Like all professions HR is constantly evolving and redefining itself as a profession. This is as it should be, the business world demands it. The key to the ongoing success of this evolution is to ensure that the profession remains up to date, current and directly aligned to the business goals it supports. Better still to be one step ahead and anticipating future needs and trends. Unfortunately, past experience suggests HR has not always stepped up to the plate when asked to contribute and frustrates business leaders who feel compelled to demand more from their HR Teams.
In this brief article I would like to outline current HR trends, list key HR competencies professionals in this field should seek to display, reference emerging challenges for HR and finally suggest what Business Leaders really want of their HR support colleagues.
Over the last decade or so, the following trends and strategic intent have emerged in respect of the HR profession, as I see it.
(a) Significant outsourcing of HR activity
(b) Reduced size and layering of HR functions
(c) Reduced number of HR Generalists on HR Teams
(d) Increased number of Individual Contributors and HR Specialists
(e) Much stronger focus on use of Technology to drive HR efficiency & effectiveness
(f) Exciting emergence of HR Data Analytics in an effort to build more robust decision-making
(g) As a direct result of (f), closer liaison between HR and IT
Modern Day HR Competency Profile
To succeed and grow within HR, some key competencies are now rising to the top and are being demanded, but are also enabling HR widen and deepen its influence. They focus on:
(a) Strong and trusted Business ally to senior leadership
(b) Effective Organisational structure designer
(c) Comfortable with and aware of Technology
(d) The guardian of Organisation Culture
(e) Champion of change enablement
(f) Talent minder & nurturer
(g) Proactive operational action taker
Today’s HR Challenges
Today’s HR challenges haven’t changed that much over the last decade or so. They reflect the reality of globalisation and the never ending search for greater business effectiveness. The list includes:
(a) Winning the talent war through finding, developing, engaging and retaining resources
(b) Becoming more strategically aware and being accepted as a Business Partner
(c) Building a unique Employer brand, in an effort to become the employer of choice
(d) Embedding agility, flexibility and adaptability into the Organisation psyche
(e) Embracing the use of Technology
(f) Recognising the employee population as an asset, but an asset that has to generate and deliver a measureable return.
So what do Business Leaders demand of HR
Taking all of the above into account and distilling it into real helpful meaning for Business Leaders, sees them demand the following of their HR Teams.
(a) Maintaining a strong, full Leadership Pipeline
(b) Growing and developing Talent at all levels
(c) Making more use of new Technology to help teams collaborate & share
(d) Keeping the Organisation change capable
(e) Ensuring the Organisation Structure is fit for purpose at all times and remodelled to suit changing needs
(f) Moulding an Organisation culture that supports the Organisations Strategy
(g) Supporting decision-making through better use of workforce analytics
Asking and demanding a lot I know, but HR can deliver and position itself to become a trusted ally of & to the Business and its senior leaders. Doing so will earn the right to be seen as one of them.