Personnel, Human Capital, Human Resources, People Operations – what is the future of HR?

HR has a variety of stereotypes –the hirer, the firer, the policy police, the order taker, the paper pusher… but we have an opportunity to show the value of HR through strategic partnership. By finding ways to improve the HR processes, leverage automation and minimize redundancy HR Partners can find more time for strategic thought. By using this valuable time HR Partners can bring forward creative and valuable ideas to business leaders that enable the business to move forward and delivery results.

As we look back, the evolution of HR brings us from a time when employees were expendable, there was tough working conditions and the idea of pushing employees no matter the cost. Then came the time when employers embraced the idea of “industrial embitterment” to stabilize the workforce and encourage employee loyalty. Next came companies realization that employees wanted opportunities to learn on the job and to be compensated for their work. Employees then started asking for their rights to be protected but also psychological motivators – purpose, mastery of work, etc.

These changes in the in the workforce evolved from labor-based to services-focused and this required HR from being process focused to more employee centric approach. These changes have come about as the workplace and labor markets have evolved. The competitive talent market has forced companies to have to prioritize the retention and attraction of talent. Thishas accelerated HR’s role as a strategic partner and a seat at the executive table.

The future of HR is being a strategic thought partner that adds value by being data driven, process focused and busines minded.

So what is the role of HR tomorrow? HR Leaders will have to be bigger thinkers, technically savvy, and agile to support competing business priorities. HR can add a great deal of value by understanding the big picture of employees, the company and the changing landscape around us.

How can we get there? Understand the employee lifecycle and stages. Employees today are going through a number of life experiences and have different needs through these times. It will be important for employers to understand that employees have different needs that require them to need work life balance through different times. Employees will expect support, accommodations and flexibility. HR will also need to be proactive instead of reactive, this will mean focusing on process improvements, automation, developing leaders and building a culture to retain talent. Employee value proposition will also be important because this is your employment brand to prospective employees and retention message for current employees. It should be consistent with your culture and values, employees will want to know its authentic and experience it themselves. HR professionals will need to leverage data and embrace technology, letting go of the old and using the tools available to them to be more analytical and understand how technology can help improve employee experience, reduce redundancy and errors.