The drivers of HR transformation, in my view, are not different from the drivers impacting the business landscape
What are the key drivers of HR transformation?
The drivers of HR transformation, in my view, are not different from the drivers impacting the business landscape. Anything that impacts the business landscape and in turn, the way work can be done, will naturally have an implication on HR.
The biggest changes are driven by technology. For example, the introduction of technology in organizations has transformed the way we collaborate and that has an implication on the way we organize. Another example is the evolution of the mobile landscape and the entry of mobile technology which has had a potential impact on the way we interact and learn as a result of chat applications, search and real-time query applications available in the handset. These changes have implications on the way business structures its work and opens the door to many more models of work, like flexible working, virtual working, working from home, etc. which are proving to be major tools in attracting and retaining talent.
The implications for the HR function is that HR teams will need to define what is high touch and what is high transaction and identify transactional activities which can be outsourced. In the high touch area, very specialized services will also be outsourced when the size of the company does not justify a full time team for delivering such a service, for example, coaching and mentoring. In the high transaction area, most activities will either be replaced by technology or outsourced to 3rd party vendors. Increasingly, we will see this trend and the value that HR will bring to the table is the ability to define what are the best way and the best partner to deliver these services, understand the context of the culture and history of the organization, as well as continue the role of people advocacy.
The competencies required by the HR team will be aligned to this new role. While the knowledge of operations will continue to be important, specific understanding of the business and organizational context will be most relevant. HR function need not be an expert in all HR areas, just as a CEO is not an expert in all functions, but HR must have a good understanding of the business and understand the organizational context to make relevant judgment for the organization.
A trend seen in the SME sector, being unable to attract and retain a Head HR of the right caliber, they often outsource the entire HR function to an independent consulting firm.