HRletes

In earlier days the Human Resource department used to be more about record keeping, compliance, payroll administration, and event planning. This confined HR to be in a monotonous job with limited skill sets required to deliver the job. Even now I notice some organizations viewing HR in the same traditional cocoon of an administrative and transactional function, but the good and smart ones see it as a more strategic function. In my previous article, I talked about the changing economy and the need for HR to adapt and transform them as specialized HR Consultants. I will try to focus on the required skill sets for HR’s to maintain pace with the change and remain strategically important for the respective department and organization

The role of HR is more complex as of now. Today’s HR leaders are now expected to be a broader thinker, tech-savvy, adaptable, and agile enough to deal with a diverse and multi-generational workforce. The focus for HR is now to become a worker-centric function, spending their energies in building the organization culture and becoming a trusted workforce advisor. The organization today expects HR to be more influencing, data-driven, and credible concerning stakeholder management and workforce planning. This pushes HR to up-skill in critical areas and thrust on a more promising consulting role to manage human capital effectively. HR professionals will need to equip themselves with following skill for future success –

  1. Business and Financial Acumen – HR professionals should focus on understanding the organization’s business, functions, and external environment in which it operates. HR needs to identify the Why, What, and How of any business as this will help in taking decisions aligned with business goals. In all the organizations I have worked I used to devote ample time with the Business Managers in understanding different mandates to understand the role, responsibilities, and the alignment of position with business results. This always helped me in identifying a suitable fit. Designing of processes was also easy with an acquaintance of the Manager’s pain points.  The Financial domain is one of the important aspects which an HR should focus on. HR should be able to understand the cash flow statement, Balance Sheet, P&L account, and other metrics like Financial Ratios, ROI, Earnings, and Budgeting. A good way to gain this perspective is to consult with colleagues in Finance, regularly discussing the issues faced by the Managers and brainstorm supportive HR initiatives. Understanding the Business and Financial perspective can support HR in providing Consultation to senior management and help HR in aligning the HR activities
  2. People Analytics – HR people are now expected to be more analytical and data-driven. HR is fortunately involved in collecting a vast amount of people’s data, (almost 80% captured at the time of recruitment) which often remains unused. But the recent trends made HR analyze this data and link this with people’s problems. This can be used to attract, manage, and retain employees and improves on the ROI. To cite an example, an organization would be more capable of deciding on an appropriate pay mix if it is aware of the workforce demographics. The Recruitment process can be improved by the use of proper hiring metrics like CPH and Yield Ratio. Furthermore, analytics also help in testing the effectiveness of various HR policies and interventions. Companies like Ford, American Automaker, relies on insights gained through analytics in decision making for its workforce. HR can leverage the power of data analytics to make a better work environment, maximizing the productivity of the current diverse workforce of Millennials, Contractors, and Freelancers. The designing of proper programs, policies, and benefits for the current Gig workforce can also be addressed by creating a measurement system through data analytics
  3. People Skills – Technology doesn’t make the HR redundant, there is always a room for value addition if HR focusses on people. I see the future HR Managers as more of a Coach, Trainer, Motivator, Influential Leaders, and Change Managers. The current scenario of COVID-19 spread has impacted lives throughout the world, transforming the traditional workplace into a virtual world, making the workforce vulnerable to emotional distress and anxiety. Ensuring productivity and engagement now are primary concerns for every organization. In times like these HR should focus on social connection and engagement to maintain productivity levels, along with ensuring that employees feel supported, connected, engaged, and can take care of themselves and family. HR Should so focus on a new Consulting and influencing role equipped with skills of empathy, coaching, and leadership. A people-oriented HR professional would be able to guide individuals in their career prospects as well and coach Managers in becoming better people leaders
  4. Design Thinking – The concept of Design Thinking is transformational for HR as it brings a Human-Centric Approach to problem-solving. It brings an innovative approach to HR deliveries by organizing work and finding appropriate solutions based on people’s needs. Keeping the employee at the center of its delivery model HR identifies new approaches to design processes that deeply resonate with them. The process of Design Thinking starts with understanding the needs and frustration of customers with empathy, defining the problem, brainstorming solutions, choosing the most appropriate ones, and testing the applicability of suitable ones
  5. Compliance Mastery – Laws and policies are ever-changing and vary from state to state. The Corona virus pandemic has also impacted employee rights and lives together with employment conditions at workplaces. HR’s need to pay careful attention to relevant labor regulations while hiring, appraising, disciplining, and firing staff, failure to which can lead to heavy fines, expensive lawsuits resulting in discontented employees. HR needs to stay abreast of compliance issues by researching HR legislation and changes, attending appropriate training, seminars, and network with professionals who are tasked with the same HR responsibilities. In addition to this HR should also be flexible enough to comply with laws related to the Gig economy and remote workers to address concerns of the new economy
  6. Marketing or HR Branding – Marketing activities help HR in better talent management. HR professionals should be able to market the benefits, culture, and values of the organization. They should partner with the marketing team to develop scripting phrases, videos (like Employee Speak), and promotion on various media platforms. This helps HR in building an employer brand and creates a high-value proposition for the organization

All the above skills indicate that HR should transform as more specialized Consultants to cater needs of the rapidly changing world of work. As Specialists, they should equip themselves with a new range of skills, introduce new bold strategies, tools, processes, and metrics to create and sustain a successful employee experience for existing and future workforce

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