Human Resources: Changing Times in HR

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HR is changing as the world of work changes

Human Resources:  Changing Times in HR

The advent of applicant tracking systems and other human resource tech is sometimes the basis of conversation about the relevancy of HR.  From its beginnings in hiring, onboarding, benefits management, and off-boarding, HR is evolving as quickly as the companies and employees it serves.

New tech enables HR units to manage their environment more efficiently and cost-effectively.  Those efficiencies also enable companies to develop a broader picture of the capabilities of their HR department.

A New Look at HR

A report from IBM suggests that the workforce is the mediating factor between customers and company.  The composition, engagement, and success of the workforce are the domain of human resources.  These factors are leading upper level HR management to the C-suite.

With sweeping workforce changes, HR is transforming into an integrated service unit in the following ways.

  • Leadership:

    Talent is emerging as a decisive factor in the battle for marketplace relevancy. The Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) provides enterprise with a focused view of talent, hiring and succession issues, as well as qualitative and quantitative financial analysis.  Without representation at the C-suite level, corporate officers are disengaged from the resource most likely to determine their success—the workforce.

Notes a banking CHRO in the IBM report, “HR must be the champions of an internal social network, a master brand strategy and the employment brand.  We must deliver new ways of thinking about attracting and engaging employees, focus on innovative ways to deliver content and learning, and champion the use of mobile devices to be more socially responsible.”

  • HR as change agent:

    Moving out of its niche, HR is shedding tasks more efficiently handled in other ways.  Regulatory and compliance issues can be outsourced to specialists, and personnel data management can be better managed through the use of well-designed HR software.  This leaves HR open to drive broad organizational change beyond talent management, retention, and workflow.

  • Engagement:

    Everyone talks about the need for engagement.  An engaged workforce is satisfied on the job, leading to higher productivity, and lower turnover.  This saves—and makes—money for the employer.  Engagement also involves developing insights into the needs of the company and its employees—and how each can better serve the other.  This could mean developing new workplace roles, job flexibility, investment in mobile tech, and creating programs and capabilities that support work-life balance.

  • Worker advocacy:

    As mobile and other apps allow workers to manage benefits, apply for leave, and handle insurance issues, HR is able to take an active role in advocating for its workforce—troubleshooting and solving problems that go beyond handing out benefits brochures.

Amplifying its former roles, HR can take charge to help employees develop career plans and receive the training needed to move forward.  Redefining HR as a learning partner boosts employee satisfaction and underpins long-term succession planning within the organization.

Understanding internal demographics means managing the job lifecycle at each age. As Millennials shift jobs more frequently, institutional knowledge is lost.  Older workers offer talent and stability, but institutional knowledge is again lost upon retirement. The right mentoring programs, going both ways, help keep retain knowledge within the organization.

  • Digital and data expert:

    With the ability to gain insight from talent data, or an employee survey, HR can lead the organization in evaluative insight and technological adoption of HRIS, social, mobile apps, and other emerging tech.  Understanding the narrative behind the need, HR can readily develop compelling questions to make sense out of—and use—data.

  • Outsourcing:

    Nimble, highly skilled, and available, the extended workforce of 1099 workers offers enterprise significant opportunity to gain niche knowledge and create mutually profitable non-traditional working arrangements. Strategies to safely and quickly onboard contractors and vendors will become part of the mission of HR in companies of all sizes.

As predicted by the WEF report, millions of jobs will be lost, and created, in the United States by 2020.  HR—in the C-suite, and outside— is poised to help stakeholders navigate disruption, minimize risk, and deliver effective solutions.

When considering human resource tech options for your company, or if you are a recruiter, talk to us about software products to meet the challenges you face today.

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