How HR is facing challenges?


Lately, we’ve been working on a range of challenges related to Human Resources (HR) – the efficient use of external expertise such as recruiters, the design of new ways to successfully co-working across silos, or the creation of systems able to develop new internal capabilities.

That Yale diploma is not enough anymore

During all these projects it became evident that HR are undergoing substantial changes that are driven by megatrends such as personalization and digitalization. For example, zooming into an applicant’s journey reveals the potential of super-targeted and inclusive job-ads, and social media or programmatic advertising, to only mention few of the micro- and macrotrends during the consideration phase, one of first phases along the recruitment journey.

Even if this already sounds complicated to implement, it is only the beginning. Once one starts looking beyond the mere hiring process, many more challenges await to be overcome. Discussions revolve around popular skillsets that companies demand today.

The rise of 21st century skills

Some still call them ‘soft skills’, others subsume them under the term of ‘21st century skills’. Though not replacing a diploma from a renowned university, these skills are considered more and more important when searching for the perfect candidate. In the face of multidisciplinary work teams or digital transformation, skills such as creativity, critical thinking or collaboration become key assets able to compensate for the lack of a perfectly matching diploma.

But, how to find, assess and train these skills in an efficient way? As soon as one starts digging deeper, that question ultimately starts relating to culture and, of course, to people. This is usually when things get messy – neither for people, nor for culture is there a straightforward right or wrong in decision making, and still, we need to find an efficient way of assessing, training, or laying people off.

Start with the employees

From our experience on the projects mentioned in the beginning, a human-centric approach that identifies the primary stakeholders involved (i.e. employees or potential employees) and detects the major needs and pain points is key when designing new solutions, for different reasons.

First, for most employees HR is the very first touchpoint with a company. We all know that first impressions count, especially when applicants feel that the process is designed for them, and that they are taken seriously and treated with respect.

Second, when a new technology disrupts a market, we have the chance to overcome outdated and flawed behaviors or systems by designing better, digital versions. But in order to do so, we need to understand where flaws lie buried. Asking your employees – the people that know your company best – for sure is a good starting point.

Third, in an ever more competing market around talent, a high salary is not the only reason why people want to join a new company. With a truly user-centric approach along the whole employee-journey, you have a chance to observe, understand, and act to demonstrate your employees that you care. And this, we are convinced, will count more and more in the near future.

By Barbara Schnyder, Business Associate


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