In recent years, the HR community has continued to undergo dramatic changes in its role and influence within organizations of every size and in every industry and every country around the globe. HR leaders have found themselves proposing initiatives and offering solutions that have far-reaching implications for their organizations. Chief Human Resource Officers (CHRO’s) have joined other business leaders in highly strategic discussions that impact the future direction and ultimate success of their organizations. Human resources departments have emerged from the back office to the front of the organization, proposing solutions to some of the biggest competitive challenges facing organizations around the globe and answering the question, “How do we attract, engage, and retain employees who will help move our company forward?”
To answer some of the biggest business challenges of 2018, the HR community has experienced a shift from the perception of HR professionals as largely administrators and the enforcers of policies and procedures to being recognized as leaders who plan and manage human capital. As such, HR is taking a seat at the senior leadership table as a strategic business partner and a key contributor to business planning. This shift is largely due to the increased focus on the crucial importance of the employer brand, the growing talent shortage, and the need to reduce the all-too-frequent high employee turnover rate with its accompanying costs and falling domino-like impacts.
As the roles of the HR function have changed and expanded, the job of the CHRO is continuing to evolve and receive appreciation and recognition from other members of the C-Suite. Business leaders hoping to help their organizations stay competitive have begun to take greater notice of their greatest assets, their employees. Never before has employee engagement been as important as it is now. Like many professions benefitting from enhanced technology, anyone hoping to remain relevant in HR has focused on learning the technology associated with more effective and efficient recruiting and talent management. While these tools are making their jobs easier and helping to source talent, they require additional learning and training to use them effectively.
In the coming year, HR leaders will see a stronger focus on the impact of artificial intelligence in the workplace. At the same time, the increase in members of the mature workforce remaining in the workplace will challenge HR professionals to find creative ways to better manage the shift in workforce demographics and address the needs of up to 5 generations in the same place. With these challenges on the horizon, the HR community will need to step into a larger strategic role than ever.
The continued focus on employee engagement will be the catalyst for HR leaders to pivot from simply workforce planning to implementing strategic workforce-shaping initiatives to meet the needs of tomorrow’s hyper-competitive landscape. The role of strategic business partner will also require that CHROs and their teams show ROI on their efforts and deliver data analytics tied to their people initiatives. The advent of technology and AI will not skip over the HR department and, like all professionals, they will need to evolve their processes to include the latest technology. The bottom line: the HR function will have a huge opportunity to magnify the key role that people play in harnessing technology to build and maintain world-class business operations.