Peter: Thank you very much for your brief introduction. What is your position in HR Management or rather where are your links to HR Management?
Steffen: At Impraise we’re working with some of the World’s most progressive HR Managers, helping them to reinvent performance management in a way that it’s not cumbersome and painful but meaningful and engaging. Together we’ve developed a very user-friendly software solution to evolve a company’s feedback culture from an annual event to continuous conversations.
Peter: What is your opinion of the current status or standing of HR Managers?
Steffen: There’s a feeling of uncertainty around the role of HR Managers. Tech is playing a big role in the industry and redefining traditional practices, thereby allowing them to focus on more strategic practices. For example, conducting the annual performance review used to take several weeks for organizations, a lot of time and money wasted, not even counting everyone’s headaches. Now with a simple performance management tool like Impraise, companies are saving lots of time by automating the process itself, so HR managers can spend more time supporting people’s growth and foster engagement levels. We see similar movements in all fields of HR.
Peter: In your opinion, why is HR Management so often and to some extent fiercely criticized today?
Steffen: Because even though HR is catching-up with trends it is still way behind some other industries. Though there are so many new tools out there, many HR managers are still finding it hard to take that leap into the HR tech age. The increasing numbers of young digital natives makes this gap even larger. The reason why many managers struggle to retain millennials for example, is because we still have outdated HR policies that are no longer applicable to the latest generations. We see a lot of great new HR software coming out of Silicon Valley but also in Europe. But none of them will work if we don’t start considering every single employee as a client, this is a big reason many companies still struggle to engage and retain talent. In the age of Glassdoor, instead of focusing on how to boost exposure to get new applicants, HR should instead focus internally on how they can create a great experience out of their workplace. Our friend Tom Haak explains that perfectly in this article .
Peter: Where do you anticipate specific need for change in performance/service and provision of HR Management?
Steffen: One of the main reasons why an employee stays in a position is because they can learn and develop, while also feeling recognized for their achievements. So one of the main concerns HR Managers face at the moment is how they can move away from extrinsic motivators, such as higher pay and bonuses, and focus more on intrinsic motivators like growth, autonomy and purpose. How to actually help people to become better with actionable and timely feedback is the challenge without being afraid of their compensation being affected by that feedback. Also, how to create a more collaborative environment, where peers actively coach, mentor and share knowledge with each other.
Peter: What will be the main focus/topics of HR Management in 10 years?
Steffen: We’re already seeing great changes to the typical employee and the typical team. Today the rise of remote workers and freelancers are creating the need for a new kind of digital workplace culture. Increasingly, fluid agile organizational structures are relying on self-steering, ad hoc, project based and cross collaborative teams to quickly form and tackle problems more efficiently. Rather than building on traditional practices, to accommodate these new workplace realities HR will need to redesign the workplace to fit the employee experience and utilize modern software to achive these goals quicker and easier.
Peter: Now my final question 5+1 (for advice for my alumni and students): What would you advise young HR Managers or students, who seek a career in Human Resources? What should they pay attention to? What is and what will be important?
Steffen: I would tell them to think ahead. I’m sure by the time many of your students graduate, HR won’t be the same as it is now. The change is happening so quickly that in order to succeed, we need to think 5 years ahead of now in order to excel. I highly recommend doing research on the big topics of our days such as automation through software or AI.
Peter: Thank you very much for your contribution. I wish you continued success, many friendly partners and new ideas at all times. I hope we will see each other in 2017.