The Future of Human Resources (Study Compilation)

October 7, 20192:50 pm
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The global economy is continuously being shaken by disruptive forces that will affect both social and professional life. Not only will the day-to-day work of employees and the tools they use change, but also entire organisational processes, such as the way companies find, reward, and retain talent. The days of Human Resources (HR) as we know it at present would “probably” no longer exist in the future. As an example, the increasing degree of process automation might reduce the implication for the level of specialisation required of HR employees and investment in the HR department.

Many HR leaders have also renamed their functions, using terms such as employee experience or people which implicitly transform the fundamental changes to business outcomes that HR drives. In terms of enterprises, for instance, human resources should take lead to be more social by driving innovation and agility through workforce department. Meanwhile, in the workforce, HR leaders should orchestrate workforce experience to invigorate teamwork and productivity while advancing the workplace to enable better workforce collaboration.

See also: Don’t Act Like the Old: The Evolution of Human Resource Department

Plausible scenarios to illustrate the future of HR  

Some scenarios of the basis for decision-making that will shape the future and have the potential to drive human resources work under one umbrella term comes as follows:

Ø HR 4.0 scenario

Most HR solutions are highly automated and employers are investing in recruiting and retaining the best talent. This leads to customised offerings and a thriving relationship between employers and employees.

Ø 1984 scenario

The relationship between employers and employees has been reduced to a mere exchange of work for money. Combined with a high level of automation in the HR departments, this leads to standardised, low-cost HR solutions.

Ø Old school in a new sharing world scenario

Employers are interchangeable. At the same time, stagnating economic development and difficulties in automating HR solutions have made employers reluctant to invest in their workforce.

Ø Only-humanity-matters scenario

Companies are personal career partners for their employees. The return to old values and more stringent data regulations paired with a positive economic outlook results in personalised HR processes where human interaction is still the key.

The four scenarios above imply that the future of human resources depends greatly on the employer-employer relationship that does not undermine the degree of employees present in the workplace.

“As the world of business and work evolves, the HR organisation will need to rethink and adapt its mission and its operations.” – Accenture

Trends that are reshaping the future of HR

Overall, HR needs to do more than adjusting to emerging realities of technology that reshaping our world of work HR will need to be highly agile to support new business strategies and models, as well as enable companies to the fast-moving competitive threats and opportunities. Tomorrow’s workforce will need to be ramped up and scaled back on demand, said Accenture researcher. This will demand a very different set of HR and talent management practices that better suit a highly volatile, global, and knowledge- and information-oriented age.

That being said, human resource leaders should be aware of these trends.

  1. Tapping skills globally as HR need to quickly access critical skills on-demand, when and where they are needed.
  2. Managing people as a workforce of one which means HR should treat each employee individually, with customised HR and talent management solutions.
  3. The rise of the extended workforce as the new HR’s mission and mandate to maximise workforce’s strategic value.
  4. Be and do digital – a range of technologies are transforming how people carry out their work which also transforms how HR supports employees.
  5. Reconfiguring the Global talent landscape to adapt to a more global world, match talent with tasks in various locations, and support mobile workforces across geographic barriers.
  6. Employee experience – HR will evolve from a stand-alone function to one that spans disciplines and boundaries to deliver cross-functional, holistic employee experience.
  7. Risk and privacy in complexity, thus HR need to adopt risk-management strategies covering everything from confidential data to the turnover of talent.
  8. Agile organisation which implies that HR will, in the future, play a more critical role in enabling companies to adapt to changing business conditions.
  9. Scientific insights and analytics which will provide HR with new tools to drive workforce performance.
  10. Social media drives the demarcation of work – implying that knowledge workers will harness social media to collaborate, radically disrupting organisational structures, hierarchies, and job titles.

How to prepare for the future

Jill Goldstein told SHRM that the future of HR is no longer about staying on top of current HR trends, but to reposition themselves to become workforce advisors that eventually benefited the workforce and its people.

Thus, with the aforementioned trends, HR professionals should understand that the strategy to achieve success in the future will differ from what you are doing today. Upskilling and reskilling are two must options. Meanwhile, you should also start adapting to the new game plan by embracing more technology and analytics – be a scientific human resource professional. At the same time, you should focus on people and stay alert with the global business update and internal company’s update. 

Experts’ advice

To survive the future, here are forward-thinking leaders’ advice for human resource professionals.

  • Focus on a new mindset that recognises the accelerating speed of change in the digital era.
  • Focus on reshaping the HR function and its value to the business using tech and new skills that can exploit the significant value and competitive advantage of data and analytics.
  • Focus on recognising and embracing workforce shaping as critical to success in creating and sustaining the workforce of the future.
  • Focus on pursuing a deeper understanding of employee skills, strengths, goals, and purpose while creating custom-made employee experiences.
  • Focus on preparing for the advance of AI/ML and its integration into the collaborative future workforce
  • Focus on valuing employees as ‘customers’ in the increasingly digital, global, and agile world of work.
Sources:

Deloitte:The Future of Enterprise Demands a New Future of HR

Deloitte:Human Resources in 2030 – A glimpse into the future

SHRM:HR 2025: 7 Critical Strategies to Prepare for the Future of HR

Accenture:The Future of HR” (pdf)

KPMG:The Future of HR 2019: in the Know or in the No” 

Read also: 2 Best Ways to Structure Human Resource Department as Your Business is Growing