McLean & Company directors tackle burnout, skills-based hiring

Sneak peek of their keynote speeches at upcoming HR conference

McLean & Company directors tackle burnout, skills-based hiring

McLean & Company, a Canadian HR research and advisory firm, kicks off its Signature 2022 HR conference tomorrow in Ontario.

HRD America has been granted a preview of two keynote speeches tackling two hot topics in the HR industry.

Kelly Berte, director of HR research and advisory services at McLean, will explore how HR departments can help workforces adapt to the new world of work while addressing their own wellbeing. Inspired by the latest burnout research from McLean, Berte will focus on how HR leaders can truly support their employees’ mental health.

Read more: TaskHuman CEO: Investing in mental health will help your company in these four ways

“We see organizations combatting or addressing burnout by putting forth solutions that are more about being a great place to work rather than addressing the causes of burnout,” Berte told HRD. “You can be a great place to work and still burn out people.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, HR leaders have been providing mental health support by adding and expanding benefits and perks, such as wellness stipends, additional paid time off (PTO) and subscriptions to popular meditation apps like Headspace and Calm. While these well-being initiatives may temporarily help employees cope with stress, Berte argues they fail to address the systemic influences, resulting in an infinite cycle of employees re-experiencing burnout.

“Employees have been left to their own devices to try to help themselves,” Berte says. “Burnout still has this stigma of that’s a ‘you problem.’ We need organizations to think differently, realizing it’s a ‘we problem.’”

According to McLean’s research, there are six sources of burnout in the workplace: workload, role clarity and autonomy, supervisor and coworker relationships, recognition and rewards, fairness and equity, and employee and organizational value alignment.

In her keynote address, Berte aims to help organizations both think and act differently, shifting HR leaders’ focus toward burnout prevention and developing norms that promote the long-term health and well-being of employees.

Meanwhile, Berte’s fellow director of HR research and advisory services, Janet Clarey, will be discussing how an internal talent marketplace has the potential to fundamentally change how an organization of any size grows and moves talent to simultaneously meet employee needs and strategic priorities.

“There’s currently a shift toward a skills-based talent sharing model,” Clarey told HRD. “It’s a new era of talent management driven by technological advances, namely the use of AI to match people to numerous opportunities in an organization.”

Read more: ‘If I can get three solid years out of an employee, that’s a huge testament’

Talent acquisition was the original use for talent marketplaces, Clarey says. By relying upon the tech, recruiters can spend less time chasing down job candidates to fill roles because HR leaders now have the ability to optimize internal talent, easily identifying employees’ skills, interests and aspirations. In addition, talent marketplaces can benefit learning and development throughout an organization.

“Through the use of AI, it can also infer skills and look at large amounts of data to see what are up-and-coming skills we might need to upskill employees on, especially if we want to redeploy them,” Clarey says. “We know from our research that employees are nervous or concerned about having the skills they need in the next five years to improve on the job. They’re even afraid they’ll lose their job to automation or not having those necessary skills.”

In her keynote address, Clarey will break down what exactly is a talent marketplace, its purpose, the drivers and risks behind it, the HR considerations, the technology enablement and how it can promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in one’s company. “There have been a lot of horror stories around AI and bias,” Clarey says. “If you haven’t done the upfront work with the data, if it’s already biased, it will learn to be more biased.”

More than a dozen of the world’s largest employers agree that bias is a major issue when it comes to algorithms for recruitment, prospecting and hiring purposes. At the end of 2021, the Data & Trust Alliance formed to focus on responsible data and AI practices. Members include Walmart, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), IBM, American Express, CVS Health, General Motors, Humana, Mastercard, Nielsen, Nike, Under Armour, Deloitte and Diveplane.

The Alliance plans to adopt criteria to mitigate data and algorithmic bias in HR and workforce decisions, including recruiting, compensation and employee development. Safeguards include 55 questions in 13 categories that can be adapted by companies to evaluate vendors on criteria, including training data and model design, bias testing methods, bias remediation, transparency, accountability and AI ethics and diversity commitments.

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