This article is part of our new State of Employee Feedback Series which will interview a diverse mix of HR experts and thought leaders with a goal of better understanding their perspectives on the current state of and future of HR.
The following is an interview we recently had with Maureen Cawley, VP, People at Saatva.
Human Resources has been on a trajectory from an administrative (personnel) function to a strategic business driving function for many years. The rapid acceleration of workforce trends has also accelerated HR progress along that trajectory. HR teams are increasingly accountable for quantitative results, long-term planning, and developing and implementing talent strategies. As The Great Resignation forces businesses to respond, HR's role in retaining, engaging, and attracting talent is more critical than ever.
There are several common challenges to managing employee feedback and reporting. Those challenges include properly leveraging technology, frequency and cadence of feedback collection, and interpretation of qualitative feedback. Collecting and aggregating employee feedback as data, leveraging that data to make business decisions, and thoughtfully and thoroughly communicating those decisions or actions is key to a successful employee feedback loop.
First, the current remote/hybrid, ever-changing work environment necessitates exceptional communication. Organizations that invest in internal communications will be rewarded.
Second, diversify communications channels. The annual employee feedback survey is a great tool, but it's not enough on its own. In many organizations, channels for employee feedback exist but are not maximized. Examples include exit interviews, 90-day check-ins, regular one-on-one meetings with managers, town halls, or annual reviews.
My third suggestion for organizations looking to improve their employee feedback culture is that organizations must be sure to complete the feedback loop by responding to the feedback. Asking for feedback without communicating what's being done in response to employee feedback can be damaging. Even if the organization is not able to act on pieces of feedback, it is critical to acknowledge that the feedback was received/heard and explain why action will not be taken in response.
The future of HR is to become a data-powered business driver. As technology continues to evolve, the talent market will only become sharper. Organizations that value their talent as a strategic asset will develop HR functions that increase organizational value.
Over the next 3-5 years, my role as a head of human resources will become more clearly defined. Today, there are open questions regarding which functions comprise HR: DE&I? Communications? Talent Acquisition? Over the next 3-5 years, I expect the mission of HR within organizations to become more clearly defined, and I look forward to helping to define that mission.