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Mon, Jan

Oracle: HR isn’t dead yet but it must do more to stay relevant

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On the eve of HR Tech World, Oracle is calling on HR leaders to stop focussing on HR process and start playing a bigger role in driving team performance.

The call to action coincides with research the company is conducting with Engage with Success and Ashridge Executive Education, which promises to challenge long-held perceptions around employee engagement and marks the first time that engagement has been examined at a team level rather than from the perspective of individual employees.

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The research team at Ashridge Executive Education, part of Hult International Business School, is mapping team behaviours against the factors which make employees feel engaged, and has broken these down into four “zones of engagement”:

- The zone of engagement: categorised by teams that are productive and proactive about solving problems, and that are positive about working together
- The zone of disengagement: categorised by unproductive teams in which employees see themselves as victims of the system, often preferring to work individually rather than together
- The zone of pseudo-engagement: categorised by teams that are productive but in which employees are self-interested, preferring to make themselves look good to managers rather than contributing to the team’s overall success
- The zone of contentment: categorised by teams that do the bare minimum within their capabilities so they can go home “content”, rather than stretching themselves or thinking of ways to drive the business forward

With a better understanding of the interplay between management approaches, team structures, diversity, employee relationships, and a range of additional factors, HR leaders will gain new insight that will help them play a more proactive role in addressing each team’s specific engagement pain points.
Andy Campbell HCM Strategy Director at Oracle, said: “Despite cries from the boardroom for HR to step up its game, many HR teams are still stuck in the comfort zone of support tasks.

These are still crucial, but they don’t contribute to a hit marketing campaign, or to better sales, or to any of the metrics by which a company measures its success. Supported and enabled by integrated HR systems HR professionals need to step out of their comfort zone and work more closely with each line of business to help them build engaged productive teams.”

Sharon Olivier, Programme Director at Ashridge Executive Education, said: “While the research is still in its final stages, our findings already point to some major surprises that will challenge traditional perceptions of engagement. More than anything, we are coming to understand the real extent to which employees are affected by their team and the dynamic they work in, often placing more value on this immediate group than on the organisation they work for.”

Cathy Brown, Executive Director at Engage for Success, said: “One of the biggest enablers of engagement is what we call the "engaging manager", someone who trusts their employees, treats them as individuals and creates an environment where everyone can give their best. This is just one of the eye opening insights to come out of our research, and we expect more to come as we dig deeper into what really makes teams tick and behave the way they do (or don’t!).”

If you find out more about engagement and its importance, read the previous report on this topic from Oracle’s report here.

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