Human Resources Transformation Trends are factors that are necessitating changes to the way HR works a strategic imperative and driving the agenda. There is no question that there is a significant amount of attention on human resources management and how to get it up to speed with what modern enterprises need today. Whether it’s been identifying what tasks can be outsourced to third party vendors or how data files are stored, the very practices of human resources have been changing dramatically. Ironically, many HR offices are still operating with business processes that are the same as they were twenty or thirty years ago. Where change is occurring, however, the new trends have been notable and significant:
Human Resources Transformation Trends
- Transparency – While individual employee HR records themselves are still generally treated as confidential and private, company information is under significant pressure to be open, available and accessible. And that includes labor information and the costs of HR as well. This aspect of data access is most noticeable in public corporations and their increasing reporting requirements under a variety of federal requirements like Sarbanes-Oxley and others. As more and more records shift to digital format, the expectation of accessible data becomes more and more pressing, especially with the availability of advanced data mining tools and search capabilities.
- Increased Networking and Involvement – The second shift is more social in the organization with regards to the role expectations of HR. Previously, the HR office was looked to as the archive for everything employee related in term of forms and tracking. HR only showed up at the management table when it involved projections on payroll, layoffs, and discipline actions. Now, human resources are expected to be significantly involved in managing human assets in the organization. That’s not only in selection and termination but also in matching the right people to the right project regarding known skills, knowledge and attributes. More and more, human resource information about the individual staff as well as the organization as a whole is being integrated with top-level strategic planning, and HR is a partner at the table.
- Strategic Planning Involvement – As a third trend becoming the norm, engaged feedback and potential human impact assessment now matter far more to management, especially when the wrong decision can drive away key talent already in demand with competitors. HR plays a crucial role in being able to describe how employees will likely reaction to a given organizational direction especially considering they employee behavior is what they deal with the most. This perspective comes into play when leadership has to choose a new successor in a key role, when units need to be reorganized, or when negotiations may be necessary with collective bargaining.
- Quantitative Perspectives of Performance – Performance isn’t always measured by output and sales figures. Especially now, with far more companies engages in the services side of the market, HR-based metrics have become far more important. Unfortunately, traditional measurements and return on investment triggers don’t capture the right data. This is where HR perspectives matter far more. Performance regarding evaluations and trends in ratings, as well as workforce analytics, begin to play a more influential role in evaluating what’s going on with a given organizational unit.
- Compliance and Audit Preparation – Particularly for public market companies and corporations, review of personnel records, clearance, trend patterns of behavior, and communication records all matter far more now. Due to very public scandals on Wall Street, the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and multiple other regulatory requirements, company HR offices are now being faced with the need to document far more what’s going on inside a business as well as be able to produce that information quickly on authorized demand. That requires both specialized training for HR HR as well as the digital systems to handle the information, archiving, and retrieval. No surprise, it also increases HR’s role in preventative training as well with company HR and contractors.
- Multi-Party Management Support – With so many services being able to be outsourced, it’s not enough for a program manager to be in charge of a particular contractor for a company. Just the current federal tax laws for health coverage alone require a company to evaluate the role of the contractor’s employees and how they fit into the hiring company. As a result, many HR offices are also finding themselves helping manage support contractors and ensuring their staff behavior, and credentials are in line with where the hiring company needs to be.
- New Cross-Training Demands – It’s no longer enough that HR managers and staff are versed in HR topics and training. They also need to start developing cross skills and educational training in the company areas they help manage. In many companies’ HR managers are also wearing hats as program managers and involved in strategic management as well. This is particularly evident in technical areas such as IT technology, legal, healthcare, government programs, financial, engineering, and science.
- Training Platforms are Relying Heavily on Digital Tools – Webinars, online seminars, digital learning paths, modules and training courses are all becoming the norm for keeping a company’s workforce trained with the latest skill requirements. The responsibility for coordinating this provision and managing how the training will be provided and where is landing squarely on HR’s shoulders for both guidance and actual course creation.
Performance isn’t always measured by output and sales figures. Especially now, with far more companies engages in the services side of the market, HR-based metrics have become far more important
Given all the above, the weaving and integration of HR into the core operations of today’s company is a given. The trends point to increasing consumerization of HR services. That means two things: 1) ignore this reality, and the company will make more and more serious mistakes in handling the productivity of its people, or 2) anticipate the reality and find the tools the make the most of the synergies, information, and tool available to make HR powerful. It’s possible and quite doable. And even better, the HR office doesn’t need a legion of staff to operate a viable and robust human resource management system for decision-making.