CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Thomas Volkert, director Business HR, EMEA
Article Type: Practitioner profile From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 11, Issue 5
HR executives share their experience in human resources
Thomas VolkertThomas Volkert is based at SuccessFactors.
SuccessFactors, a SAP company, is a leading provider of cloud-based business execution software, delivering business alignment, team execution, people performance, and learning management solutions to organizations of all sizes across more than 60 industries. Today, the company has more than 3,500 customers in more than 168 countries and spanning 35 languages.
Thomas Volkert is director Business HR, EMEA at SuccessFactors. With experience of building HR teams and structures in Europe, China, Australia and Japan, Volkert utilizes his 20 years plus of HR expertise and knowledge on talent and performance management to bring a strong and clear direction to the company’s HR global structure. He relishes the challenge ofworking with a company like SuccessFactors, with its dynamic global growth and acquisitive nature.
The trends impacting HR
“For many organizations,2011 was about survival,” says Thomas Volkert. “Boom times allow for flexibility. Bad times demand delivery on performance. The weak economy has put talent management center stage with a return to fundamentals and more stringency for managing by objectives.”
He continues: “It might have been a painful time for some, but it’s a positive trend for the industry and for business as a whole. We’re also seeing much more emphasis placed on accountability around organizational goals, metrics and quotas, which impacts everything from performance to profitability. There’s also been much more integration and a desire for economies of scale in HR. Moving forward, there are three main macroeconomic trends that will impact the talent management space – an ageing workforce, shortage of skilled labor in certain industries, and the war for talent as economies come out of recession.”
HR embracing social learning
“As more employees reach retirement age, companies are beginning to lose highly-skilled workers, which is obvious,” says Volkert. “As a result, corporate leaders are turning their focus on existing employees to determine what attributes are needed in the next leaders, who fits this profile and what needs to be done to make them successful. This in turn is putting workforce planning and workforce analytics software in the spotlight. The concept of leadership identification and development isn’t new – it’s the fact that companies are designating resources, creating departments and training specifically for the purpose of identifying these ‘high potentials’ and ‘A’ players early on, and then determining how to most effectively develop them.”
Volkert believes HR is able to embrace all formats of communication and technology to drive increased effectiveness, including peer-to-peer learning, and technologies that enable social and mobile learning. “The convergence of social media with advances in learning technologies, and their adoption by individuals and large enterprises alike is helping to drive learning as a whole,” says Volkert. “It’s not just the innovation that’s pushing social learning to the fore. It’s the sheer volume of social tools, toys and techniques that have become cool, accessible and hard wired into our daily culture.”
“As organizations begin to embrace social media in the workplace, the concept of social learning is fundamentally changing the rules about what’s possible, and the way we want to learn at work. While many employees find this exciting, some employers may be a bit nervous. Yet despite initial concerns, proactive companies are embracing social technologies and seeing real, tangible, benefits.”
What about the Millennial generation?
“Within all industries, and HR is no exception, you need to stay one step ahead and look to the future to plan for today,” says Volkert.
He continues: “Let’s not forget that by 2020, the Millennial generation will account for 50 percent of the working population and will represent the majority of the workforce. As Millennials consume information in different ways than their Gen X and Boomer counterparts, it’s no longer enough for companies to connect to potential employees via traditional communications channels such as newspapers and online job boards.”
“Challenges in managing global workforces, such as implementing shared values, exerting HQ control over a globally dispersed workforce, constraints and freedoms, and respecting diversity, and the need for organizations to act ‘glocal’ will continue to push technology innovation in social, mobile and analytics, paving the way for better talent management, development and planning.”
About the author
Thomas Volkert, as Director of Business HR for SuccessFactors EMEA, has worked in the HR and personnel industry for more than 20 years. He is an expert and keen speaker on numerous HR and people management topics, ranging from strategic planning, project management and performance management to organizational development and employment law. Thomas Volkert can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org