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Keeping up to speed

Posted on from Changeboard

For Alex Lowe, industry head at Google, the world today is “as slow as it’s ever going to be”. He explores how organisations can respond to continual, rapid change and what this means for tomorrow’s workforce.

How is the world changing from a digital perspective and how can organisations respond to this pace of change?

The pace of change will drive variety in terms of the roles available and the way people pursue their careers, so organisations need to be ready for this.

Each year, 900 million job and career-related searches are made through mobile devices on Google, while 67 million are made on YouTube. Your talent audience is already there – so you need to ensure you are too. Ask yourself: ‘If not now, when?’ as the pace is accelerating at unintelligible speed.

If you’re responsible for your HR website, you need to ensure that the content, whether for internal or external candidates, works well across all mobile devices.

The youngest audiences are using YouTube more than Google to research information. So there’s an increased appetite for video content to help convey the ethos of the business, your strategy and what it’s like to work there. And for internal candidates looking for promotion or development, video is a great way to tell stories.

However, you need to establish how you can intelligently put video into your overall communications strategy – use it to tell a good story rather than just as content that could work well in print.

With so many processes now automated, are we in danger of losing the human touch when it comes to talent?

Technology should never get in the way of the human touch. Technological advancements often go unnoticed – they just free you up to do other things. For example, with anti-lock braking in a car, you simply hit the pedal – the technology does the complicated stuff for you and you effortlessly do the task you want. Good, sustainable tech makes things easier. 

How can organisations effectively promote collaboration and innovation in the workplace?

There are two sides to this: the physical and the cultural. Most workspaces can be configured to promote collaboration without having to spend a fortune on real estate or fixtures. Whatever the space, you can look to ways you can be more collaborative in terms of orientation.

At Google, we don’t expect people to stay stuck at their desks all the time. Being able to work in a different space makes a huge difference – even if that’s just an alternative-style chair or area where you can chat with colleagues. Video conferencing rooms also help bring people together from all corners of the globe.

We also conduct regular ‘all hands’ sessions, where departments or teams come together for short periods to convey core messages around values, progress and examples of success.

It’s also important for leaders to foster a culture where collaboration and innovation are encouraged without the fear of ‘what happens if I go wrong?’

As long as people fail fast and learn from their mistakes, that’s a constructive experience to go through. 

How can HR help ensure the workforce is ‘fit for purpose’ to navigate continual change?

HR’s assistance in sourcing and developing key talent to help the organisation grow is critical. It’s important to remember that you are hiring individuals who are suited to more than just the role you are employing them for. Examine their potential and appetite to grow with you so that you foster their development.

The closer HR partners are to the core commercial objectives of the business they are supporting, the more they can understand the resources required and who develops well in those roles. They can then support the recruitment and internal development of future talent.

Video: Alex Lowe at the Future Talent Conference

Do you want to learn more about how Google is keeping up to speed with the pace of change, and how you can too? Watch Alex Lowe's full presentation at the Changeboard Future Talent Conference 2014:

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