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The future of Human Resources

by Caroline Buhagiar | 24 Aug. 2016

Many HR professionals fear that their time has come. Big data and sophisticated systems will take over the HR function.

Well, some of the latter is already happening but the HR function will remain a big part of the business as companies become more complex and the pace of change will continue to increase.

Here are some tips of how HR can continue to bring value to the business and which are the things it needs to focus on.

HR will need to become slim and outsource their day to day administrative tasks.

Self service systems will be easily accessible by employees who will enter their employment data directly once hired or even during onboarding. Thus eliminating the need of a headcount in the HR function to do that. Recruitment and payroll have long been outsourced and this will be amplified in the coming years. Items that refer to Employment regulations will move to outside experts / consultants who will specifically focus on those and thus another item is off the tasks.

Strategic thinking will need to be mastered by all HR Managers/Directors.

HR needs to reposition itself as a strategic partner within the business. This has been written about extensively by Professor Dave Ulrich and documented in many of his articles and books. HR needs to earn the seat on the table of top executives. If they are not there, it is a clear sign that the function is not seen strategic by the business. HR needs to be able to predict human capital trends, people value and drive the talent pipeline or succession pipeline with the business leaders. This type of role cannot be outsourced.

Moving again towards the “specialist” role. More recently we have seen the HR professionals becoming Generalists and now there is a shift towards becoming Specialists again. As organizations and employment regulations become more complex, HR will need to readjust its core competencies to adapt to the ever changing demands of the business landscape.

Increase capability through “analytics” and “big data”. In the coming decade, the career of HR professionals will be determined more so than ever by the analysis of data and metrics. We have covered this topic in one of our HR Network Series back in May. Although HR already uses some metrics such as turnover ratios and employee engagement levels, you can expect to see new metrics that will need to be analysed and mastered. Example include; the average timeframe for staff to be ready for promotion, or percentage of top candidates to be hired within the organization. New hires might be needed in the HR department to accommodate the increased use of analytics. We acknowledge the fact that at a global level, many HR professionals lack this competence.

Managing a remote workforce will be the new norm. As the world becomes more global and no boundaries, the workforce will evolve accordingly. In the infographic, “The Workforce of 2020” clearly shows that “remote working” in many companies will become the norm. Without a doubt, HR will increasingly have to tackle the challenge of managing a remote workforce. But remote management isn’t an easy skill and HR has the responsibility to prepare managers and employees to work efficiently and effectively.

HR as a function has a lot of work ahead. It needs to up its game, as business leaders demand more and shorter time frames. HR needs to become an agile learner, embracing technology and business literacy.

Caroline Buhagiar is an avid and passionate HR professional who has worked in large multinational companies in Europe, US and Asia. She is fluent in manufacturing excellence, business excellence, building HR capability and driving
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