If you are a HR Professional or aspiring to become one, here are a few thoughts which will give you a wake up and help you reflect on your future steps. As you may be aware the Human Resources function has been going through a transformation right from the beginnings in labour welfare to the current strategic human resources. The Human Resources function is in the centre of yet another transformation which will make or break the function, if the function and its member’s do not make the relevant adaptations. That’s why I am calling this a wakeup call for Human Resources. So what do the HR Professionals need to wake up to? Let me share a few key inputs in no particular order.
Business Focus – The key agenda of the HR Function is to enable delivery of the business goals by leveraging the people in the organization. So HR needs to adopt a business view of understanding the business goals, aligning the hr actions to the business goals and ensuring an impact on the top-line and bottom-line outcomes of the business through HR. This is emerging as a key expectation from the business leaders as they want HR to speak the business language and align everything that HR does to ensure business success.
Champion People – While HR has to deliver the business goals through everything it does, it cannot be at the expense of championing the people issues. HR has a sensitive role to play in an organization – that of a Business Partner and that of an Employee Champion. These two roles may not see eye to eye on all issues and hence the need for HR to play a sensitive role. This will depend on the perception that HR has developed in the organization as whether they are being seen as a Corporate Cop or Management Rep or as a Neutral People Champion. The key expectation is whether HR is representing the employee issues to the leadership team and communicating the leadership messages to the employees. While the business will depend on HR to ensure the terms and conditions of employment, it is the HR’s responsibility to be able to softplay to ensure trust from both employees and business leadership.
HR Analytics – The writing is clear on the wall that a data driven approach alone will help HR to get into the board room. Business wants to know whether the HR Programs and practices are having tangible impact on the business goals. For this HR needs data and HR Analytics has emerged as a critical tool for HR to show the business impact. Be it a monthly dashboard or using software to capture the values created by HR, it’s critical to find out what will be relevant in your organization and do that immediately. HR should also know how to develop a measurement driven mindset as that will form the foundation for this change.
HR Organization – The way the HR Function is organized has been going through a change as well. A significant portion of the HR function is being outsourced – be it payroll or recruitment or hr support. This will continue till a majority of the non value added activities are taken out and only the value adding activities are retained. This is a good move for the HR Professional as it will shift their focus from transactional to transformational tasks. So the question for the HR Professional is whether you are performing a value adding or non value adding task and that can determine your future in the organization.
HR Focus – As a HR Professional, you have to reflect on whether you are working towards HR Effectiveness or Organizational Effectiveness. While the focus on HR effectiveness is good, the emerging expectation is for HR to come out of its silo and focus on the wider organization effectiveness. So the question is whether the HR Professional is focusing on organizational health and effectiveness and that will pave the way to the boardroom.
HR Competencies – Are you up-to-date in terms of the skills and competencies expected of a HR Professional? While the key skills in terms of HR Processes, Legal requirements and others skills are critical, there is a new set of skills which are being expected of the HR Professional. Those of being able to diagnose organizational challenges, design interventions, facilitate change, coach leaders, leverage technology and analytics.
So I have shared a few key inputs on the focus areas for development for the HR Professionals to help them become relevant and up-to-date on expectations from the business. These are key expectations and they continue to influence the evolution of the HR Function and the career path of the HR Professional. A starting point would be to explore the world of Organization Development or gain advanced HR Business Partnering skills to help you acquire skills in the areas I have shared above.
All the best for your learning journey.
Ragland T Gamaliel