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The way people are recruited, managed and organised is shifting dramatically. Workplaces throughout Australia are experiencing a massive transformation, which has implications for how they search for talent.

In a future that works’ recent research, Best in Class, I interviewed with people leaders from some of Australia’s most outstanding organisations. I discussed with these leaders the speed of change in their workplaces and how they are responding and transforming their people.

In each of my interviews, leaders commented on how change is the new normal and, in many situations, human resources leaders are now leading in very distinct ways to the past.

Our research, Renewing Australian Workplaces (2017) found that there are seven key forces for change in the workplace:

·       Technology

·       Knowledge and specialised workers

·       Increased competition

·       Economic imperatives taking precent over relationships or even individual health

·       The key stakeholder has become the shareholder

·       The physical workspace

·       Employers’ obsessions with greater productivity and results.

These insights were reflected in my interviews with the people leaders at Best in Class organisations.

The transformation we are seeing in our workplaces is extending to the search for talent, which is becoming increasingly complex and diverse, with a strong global focus. Modern challenges organisations’ talent attraction and retention efforts generally centre around digital technology and modern employee requirements, such as flexibility and a need to instantly feel aligned to their organisation’s values.

PwC Partner and Chief People Officer, Dorothy Hisgrove, told me that PwC measures all areas of engagement. Not only does PwC measure turnover and composition of the workforce, but it also segments data to identify any variability in areas such as disproportionate pay based on gender or exits from the organisation.

Mercy Health’s Group Executive Director – People Learning and Culture, Kate McCormack, told me that in its efforts to attract the best talent, Mercy Health has transformed its traditional recruitment and performance management models. It has reduced its position descriptions to one page and eliminated performance reviews. Taking stakeholder involvement in the workforce to a new level, Mercy Health involves its Residential Aged Care residents in the recruitment and performance management of its Care Companions in their newly established Small Household Living site.

This transformation extends to how people learn how to lead. There is a significant shift in this space and Xero is responding to this.

Xero’s Chief Customer, People and Marketing Officer, Rachael Powell, told me that while Xero always ran a Managing at Xero program for new managers, it had identified it a content gap. The program did not support Executive and General Managers and above to create positive environments where people could do the best work of their lives. The organisation responded. It piloted a program with an organisational psychologist to assist in supporting the people experience function. The program brought together Xero’s senior leaders and gave them an opportunity to network, learn from each other, and equipped them to take their learnings back to their offices and embed these new concepts.

Best in Class organisations are modelling a new HR narrative that is contemporary and resourceful. Traditional recruitment and retention models are a thing of the past. Effective people leaders and HR teams need to adapt to Australia’s rapidly changing work landscape and implement initiatives that embrace, rather than defy, these changes.

What interesting or different recruitment and retention approaches have you implemented in your workplace?

Read the full Best in Class report for more examples of what leading organisations in Australia are doing to attract and retain the best people.