than ever before, but at the same time also more open positions available than qualified candidates to fill them.

There are several reasons behind this trend. The fact that many jobs require a scientific, engineering and technology skillset, that the new Millennial generation doesn’t seem to be open to join companies away from the main urban centers, and last but not least that some of the entry level jobs require a college degree.

For the first time in the industry, we see big companies headquartered outside of the US and world’s largest metropolitan areas moving, to be able to attract talents with the skillset they need to grow. It is the case of Aetna, one of the largest health insurance group who just moved its HQ from Connecticut to NYC, and GE who also moved from Connecticut to Boston. And the list goes on and on.

While moving a company head office to a large urban center can certainly help find and recruit the candidates with the right education and skills, this is not enough to retain them.

Why is it?

Talent in general, no matter their age, but even more so the young generations, don’t expect just a paycheck at the end of the month. What they want is to join organizations that allows for creativity, invests in their education, and a place where they can add value.

The most successful and experiential brands had to change the way they find, engage and retain their talents. Top down old school cultures must be replaced by open minded environments, where people enjoy working together with a purpose.

Under these new circumstances, the role of Human Resources becomes a key element of the process, and must be transformed from an historical simply recruiting and administrative function, to a dynamic role in every single stage of the candidate journey. From searching and hiring, through on boarding, to an ongoing engagement. This is why we have seen an increase in talent acquisition and talent management positions within HR.

Starting with attracting talent, Companies need to formulate a brand strategy that they can take to the talent market. It has to be a proactive strategy that utilizes the development of strong relationships with industry associations and colleges, the attendance of business conferences and panels, and the interaction with local communities through social media.

In this new landscape, the role of HR becomes a vital support to the company leadership, whom, these days are continuously looking for talents that can join and quickly impact the business.

This goes hand in hand with the fast changing market conditions and competitive landscape. A new normal, that forces every leader and company who want to be successful in the long term, to quickly adapt to the changes, and become fast at innovating the product or services they offer.

Every time a product, service or technology change is required, there often is the need of on boarding new specific, highly qualified, competencies.

To be able to successfully do this, business leaders today need a dedicated, proactive support of HR, that goes way above and beyond recruiting.

As mentioned above, the HR role becomes vital across the entire process of searching, attracting, onboarding, engagement.

The attraction and on boarding phases, must become a way for the candidate to understand the great culture, mission, purpose, and people of a business. Something that goes over and beyond the old way of HR of simply organizing intro meetings with the people the new employee will have to work with.

HR together with the company leadership, must structure an experiential on boarding, similar to when we prepare the agenda for a customer visiting the business for the first time.

To keep the employee motivation and engagement in the long term, it is key for HR to create a transparent and motivating career plan. Talents need to see a path based on clear expectations, career advancement, education, rewards. The worst thing a company can do is to create a situation where employees live in the unknown. Over time, this will result in frustration, poor performances, naturally push the most qualified employees to find a new job and leave.

Another vital component to keep people connected, happy, motivated to collaborate, and attached to the brand, is to dedicate a space within the company or, if not possible, to sign a partnership with an external partner, where employees can exercise, attend fitness, yoga, meditation classes. The development of a wellness program allows people to take a break during the day, relax, refocus and feel at home in the work environment. This is also a great way for the company to show their people that the organization really cares about them, their wellbeing and health.

To be able to successfully transform HR into what I define like a human centered way, based on an emotional and empathetic approach, companies need to develop a mindful leadership.

Without an active leadership focused on people development, believing that long term business success comes from the creation of a deeply interconnected, motivated, cooperating environment, it is impossible to create the conditions that meet the needs of this new generation of talents. To me this is not an option because, without being able to attract the talents and vital competencies that the company needs to execute their plans, companies will put the existence of their brands at risk.

That is why it is important for any business to become mindful about the deep changes that are occurring in the job market, and quickly transform the way they approach and manage the always more vital function of Human Resources.

Federico Foli ©

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