What Does the Future of HR Look Like?

The future of HR is shaping up to be dramatically different than it's current look and function. As this evolution takes place, organizations turn to the heads of the Human Resources department (typically the CHRO) to lead the charge. Artificial intelligence, people analytics, and local employee performance are just some of the changes in store for the future of HR. Click here to check out our infographic on the future of HR.


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What do some of the greatest minds in HR thought have to say about these industry shifts? Read on to find out.


Which shift do you think will bring about the most opportunity for HR and organizations in the near future? Why?


1. China Gorman, Managing Director America at UNLEASH: "Simply put, mastering the data and using it as the foundation for all people-related functions and initiatives are HR’s biggest opportunities. As the rest of the business masters analytics for better business decisions, HR needs to lead the way in demonstrating the ROI of data-based decisions. This will put HR in the position of becoming a true business partner."

2. Carol Harnett, Benefits columnist at Human Resource Executive: "I believe hiring experienced and talented executives from backgrounds other than human resources will bring a new way of leading companies, their businesses and their people. Case in point during 2017 was Uber’s recruitment of Bozoma Saint John as its Chief Brand Officer in the wake of a sea of HR, operational and brand challenges. While Saint John is a social media and marketing pundit, her focus at Uber has been on rebuilding the rideshare giant’s relationship with both its drivers and riders. She clearly has also taken on boosting the morale of employees, especially in the wake of a rash of firings of senior leaders after more than 200 investigations into misconduct. Saint John is an extraordinary example that human resources is synonymous with corporate brand and business success."


3. Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates: "One of the biggest opportunities for HR in the next several years is learning to leverage data and harness the power of AI, predictive analytics, and behavior economics.  These disciplines, which are now well underway in most companies, will become vital sources of insights for CHROs and other C-level executives in the coming years.  Our research shows that 70% of companies are now heavily investing in People Analytics, for example, and more than 40% believe AI will significantly impact their workforce in the next two years."


Which shift will cause the most conflict for the future of the HR industry? Why? What can HR reps do to make this transition more successful?


1. Tim Sackett, president of HRU Technical Resources: "Collaboration with IT. Right now in most HR shops the HR and TA leaders virtually have no say in what technology they use. IT makes almost 100% of these decisions. That is like IT telling the CFO which accounting software to use! That doesn't happen! And it shouldn't happen in HR and TA. You don't have to be an IT genius to know which platform or system works for your needs better than another. Yes, you do have to know something. Yes, you do have to put in some time and get comfortable with the HR Tech landscape. We, as HR and TA leaders, need to be the ones who choose the technology we use, and we have to make wise decisions on this. IT will be a partner with us in this decision process, they should not be the decision maker in this process."


2. Ben Eubanks, Principal Analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory: "I think the [shift] that will be 'scariest' for HR pros is the idea that they could lose out in a job interview to someone with little to no HR experience simply because that person is phenomenal at using data and evidence to back up decisions and understands the business better than a traditional administrative-minded HR person. At the same time this gives organizations a better chance to capitalize on the value of their people by having someone lead the function without a bunch of preconceived notions and outdated ideas. For HR professionals today, this should light a fire under them to always be innovating and learning in order to stay ahead of the curve."


3. Carol Harnett: "Bringing people into Chief People Officer roles from backgrounds other than HR will be both the greatest opportunity and largest challenge for companies and especially for long-time human resource professionals. Most HR leaders have spent their careers focused on understanding the ever-changing landscape of legislation and regulation, as well as hiring and retaining talent and largely using compensation packages and benefits to accomplish those objectives. When you’ve spent a career focused on employees’ and job candidates’ experience, knowledge, skills and abilities, it is difficult to shift your focus to understanding a potential colleague’s transferable skills."


4. Josh Bersin: "The biggest opportunity for CHROs to add value will be taking their expertise on the people side of the business to push new organization, leadership, and career models to the rest of the C-Suite. Our research clearly shows the need to rethink organizational models to be more agile and the need to redefine leadership models to accommodate the way digital businesses operate. This will force CHROs to pull their C-suite peers together and work closely on these topics as the company becomes “more digital,” more diverse, and more dynamic over the next two years."


More than anything, a successful future for HR depends on organizations’ preparation for the coming changes. To get more HR trends and analytics sent straight to your inbox, subscribe to our blog today.


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Published January 25, 2018 | Written By Christina Thompson