What is People Science

HR is changing. Find out what’s driving the transformation to People and meet some of those leading the way.

The growing shift towards more people-oriented organizations is nothing less than a tectonic shift in business. Just as Personnel was replaced by HR in the 1980s, so HR is being transformed to a People function. This marks the movement away from traditional HR, which is focused on operations and process, towards a more holistic approach to both managing and engaging people.

The need for skilled people who can sustainably add value and drive growth in fast moving businesses is forcing a change in the way HR operates. Catalyzed by advances in technology, People teams are now harnessing the power of data to improve workforce experiences, unlock business-critical insights and plan more strategically. As a result, they’re playing a bigger and more impactful part in their organizations than ever before.

Here are some of the key factors driving the change from traditional HR to a more people-oriented function.

The need for growth

Powered by the advance of technology and the dawn of Big Data, businesses are growing and changing faster than ever. Their need for specialized expertise and talented, versatile employees is fast outstripping the rate at which they can hire people. And the long lead-times and clunky processes that characterize traditional analogue HR just don’t cut it anymore.

Finding, hiring and engaging talented people in support of growth, while providing good candidate and employee experiences is a challenge that requires a new solution. In the grip of a skills crisis as the digital economy expands, traditional HR processes are evolving, and new ways of hiring, engaging and recognizing performance are replacing industrial-age practices.

Skills crisis

The current crunch in talent acquisition is magnified by a culture of employee mobility, especially among millennials. Careers are centered around people, not organizations, and the modern worker is likely to cycle through several roles, and even multiple careers, in a lifetime. Without the inertia that comes with a job-for-life mindset, a talented employee is likely to have one eye on the job market. And thanks to hyper-connected professional communities, there are always a range of options open as opportunities for skilled workers are plentiful. This means retention of high-performing talent is vital for every business, especially during a skills crisis.

Lack of engagement

Engaged employees are highly motivated, passionate about their work, and are high performers. They feel valued and are recognized as individuals, while contributing to their team and organization out of a sense of shared ownership.

Unfortunately, just one in three employees is fully engaged, according to research from authorities such as Gallup and Effectory International. Workforce engagement is a key component of modern HR – yet for many businesses, it’s a key that has yet to be turned. To enable real engagement, there is a need to provide great workforce experiences that create powerful connections between people and their organizations.

Unlocking the full potential of employees means tuning into their skills, strengths and passions, and reflecting this back through their experiences at work. This requires a shift in the way people are managed and engaged. This need for change is underpinning the transformation from HR to People, and the emergence of people science.

People science

As technology advances, innovation and disruption are creating new ways of doing things. Data is enabling better people decisions through analytics and actionable insights. HR processes are changing: recruitment is evolving into people marketing; annual performance reviews are giving way to continuous conversations and instant recognition; and company training is being augmented by autonomous and social learning. Advances in neuroscience and psychology, artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and the Internet of Things continue to change the nature of work.

Visionary leaders, new mindsets, and people-centric cultures will be required to navigate these shifts. The changing nature of work also heralds the inception of people science – the understanding of how people and their behaviors change as they interact with each other and machines to create sustainable economic value in this fast-evolving environment.

Transformation leaders

We teamed up with Hot Topics, an online community of thought leaders, and identified some of the top HR leaders powering the move to build people-centric organizations. Find out more about who they are and what you can learn from their experiences in the Hot Topics’s Tech HR Top 100 People Science edition.

Wait - don't go!