5 ways HR’s transforming how it operates

Hannah Wright
Last updated on 25th June 2020
3 min read

HR’s changing. Just as Personnel evolved into HR in the 1980s, it’s now evolving into a ‘People’ function.

In fact, 94% of HR and People leaders we polled anticipate changes in the next three to five years as part of this transition.

The changing face of HR

Our research report, The changing face of HR, set out to find out more about these changes, and what they mean for HR and People teams, and organizations today.

We asked 500 HR and People leaders how they’re adapting to the changing world of work, what they’re doing differently, and what’s on the horizon in the coming years.

When it comes to how HR teams are operating, five distinct things stood out. Here’s what the research revealed about how HR is transforming how it operates.

1. Talent acquisition: HR and People teams are changing how they hire

The way organizations recruit is changing. One third of HR leaders say they are transforming their talent acquisition approach, as they look to build better candidate experiences for applicants, on-boarders, and new joiners.

One way they are looking to do this is by making the on-boarding journey as seamless as possible. 38% of HR and People leaders said they are already doing this, while 48% said they would seek to in the future, and 24% have already adopted Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their approach, with a further 56% aiming to within a year.

2. People analytics: HR leaders plan to adopt real-time analytics

Companies have a wealth of information about their consumers at their fingertips. Forward-thinking HR and People teams are asking themselves: what would be the impact if we knew our employees as well as we know our customers?

A third (33%) of HR and People leaders we polled have a single source of truth for their People data, and over 40% make People decisions based on data.

Within the next year, a further 51% of HR leaders are planning to easily access data in real-time – with many organizations understanding its time to say goodbye to gut feel and spreadsheets.

3. Workforce experiences: organizations are building enhanced experiences

Workforce experience management has started to feature in many organizations’ plan, and the importance of great workforce experiences throughout the employee journey now appears to have gained increasing recognition.  38% of HR leaders we surveyed said they’ve developed enhanced workforce experiences for all employees.

Furthermore, almost half (47%) of HR leaders polled said they have plans to adopt new ways of working in the next 12 months that focus on employee experiences.

Appreciating the need to gather and act quickly on employee sentiment and feedback was also evident. 40% of HR and People leaders are using pulse surveys to monitor employee engagement, with a further 44% planning to adopt this in the next year.

4. Performance and rewards: organizations are continuously collecting feedback data  

Traditional approaches such as the annual appraisal aren’t quite dead—but it seems they may be soon. 40% of HR and People leaders we polled said they continuously collect performance feedback data right now, with a further 47% planning to within the next 12 months.

Currently, over a third (36%) of HR and People leaders are transparent about organizational and personal goals across the business, with a further 52% of leaders planning to adopt this in the next year.

5. Learning and development: the trend for employee-driven learning

As the way people work continues to evolve, so too does the way they learn—and the way in which companies offer learning and development, as a result.

43% of HR and People leaders we spoke to said they offer employee-driven learning, with a further 44% planning to offer this within the next year.

It’s a similar pattern when it comes to flexible career paths. 41% of HR and People teams currently offer this, with a further 44% planning to in the next 12 months.

Micro-learning is also on the agenda. 32% of HR and People leaders see it as important as formal company training right now. Over the next year, a further 52% of HR teams also plan to adopt it.

New ways of working are being adopted across the board – and there are more plans ahead

Overall, over a third of HR leaders told us they’ve already adopted new ways of working—such as flexible working, data-driven decision making, and continuous performance management.

Surprisingly, our research showed certain ways of working weren’t being prioritized over others, however —with all aspects of modern People processes given relatively equal weighting by respondents as a priority now, and over the next year. Change is happening across the board – from talent acquisition, to learning and development.

HR can lead change in workplaces today

With an enormous 94% of respondents expecting further changes in the sector over the next three years, it’s encouraging that over a third of HR and People leaders are already adopting new ways of working across the board—but also that many know there is more work to be done.

HR teams are perfectly placed to lead the change in today’s world of work. With new ways of attracting, managing and engaging your people available thanks to technology, there’s a huge opportunity for HR and People teams to lead change in today’s digital world of work. Are you ready?

Download the research report, The changing face of HR, today to discover the research findings in full.

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HR Strategy