5 ways to future proof your HR function

It’s easy for HR teams to get set in their ways, and deal with things the way they always have done. But this means when things change and new challenges arise they haven’t got a strategy to deal with them. So how can you future-proof your HR strategy to protect your organization’s future?

Most businesses know that their employees are their most vital asset. But compared with recent efforts in understanding their customers, most companies know little about what makes their employees and potential recruits tick.

Getting to grips with the changing face of HR is essential for businesses to succeed when facing a war for talent and an acute skills shortage.

  1. Hire and buy-in the right expertise – HR is not just about ticking boxes on forms, getting payroll right and helping with the occasional disciplinary procedure. It’s a strategic management function that requires a new mix of skills and specialists including:
    • people scientists to gain valuable insights from data and analytics to deliver business goals and effective talent pipelines.
    • designers to foster creative workspaces, workforce experiences and work environments
    • social recruiters and people marketers who understand the dynamics of your business brand in the digital economy.
    • cognitive and behavioral psychologists who understand motivation, can help managers develop their teams and talent.
    • innovators and leaders who think globally and creatively, and who can imagine new, better ways of doing things.
  2. Look at people management holistically – Salary isn’t the be all and end all of why people come to work. Most employees want to be engaged in their jobs, but also want flexibility, a good life-work balance, while growing their skills and developing their careers. And remember, the people who work for you aren’t just your full-time employees. It’s likely you are also paying for contractors, consultants, vendors, agency staff who are working for you on many business-critical projects . Do you make the right tools available for them to work effectively, and do they get good experiences while working for you? If it’s a bad experience, they are likely to talk about it afterwards, which leads us to…
  3. Create the right employment brand – The internet has made recruitment more of a two-way street. The best candidates know their industry and who they want to work for. And even those who maybe aren’t aware of you are likely to research your brand on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, to help them to decide whether to apply or be put forward for a job they have seen.

    Some brands also create a cachet and are known as good employers for anything from free coffee, training and perks to their corporate responsibility and chance to work on pet projects or volunteer. It can add value to an employee’s CV to have worked for one of these kinds of companies, making them even more attractive to potential recruits.

  4. Focus on great employee experiences to drive engagement – Move away from the old idea of HR of record-keeping, wage management, workplace safety and enforcing rules and policies. Instead think of how you can help your employees excel by designing and creating great workforce experiences. Spend time and effort to work out cost-effective ways you can improve employee wellbeing and growth – such as mentoring and clear goals. Happy employees will also be evangelists for your brand.
  5. Invest in modern systems that give you insights, evidence and the ability to scale up – in the way that data has grown in the operations, finance business and marketing functions, it can also be used in HR. Without data you won’t know how diverse your workforce is, where your best recruits come from, which interviewers have a higher success rate at picking great people who fit the company culture, where people drop off in the recruitment process or how well your learning programs are working, for example.

    Good data systems will help inform decisions by creating actionable insights, and help you with planning. If you’ve got big ambitions you’ll need a system that you can scale, can be used internationally and will give you one source of truth.

    Automating systems where you can will also free up time for your HR team to concentrate on the human issues that really matter too.

  6. Find out how top HR leaders are future proofing their function in the People Science Edition of the Hot Topics Magazine. Download your copy now.

You're losing the war for talent