Throughout history, despite the evolution of society, the foundations of the economy remained unchanged. In the era of agriculture, the economy was based on fertile lands. During the industrial era, it was based on production; and, now, in what we can call the era of informatics, the foundation consists of communications, information, and computer technology.
The beginning of the 2000’s marked a new era of talents, mostly because their success on the market created more skilled workers. The new millennium is driven by globalisation, liberalisation, and technological development.
Developments of information and communication technologies (ICT) made the world one single connected system. A new era brings new challenges. These raised new questions regarding the nature of current practices, and the role of specialists in the field of human resources (HR); finding new approaches in functioning and the delivery of their “goods and services.”
Human resources management (HRM) is now faced with a new challenge, creating new models for achievement of global mobility, efficiency, and competitiveness, in order to deal with a severe economic downturn, which has brought many challenges and opportunities to the forefront. The HR department can play a remarkable role, concerning its revised HR strategies, consistent with adverse economic circumstances.
To tackle challenges such as creating new models for achievement of global mobility, efficiency, and competitiveness, Mahmoud Mansi, founder of HR Revolution Middle East and four times TEDx speaker, has founded a new “Shared Development” HR model, which applies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis (SWOT) on the individual level, since all HR approaches now are human capital focused.
According to Mansi’s model, the HR department will introduce the ideas to the employees of different departments, which will reflect how each employee is distinctive and how the organisation is willing to fully utilise the talents and knowledge of each employee. Consequently, each employee will list their own strengths and weaknesses, which include their professional and personal talents.
Moreover, the criteria for choosing the strengths and weaknesses will be inclusive, comprised of every talent, even those that might not be directly related to the job. For example, for an office job, one can list personal talents like these: photography, drawing, painting, cooking, knitting, handwork, etc. They could also include talents directly related to the department and to the organisation.
This data will then be submitted to the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) department, where the employees will be matched, depending on their learning preferences and their teaching capabilities.
The Learning and Development department will take it from there, where they can actually match the suitable employees to “mentor and coach” one another in matters related to work and personal skills. This means that each employee will be both—a mentor and a learner—and, after each coaching session, the learner will grade the mentor and the other way around. This data will reflect in the “performance appraisal sheet,” where learning and mentoring will be added as two new categories. Hence, by the end of the year, there will be a “mentor of the year” and a “learner of the year,” with bonuses being issued upon that.
The Shared Development model can be divided into two sides: One side of it is responsible for increasing the loyalty and engagement between employees from different departments all over the organisation, in order to strengthen trust between them when it comes to work. According to the model these connections, which will be built between employees, can also encourage the emerging of new ideas and projects that would empower the mission and overall strategy. Meanwhile, the other side of the model focuses on increasing the loyalty and engagement towards the organisation itself.
The next step is to encourage “employee branding” and the social responsibility of employees towards their environment. The employees will be also graded upon their civil work activities, using the new skills they have learned from each other to show how employees should have an impact on the society.
How will the model benefit both the organisation and the employee?
As a result of the contemporary global economic crisis, cost control became the organisations’ top priority, so they started to cut down on expenses that do not seem necessary. One of these expenses is the training budget. This leads employees to suffer from a lack of development and HR management.
The severe economic downturn has brought to the forefront many challenges and opportunities. The HR department can play a remarkable role with its revised HR strategies, adopting the Shared Development model, which will allow employees to provide training to one another, in exchange for learning from others. This, in turn, will save the organisation some of its training budget and allow them to completely utilise its human capital.
The cornerstone of the new model is the psychological fact that humans tend to feel happy and greatly enjoy learning a new skill. The same applies to teaching as well, which leads the person to feel their importance and capability to add value to others. Employee happiness is one of the important HR trends nowadays, so through this model, HR management will encourage leadership across all employees and each will witness the two types of achievements: continuously learning and continuously teaching at the same time, all year-round.
Moreover, employees will learn countless skills that are both related and not related to their career. This, in turn, will provide assistance to both the HR department and the employee himself, in cases of career shifts or job rotations, also assisting the employee to be prepared for a manager position while assisting any manager to understand the employee’s interests all over the organisation.
The lesson to be learned from previous recessions, and financial crises, is the erosion of employee commitment to organisations. Cost-cutting measures and other effects from the economic downturn have taken their toll on the employees’ level of trust and loyalty. As a result, many of them are feeling stressed and nervous. The upturn will see some of an organisation’s best and brightest workers leaving, in order to join competitors if their employers do not take immediate steps to motivate and retain them.
Consequently, HR professionals face the problem of employees finding jobs in other organisations, despite their own organisation having invested a lot of money and time into training them. These can be viewed by the organisation as lost assets, and this is part of the problem itself, according to Mansi. He explained in his model that when the employees realise that they are treated as assets, not as human beings, they tend to lose loyalty. “In the Shared Development model, we treat employees as human beings when it comes to development, because we as HR people tend to develop their professional and personal talents,” says Mansi.
This model will also connect different generations and will absolutely diminish any sort of stereotyping by different generations. A step like this is set to aid in giving a voice to Generation Y, the millennials. As an example, a junior employee in a department can have strengths in a certain skill, while a senior employee in another department can have a weakness in the same area. In this case, the junior employee will mentor the senior employee.
Furthermore, employee engagement is one of the issues tackled by the model, as it works on enhancing employee engagement by connecting employees from different departments and establishing a new relationship between them. According to Mansi, “when someone teaches a skill to another, this creates loyalty. So imagine the amount of loyalty created across the organisation. This will indeed empower the organisational culture and encourage creativity.”