How HR can meet challenges and opportunities in 2018

Most professions are changing as the world of work continues to evolve, but there are few that compare to the level of change that faces the HR community.

The challenges moving into 2018 for HR professionals require an extended mix of capabilities including elements such as problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. 
As traditional aspects of a HR role become more automated and streamlined, HR will shift into a more influential role and will transform into a different function.
Organisations are finding it tougher due to low growth economic environments and are challenged with delivering sustainable value and keeping shareholders happy! 
So, what does this look like for HR Professionals? What capabilities are required and what areas should HR focus on?
In regards to capabilities in 2018 and beyond, softer skills are a key focus for HR, building capability in areas such as Resilience, IQ, EQ and Wellbeing will be vital to adapt to the world of work.  Tapping into the unconscious mind to unlock potential and discover how to learn and access new ways of thinking to keep up and create new learning and thinking environments that are continuously producing, analysing and changing direction in almost real time problem solving situations is how organisations will remain innovative and create points of difference.
The development of these skills will equip HR professionals to predict and create strategies to accelerate business growth and ensure alignment with the organisational business plan and objectives.  
Some key areas that HR will need to focus on to ensure that they are attracting and retaining best in market talent will include:

Workforce Planning

HR will need to access Business Partnering skills and be across the business plan of the organisation so they can map out the workforce strategy and create a plan that is aligned to the organisation with a future focus.
Forecasting with the help of analytics, will help HR to identify key metrics around social responsibility, reward, attraction and retention, flexibility, capability development and progression. 
Accountable workforce planning through working with data analytics, can demonstrate effectiveness back to the business for cost efficiencies around productivity and learning/development. Measuring through developing planning metrics such as talent engagement and ensuring buy-in from the board and business will also create accountability for the HR function and provide a platform to regularly review and refine. 

Retain and Reward

Career progression is now an essential for today’s talent, if it’s not visible to them, they will most likely look elsewhere. HR utilising EQ and IQ capabilities, need to create continuous engagement measurement tactics that are required to create the kind of employee experiences that help organisations to become talent magnets. 
Using data, HR can now design reward and benefits that are tailored to individual performance as opposed to one size fits all.  It’s worth noting that acknowledgement, appreciation and flexibility in the workplace can have the same if not more of a positive impact than a financially driven reward. 

HR Digitised and Analytics

Technology in 2018 is essential as it enhances what is done with data and supports the performance of the organisation. Technology is used to capture data and helps HR work out how to use it across every point of the employee life cycle. The key for successful use of technology is to understand what metrics to collect through mapping out behaviours across the employee journey. Data will inform how to develop and tell the story, and essentially help to figure out, how to bring the data to life.  Extracting and interpreting data will inform HR about absenteeism, productivity, engagement. HR will know what the business is telling them and how it’s ultimately performing. 
Through technology and analytics, all functions of an organisation will be linked, and that business will be competitive because it understands how every function interacts with their ROI.

Setting up for success

HR professionals are the custodians of culture, performance and talent in organisations. Coach and encourage and look for new ways to unlock potential. Be agile and set high standards for yourself and your organisation. Smart HR professionals spend time getting to know their market, their competitors and work with a vision of doing more with less as that is the expectation from today’s organisations. 
Link all activities to the strategy of the business, use data to articulate the HR function value back into the business and get comfortable with the uncomfortable because that’s where the growth and learning is. Ensure that support, buy-in and trust are there to give HR the confidence to create and navigate to the unknown in order to achieve growth and new business landscapes. 

HR priorities in 2018 should include:

Sustainability - an organisations people and culture need to lead this.
Social Community – building the brand culture internally through development of internal content.
Diversity – equal pay, multicultural and accessibility are key factors, a company may be diverse but this needs to be transparent.
The Next Step partner with Australia’s most respected organisations and HR professionals to deliver integrated solutions that allow clients to BUY, BORROW and BUILD the best Capability available.

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