Andy Jung from Deloitte Consulting: "I don't think HR will be called HR anymore."
📌 Read the interview with Andy Jung to find out what HR trends will emerge in 2021 and what people have learned through the world pandemic.
Today, we are ready to present you our new super inspiring interview with Andy Jung from Deloitte Consulting.
Andy is an incoming HR Transformation Consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Previously, he worked at Mercer, Forbes and most recently at Assurant where he focused on HR analytics, strategy and operations.
He is also finishing up his M.S. in Human Capital Management at Columbia University and is looking forward to continuing to partner with leaders and organizations to make powerful and positive impacts in the world of work.
AO: Good day, Andy and welcome! We are happy you invest time to talk with us. Let's start!
Andy, did you work somewhere before becoming an HR professional, why did you decide to become an HR?
AJ: When I got out of college, I knew that I wanted to positively impact and change organizations, but that was such a broad goal. My first job out of school was in Mercer's health and benefits consulting practice. I then had the opportunity to work in analytics at Forbes and I held some different roles in between.
But I felt purposeless and so I started reading. Eventually, I read the NYT series on the future of work and how Google leveraged statistics to make teams more effective. I was also reading McKinsey Organization articles and Deloitte's Future of Work reports. My CHRO and CEO also shared a couple of books with me: The Self-Made Billionaire Effect and The Goal.
Eventually, with self-education, I saw gaps between many organizations' HR practices and the potential of the function and I saw opportunities to get involved in the future of HR.
AO: It turns out that you got into the HR sphere quite consciously. Can you share your thoughts on why HR is an important function in any organization?
AJ: This might be long. However, the world is changing fast and therefore organizations and HR functions need to respond to those changes to survive. Historically, organizations have been designed for efficiency to respond to predictable environments.
In the era of Taylorism – think the 1950s – top-down control and less employee freedom allowed for simplified and standardized output. The industrial age was characterized by repetitive and standardized tasks, high levels of certainty and transactions. Now, think about how many people still work like this and while it made sense in the past, it does not make sense today in our dynamic, flexible environment that has high levels of uncertainty with blurred borders. Technological advances, low barriers to entry resulting in new competitors – think Airbnb's story- and many other external changes have created this enormous need for organizational agility – even before the pandemic – to survive.
So, work needs to change. The outside business world is also starting to look at human capital differently now.
A couple of years ago, the Business Roundtable, a group of Fortune 500 leaders, redefined the role of a corporation to serve more stakeholders – namely people and society – and not just its shareholders.
Recently, the SEC is beginning to look at human capital metrics more closely now, meaning that investors are starting to look at human capital now. And HR is in a good position to start behaving more strategically and create more value: over the past decade, we've seen the rise of the CHRO, thereby placing more opportunities and pressure for HR to positively impact their organizations.
Work is fundamentally different than it was even a couple of years ago and is always changing: for example, people can make a living by shooting YouTube videos or playing video games or they can engage in the gig economy. In a war for talent, the needs of the multi-generational workforce are different than they were a couple of years ago. Because needs are always changing, skills are always changing too and they need to be replaced every year or two years. And while technology won't replace us, it will automate transactional tasks and augment the work so that HR professionals can work on more strategic items.
And this all falls under the domain of "HR." It is mind-blowing how people still perceive HR as the organization's police force or just people who answer questions about paychecks; HR is directly involved in navigating the future of any organization and directly impacting the millions or billions of people – employees and customers – and the millions and billions of dollars that are impacted by and within that organization.
AO: Thanks a lot for such a detailed answer.
Andy, you described all the changes that happened over the last time. And where do you see the HR industry in the next 5 years?
AJ: I think HR will need to rebrand. When I talk to friends or even employees within my organization, they talk about HR like HR is the police or just another back-office function. They usually just go to HR for questions about benefits or their paycheck.
HR, in general, will need to continue to do these transactions while providing an impeccable employee experience, but they also need to continue to become more strategic because the rapidly changing nature of the world will require this.
Part of becoming more strategic will require them to redefine their identity in the organization, especially if they are known to be much more transactional. In the near future, I don't think HR will be called HR anymore; however, whatever the field becomes, it will be an extremely fun and challenging field to be in.
AO: What types of tools do you think every HR should be using in 2021?
Machine Learning/AI to provide recommendations/insights.
Employee listening tools to better the employee experience.
User-friendly collaboration tools (i.e. Asana, Slack, Zoom, Google Docs).
AO: And what HR trends do you think will emerge in 2021?
AJ: Greater Investment in HR Technology – Technology is needed to allow HR and the organization to operate much more efficiently and strategically. Different HR technologies will allow for integrated and comprehensive human capital solutions, automation, employee listening/feedback, AI, and realizing further value in the HR Analytics pyramid. Technology won’t eliminate jobs, but will change many of them as we’ve seen from moving into digital environments.
Employee Experience – One way to measure success is by measuring the employee experience because employees are HR’s customers. Our job as HR professionals is to navigate the complexities and paradoxes while delivering value to all stakeholders, but especially our employees because our employees deliver value to the business’s customers. This can require new ways of thinking for some HR organizations and it wouldn’t be surprising if more engaged in design thinking, implementing user personas and journey maps.
AO: Can you name three areas that you feel need the most improvement, based on your understanding of common HR practices?
AJ: 1. Skills and capabilities.
2. Employee experience.
3. HR Analytics, specifically the evolution from reporting to analytics.
AO: Andy, you said that books changed some of your thoughts regarding the HR sphere and in general helped you find your place.
And what about people? Can you name one (or several) HR experts whose work do you highly appreciate or take as an example?
AJ: A lot of the thought leadership from the consultancies. It may sound a bit biased now, but I've always liked Deloitte's annual Global Human Capital Trends reports or even the McKinsey Organization blog posts. Brené Brown. Josh Bersin. Adam Grant. I had the chance to speak with John Sumser in a Digital HR class and he made me think about the function differently. Andrew Spence's blogs also made me think about the future of HR differently as well.
AO: Let's now move to the new hires training aspect. How does the onboarding of new employees go into your company?
AJ: So, I recently left my previous company for a new role however the onboarding process had both formal and informal parts to it. What I liked the most about it was that it was continuously improving and they used data to better the employee experience.
AO: Well and if the company you work on now were a person, what kind of person would it be?
AJ: My previous employer, Assurant, would be someone trustworthy with strong values. I am actually currently between roles and will start at Deloitte Consulting's human capital practice later this month. Based on my interactions, my image of them is one of a very strong “team player” and an intelligent, agile leader. You’ll have to ask me again later this year, but over the past couple of months, every interaction with the HR Transformation practice has been high-energy, insightful and positive.
AO: Andy, what is the most valuable professional development advice you have ever gotten?
AJ: The most valuable professional development advice was to own your career. A corporation will usually train and develop you in the way they need, but you need to balance that with where you're trying to go as well. Another one was to be the best at whatever I did.
AO: Great! And our last question. Try to remember what was the funniest/most unusual incident during your HR practice?
AJ: Well, after we moved from the office to Zoom, I think it's always funny when I see the human parts of my peers – the babies, dogs and cats who pop up in Zoom. I was in a meeting where someone was juggling both a crying baby and a pet. That's when we both started laughing at the situation and chose to reschedule our meeting.
Through this pandemic, we've learned to give each other understanding and grace.
AO: Great conclusion came at the end! Thanks a lot, Andy, for your inspiring interview. AcademyOcean wishes you all the best in your career!
That's all for today, friends. See you at the next interview!
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