My career has taken many a turn over the years and my latest opportunity came up after chatting with a Career and Life Coach and a Recruitment Consultant at a birthday party, a few Proseccos and a telephone call later and we were invited to record a pilot podcast for US audiences on a Business Radio Network. The questions were posed from a layman’s point of view and I was interviewed as the HR specialist, which gave me a certain glow of pride, I don’t mind telling you.
I was expecting an easy time talking through what the HR department does in different organisations and how this influences the direction of the business, strengths, USP etc. I was very happy however to instead be asked about my predictions for the future and the challenges that HR and employees alike face – something to get my teeth into!
I thought, dear readers, that I’d also share a morsel of the interview with you to see if you have any thoughts you’d like to add as I’m more than sure that this is in no way a definitive list.
Q1. Is HR changing?
Yes, HR is changing and so it should. The rate of change in industry should be met with the people support that it needs. HR needs to be as agile and adaptable as the industry it supports. The onset of the 4th industrial revolution that the Forbes article mentions has been anticipated for a long time. The replacement of people with AI and global networks of remote workers has been discussed in HR circles before. Hr needs to not just respond to the current changes of the working environment but also to predict the future needs of the organisation in the industry and markets that it operates in.
I think that HRs are working smarter. Working together with information at our fingertips, connected via social media and building our networks and knowledge by interacting with HRs at all levels across the world. HR like specialisms such as marketing is responding quickly to an ever changing world and we’re doing it like good HR professionals should – using our people skills to connect and develop ourselves and each other.
Q2. What is your projected view of the immediate future of HR?
I think that HR will very much go in the same direction as industry as a whole, it has to. I can’t see a time where people are obsolete or completely replaced by AI that can auto match candidates, generate reports, and analyse them etc – what about the human element, personality? However, I think that the practice of HR will change. There will be a greater emphasis on managing change and culture, especially with the growth of remote and flexible working patterns. Also we have to see that with each generation that are building our industries there are differing expectations and requirements. Baby boomers are less prolific yet still may hold the highest of seats at the board table. Millennials are the future leaders (and fast climbing current middle leaders) who work in a different way. They have grown up with internet and global connectivity and a world of work open to them that no other generation had ever seen.
Big data has been a long discussed topic. What are we collecting? How are we using this data? HR are looking to build future proofs into their people strategy but as with everything it is only a projection – that’s why the key to successful future planning for all is agility. A quick changing model in a superfast changing global market.
I think that there is a drive for creating and supporting resilient teams through a greater emphasis on wellbeing with creative people development offerings for a diverse employee base.
Also I see that performance management will need to change. The annual performance review is outdated and not in keeping with the idea of building an organisation for the future. More rounded and constant feedback (360 degrees) will help to create and develop teams as a whole and I see software programmes bringing a large chunk of development planning and mapping to the fore. People can access MOOCs (Massive open online courses) and structure their personal development better than before. Development will continue to be an overarching action, not just the addressing of prescribed specific interventions by organisations onto employees.
For me, the cohesion of all of these forward thinking measures is held in the creating and maintaining of a healthy supportive culture within the organisation that underpins everything that you do.
This is merely a snapshot of the full discussion and I hope that I will be able to share more details with you as they unfurl. As always please do comment and share your experiences, thoughts and future predictions. I wish a Happy and Successful 2017 to you all, Natalie.