For decades, employers and employees had an informal contract with implied expectations-employees expected a job for life with certain benefits, and employers responded with a rewards system matching those expectations. Today, even the assumption of working for one employer for more than five years is uncommon. Many employees view jobs as short-term affairs; they seek to gather skills and experiences and then move on. What they want out of jobs has also changed; they’re seeking greater flexibility, increased autonomy, and more learning on the job. In this context, there is a growing acknowledgment that we are entering a talent-demand economy. However, many organizations’ policies, practices, and HR systems are not keeping pace. HR faces pressure to change on many fronts, from technological innovation to globalization and many more. What follows are a few specific areas that HR can address as a strategic partner within organizations.
A third of companies surveyed in Mercer’s global Workforce HR Technology Study plan to implement new technology within the next three years. Cloud-based applications are most prevalent, especially in large or expanding organizations. To adapt, HR is shifting its operating model based on the following technology trends:
The HRBP position was designed to add business acumen and consultative skills in HR. Too often, organizations implement the role with little more than a title change and without discussing how generalists can acquire skills needed to take on new responsibilities. In Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Study, only 13% of organizations reported having a systemic curriculum for developing HR professionals. Fortunately, over one-third plan to invest in HR development in the next year.
Companies have taken the following approaches to improve HRBP effectiveness:
The prevailing HR operating model relies on Centers of Expertise (COEs)-centralized teams staffed with HR experts-to provide program design and consulting services to the business. Traditionally, COEs designed global programs at the corporate level, which were then adapted or redesigned to meet local requirements. In practice, we have seen a shift in how COEs operate in organizations:
It’s time for HR to redefine its value. The new HR operating model needs to:
The role of HR is already evolving. The HR profession of tomorrow will have defined competencies, new skills, and clear expectations for all its roles, from data scientist to virtual collaborator and innovator to technology strategist and talent partner.
To our learned HR colleagues who are eager for change-gather up, skill up, and look to the future! HR is a discipline evolving at break-neck speed, and you have a unique opportunity to shape the next chapter.