The integration of technology into the organisation has brought with it many changes in the manner that organizational functions operate, and the HR function is no exception. As technology continues to take over the work environment, many have suggested that the HR function will cease to exist, as HR professionals will be replaced by software.
However, while we can’t deny that software is changing how HR functions, we also can’t deny that HR management practices will always be at the heart of organisational success. Therefore, rather than wipe out the function of HR, software developments will provide growth opportunities for the HR function.
Industry experts have suggested various changes that will take place in the future, and how HR professionals can prepare for what’s to come.
1. Managing a distant workforce will become the norm
It will become increasingly important for the organisation to tackle challenges of managing a remote workforce. Organisations will have to leverage HR employees regardless of where they may be located. However, this may present a challenge to managers who are find it difficult to control employees at a distance. To solve this problem, predictors suggest that automation and a different set of expectations will be introduced. Furthermore, results will become more important and business will expect HR to produce more results-driven performance analysis.
2. Outsourcing will increase as in-house HR decreases
Experts predict that the shift to smaller HR departments will be the result of new technologies and increased employee participation in HR processes. Better technology and more self-service will mean that businesses will get better capability. In addition, transaction-heavy HR jobs will be completely outsourced to HR agencies or specialists.
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3. A new core competence will be HR’s ability to think strategically
Unlike other skills, strategic thinking is a skill that cannot be outsourced. It requires the expertise of in-house professionals. As such, more strategy-focused HR professionals will become critical to the success of the organisation. This will include HR’s ability to make accurate projections centered around understanding the organisation’s goals and using more metrics. The trend toward a strategic HR function will probably have to go as far as creating new job titles to represent HR Business Professionals, who not only understand HR implications, but more importantly, the business operations and strategy as well.
Read: HR’s role in building a culture of high performance teams
4. Making decisions using analytics and big data will increase
The future of HR will become more focused on making decisions using sophisticated measurement techniques as statistical processes in order to access the right talent and link to organisational goals. In essence, this will mean making recruitment decisions based on data and not gut instincts. Therefore, the success of the HR team will rely on HR professionals with knowledge and skills in analytics, marketing, math and statistics.
Trends and future forecasts
Careers24 agrees that the HR Function plays a vital role in helping the organisation reach its strategic goals, and as such, we’ve partnered with the 2016 Future of HR Summit and Awards, an annual event that aims to address the transformation of the HR function in South African business. Its aim is twofold:
“The Future of HR Summit addresses the exciting transformation of the HR function in the business environment, forecast trends for 2016, share innovative and strategic approaches to overcoming challenges, discuss practical methods of employee engagement, talent acquisition, and empowering leadership, and provide thought provoking content, and unique networking opportunities.”
“The Future of HR Awards seeks to recognise South Africa’s most influential participants of people management strategies, leadership and innovation. It identifies business pioneers, highlighting their accolades for the world to see. The Awards brings South Africa’s icons from business and government together.”