How green is your HR strategy?

Alec Howe, future forecaster, introduces in a recent article the concepts of “time splintering, work spillover and leisure spillover” and how work-life balance is no longer the topic on the corporate agenda. However, it is more about how a working day will be “chopped up” and how time will be allocated in a “splintered” way to meet the work-life balance. Richard Sandford, a learning researcher, says mid-life drop-outs are cynical about another economic recovery and they are disillusioned with the recession. They are also concerned about career stability and will probably decide to opt out of their corporate careers.

Will HR strategically be able to adjust current policies and practices to incorporate a new way of work of people? The workforce is also continuously becoming hyper-taskers and brick and mortar organisations will have to provide the technology to keep people engaged while at the same time adding value to the business. With life expectancy extending and retirement disappearing, it will be normal to have multiple and totally different careers in one lifetime. Should organisations take notice and audit current strategies or will it be a missed opportunity to retain talent in multi-dimensional career options?

The first year in a new decade has a sense of renewal for organisational performance practices and a possibility for renewal to consider how green the organisational HR practices are.

Many factors will influence a decision to move to a greener HR approach or strategy. A review of the past Human Resource carbon footprint should influence a future strategy to address the impact on the environment and the impact on people practices.

We should keep our eyes firmly fixed on the HR horizon and look through “green” glasses as we contemplate the challenges of the new world of work. As an organisation the focus should be on green performance improvement results for internal and external clients and all stakeholders in the results chain.

One way to be greener in our people practices is to attract and retain talent efficiently and effectively. Talent in any organisation is chaotic and the biggest challenge is to compete in a complex, competitive environment.   Dave Ulrich refers to the quality of talent and leadership as the “hole in the boat”. If we refer to greening HR practices, knowledge and talent are “above the ground” vs. “in the ground”. This will govern the way we approach a new thinking of greening HR and talent practices.

Another dimension to green people practices for the future is through the HR value proposition. How green is the organisation’s HR value proposition. Are you interviewing or interviewed on green strategies?

Indicators for green people practices

The new world of work should focus on an external and internal green policy. The green context for business is usually driven by an external environmental green strategy to minimise the carbon footprint but this should be counter-balanced by minimising an internal HR carbon footprint.   In the workplace this is not about only implementing an organisational wellness strategy. Several indicators and measures should be established to minimise the HR carbon footprint by setting the scene for the future.

These indicators regarding green people practices are:

  • The business philosophy and values of HR
  • The performance culture and employee engagement mindset
  • The performance consequence and feedback interdependencies
  • The third wave of leadership practices and its effect on people
  • The talent and knowledge management mindset
  • The learning and development approach to a new world of work philosophy

Green HR strategy

What opportunities exist to set a new strategy to green into the Human Capital and Talent Management plan? Some of the questions to consider are:

  • What is the HR carbon footprint of the organisation? How effective and efficient are HR issues dealt with? What is the legacy it will leave behind? Are we setting a green example in the industry by doing more with less?
  • How green are the people management practices? How well do we treat people? Do they live the vision and do we really care about them?
  • How green and lean are the recruitment and retention strategies? Are these in line with world-class practices? How successful are we to recruit and retain talent?
  • How green is the reward and recognition system? Does this reflect we value people?   Are employees rewarded in a green way for community work?
  • Are our business management processes green by supporting efficient and productive workflow? Are there unnecessary waste?   What is the waste management policy? How well can we scale down and improve and maintain performance?
  • Do our learning and development practices support a green approach to people development? What renewal strategies should be introduced? Can we do more with less? What are the technologies to be introduced to ensure learning and development is green?

If you are interested in finding out more about Green HR Sustainability, please visit our website, connect on Linkedin or contact me directly:

Belia Nel
Tel:  +27 082 458 5851
Email: belia@improvid.co.za

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