There has not been a better time to work in HR.
What we do quite literally makes or breaks a company. If we can’t attract, train, and retain the best talent, then the company will lose ground rapidly.
HR is undergoing change. Not just small-scale change, but a fundamental seismic shift. A change that will see traditional HR falling behind and be replaced by new, skilled HR, ready to change the future of HR. In particular, everything from technology to social media and distributed workspaces has a major impact in the way we hire, train, and retain the millennial workforce.
According to Deloitte, 91% of Millennials expect to stay in their current job for 3 years or less, with 45% of companies reporting higher turnover rates among this group vs. other generations. When looking at the future of HR, it is critical to understand that Millennials behave differently and need different types of solutions to stay engaged at work.
What are the top 3 trends that you see shaping the HR landscape?
Nisha: I’m seeing a shift where HR is getting transitioned into a true business partner who not only understands HR implications but also the core business operations as well. HR is now more connected to how the whole business is functioning, how the business is making revenue, and why the organization works the way it does. Knowing this, HR can more effectively manage the human capital needs of the organization. In fact, human capital is one of the top three challenges for CEOs globally. So HR professionals who have a phenomenal knowledge of what’s happening at the bottom level can manage human capital needs based on business needs.
The other trend that I wanted to highlight is that HR is becoming more data-driven. Using data and analytics, HR is able to make accurate projections and take front decisions to lead the change that helps the organization achieves success. In fact, while we’re talking about HR transformation, one of the key competencies for transforming HR is the ability to analyze data effectively, find answers to those key business questions, and then manage people to achieve success.
When Google initially launched People Analytics as a tool to make their human capital decisions, it was an alien strategy for most of the companies out there. Now, more and more companies are using workforce analytics to predict the future needs and make decisions accordingly. For example, you can find out if there are any talent shortages that are going to happen in the future and if so, what type of talent or what type of skills would the organization require in the future. Can that talent be trained in the organization? If not, where we can we find them? All these questions can be answered by using data and analytics, and HR is becoming more data-driven.
The third trend is that I’m now noticing is that HR is becoming more specialized. Because, as we’ve seen, more and more new roles are emerging in the HR industry like recruitment marketing, employer branding, and HR analytics or data analytics. I want to highlight one of the recent studies conducted by Bersin Associate, which is a Deloitte company. They say that ‘ 7% of HR’s real value comes from its role as an internal people operations team: more than 5 times its value comes from its role in supporting, developing, and identifying leaders’.
So in the future, business leaders want HR professionals to be specialists who have in-depth knowledge in data analysis, who know how to assess talent and how to build compelling employer brand, and who can handle the HR technology as well.
What is the role of technology in HR of the future?
Nisha: That’s a great question. As we all know, technology is an enabler, right? Being in the HR industry, I know it’s impossible to run an HR function without multiple technologies. When it comes to HR technology, the good thing is that all the new technologies are highly integrated into letting the HR professional see the trends and insights. This is really crucial going forward for HR to be able to make decisions and manage human capital.
From identifying talent to handling the employee lifecycle management, maintaining workforce data to analyzing the talent trends and facilitating online training, technology is playing a great role. An organization with the right type of talent who knows how to make the most of HR technologies are bound to succeed. That being said, as an HR person I should definitely say this, technology cannot replace the human element.
There are some particular areas where HR interaction is a must have. For example, the one-on-one interaction between the employee and the manager. It is also needed during retention issues or if there’s any conflict resolution needed.
But as a whole, HR is evolving and technology has and will continue to impact the way HR drives business outcomes from employee onboarding to continuing skill development and beyond.
How has social media, social conversation, and digital in general influenced HR leadership and how will this continue to evolve?
Nisha: Social media, in general, has influenced the way HR attracts, hires, and engages talent. It is a competitive advantage to build a compelling, authentic, and genuine employer brand and attract talent. The greatest impact that I see right now is organizations can have some control over how their organization is perceived as a workplace, by providing content on social media.
For example, from a tweet that talks about how excited to work at the organization, to an employee sharing a photograph of their work desk, or an employee letting their audience know how they have fun working at your organization.
For instance the employer branding approach of Zappos. They have actually created a separate Twitter handle for employer branding. If you haven’t checked it out, you should check it out – it’s @InsideZappos. Their ultimate goal is to let everyone know what life is really like at Zappos. How cool is that!
They do a fun weekly tweet-chat where Zappos employees and HR team are available to talk to everyone and let their audience know how it’s like to work at their organization as well as what are the current possibilities that they’re exploring at their organization. This gives an opportunity for potential talent to interact with Zappos HR professionals and even employees.
Let me make it clear. Social media is not just a tool to broadcast. Use it as a way to engage your audience – it’s a two-way communication.
The use of social and digital will continue to evolve. As HR professionals, we’ll have to collaborate with marketing and learn some marketing skills to come up with compelling recruitment marketing techniques. We need to know how to make employer branding message reach our target audience in general.
Companies are using social media as a tool to identify cultural fit as well. Going through candidates social profiles now recruiters know what the candidates are like. For example, going through a Facebook feeds of a candidate, you can get to know a little more about candidate’s interests and passions. All the data is exposed on social media and that’s what recruiters are really looking for. What type of person is this candidate? Is he going to be a right fit for the organization? Is he going to mash up with the culture of the organization? That’s going to be an initial key in choosing a candidate. After that, once he comes for an interview, the recruiter or HR will be able to ask him behavioral and technical questions to identify the cultural fit and competence.
How can HR leaders prepare for the future?
Nisha: One of the top talent issues that is keeping business leaders up at night is the widening skills gap among HR professionals. One of the things organizations should do is to have a professional development or career advancement program for all employees across business functions. When it comes to HR, it’s not that prevalent out there. I really wanted to shout out to all the HR leaders out there to have a professional development program for your HR team in order to prepare them for the competencies that are going to be required in the future.HR is about the intersection of people with business, strategy, and technology. Keep your fingers on the pulse of these three factors and Understand what is important for your company in terms of HR are be open to all the changes that are happening in your industry, you’ll succeed for sure.
Thank you for your insight Nisha!
Nisha Raghavan, Founder & host of India HR LIVE, is a Global HR professional with extensive experience in handling Talent Management, Employee Engagement, and Cultural diversity in the workplace. After having worked in Corporate India for a while, she moved to The United States and talks about her Global HR experiences on her blog Your HR Buddy!! She is the Co-host of DriveThruHR, HR’s #1 Daily Radio Show at 12 noon CT and was recently listed as one of the Top 100 most social HR experts on Twitter by Huffington Post. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & on Twitter @TheHrbuddy.