The role of HR professionals is almost unrecognizable compared to that of yesteryear. Once a transactional operation, HR now has become a business of highly skilled consultants. The rapid evolution of cloud technology gives HR more time to be strategic advisers versus their historical HR (e.g. hiring, benefits enrollment and payroll). Now faced with new challenges, the question is, will HR respond accordingly during this opportunistic time?
According to a recent Bersin by Deloitte study, only 30 percent of respondents believe HR has a reputation for sound business decisions, and a mere 28 percent feel that HR is highly efficient. On the other hand, 22 percent believe that HR is adapting to the changing needs of their workforce. So what does the future entail?
Several key changes are under way, but here are two major expectations of the “new” HR professional:
- HR is shifting from “service providers” to business-savvy enablers. HR professionals of leading organizations operate from a results-driven mindset, delivering greater customer service and operational efficiency. These professionals are business experts, problem solvers and agile enough to help guide leaders in the right direction.
- Professional development and research are the bread and butter of HR. Companies interested in long-term viability recognize the importance of continually developing their people. Those that use external data to build better strategies outperform their competitors. Don’t take my word for it – check the stats.
A study by the IBM Institute of Business Value and the Said Business School at the University of Oxford sought to describe the growing phenomenon of big data and analytics. They found that when compared to companies that rely on traditional analytics alone, organizations that implemented big-data pilots were 15 percent more likely to report a significant advantage from their information. Meanwhile, an astounding 75 percent of leaders cite growth as the key source of value from analytics.
How Businesses Can Help
Companies’ commitment to provide HR with the proper tools is paramount to the success of HR departments and will in turn drive accountability. HR professionals must become trusted business advisers; here are two examples of how companies can help:
- Embed HR into the business. Locality plays a big role in business efficiency. Research shows when HR lives and works close to the rest of the business, its impact is greater. Rather than locating HR in teams across different area codes or outsourcing its role entirely, keep the department together.
- Don’t underestimate the power of education. Especially as business evolves and technology covers more ground, HR professionals at all levels need professional development. Focus on key capabilities such as business acumen, analytical skills, project management and consulting.
In order for HR to step up to the plate, businesses first must define HR’s role and give it the tools it needs to succeed. By doing so, HR can better assist the organization’s efforts. As HR pursues its own journey adapting to this new role, companies must encourage the process if any positive change is going to happen. What’s your plan?