The traditional HR department was largely a by-product of years gone by. Think factories needing supervisors to ensure performance standards, the birth of trade and labour unions demanding employee welfare and the surge in legislation protecting all workers; the role of HR has, for the most part, remained relatively stable for decades.
And yet, the events of the last two years have turned the people profession on its head. As HR and leaders navigated the overnight transition to remote work, digitisation of the department was taken off the back burner and brought to the force.
In this digital age, HR departments are planning for the future of the profession while overseeing the development of their workforce with both the capabilities of their tech and employees at the forefront of their mind.
This article takes a look at just some of the key predictions for tomorrow’s HR departments and how leaders can start preparing for the future of HR, today.
Becoming truly data-driven
Data has always been key to HR success. Whether tracking HR KPIs such as employee attrition, time to hire, absence rate or your internal vs. external hiring ratio, these indicators of long-term performance demonstrate how effectively HR is achieving its objectives.
The future of HR will have data analysis at its core. But the analysis will be taken care of by high-powered tech that can analyse lines of data in a matter of seconds. The end results? Actionable conclusions that are easy to digest, present and implement.
Not only will HR data analytics make the process of becoming truly data-driven a breeze, but it will also free up HR leaders to focus on what matters most: their people.
What can you do today?
Powerful HR analytics software is already available and helps businesses to collect, process and analyse data from across your workforce. With this software, HR leaders can make strategic decisions based on hard evidence, rather than a gut feeling.
This software will only get more advanced in years to come, so becoming an early adopter will only put you, and your people, on the best possible footing for the future of work.
Focus on employee experience
Improving employee experience has always been one of HR’s priorities, but it’s become one of the most important factors in talent retention and attraction.
For the most part, HR departments already have the means and data available to evaluate and improve employee experience. Surveys, exit interview data, suggestions and engagement software all help to paint a picture of the current state of your employee experience and inform recommendations to improve it.
But, in the not-too-distant future, the improvements being made to employee experience will be done so through tech.
If a lack of career development opportunities is a problem area, consider choosing a learning management system to create clear development pathways for your people. Similarly, employees may be praised through recognition software, health and wellness initiatives may be available through an online platform and feedback may be gathered from online one-click pulse buttons.
The ability to transform the employee experience through technology will become a key tool in every HR department’s arsenal.
What can you do today?
Start looking at your employee experience in detail to understand where improvements could be made. Does your recognition process need overhauling from dated Employee of the Month awards? Could your Employee Assistance Programme be modernised to account for the changing world of work? Do employee benefits still meet your employees’ needs?
Additionally, take a look at your existing HR tech stack and explore the full suite of features available. Often, features that could bolster your employee experience quickly and effectively may have been overlooked. Full-suite HR software such as Natural HR incorporates a number of handy tools to improve and evaluate employee experience as standard, including pulse surveys, custom employee engagement surveys, recognition, benefit statements and much more.
As the world of work becomes more dispersed than ever before, cybersecurity will take centre stage in every business – if it hasn’t already. With employees relying on home networks and in some cases, their own devices, to do their job, the challenges of the typical working environment have changed significantly.
With remote or hybrid working set to continue for the foreseeable future, new polices and safety measures will need to be introduced to ensure data security, confidentiality and employee privacy. As candidate pools become truly global, HR will need to ensure that cybersecurity training is built into employee onboarding and refresher training is offered periodically.
Additionally, as data protection regulations evolve, so too must an organisation’s security process and policies. The GDPR is just one example of how legislation can dramatically change individual perception on personal data and business must be prepared for future evolutions of data protection law.
What can you do today?
Of course, companies can put precautions in place to reduce the risk of a cyberattack including installing security software on company devices, having a robust firewall to protect networks from unauthorised access and taking regular back-ups of data.
Consider electing a cybersecurity champion (or champions!) too. This person doesn’t have to be in your IT team, but individuals who will raise employee cyber-awareness within your business. Better yet, enlist the help of a group of employees from across your business and across departments to spearhead internal cyber security awareness.
By holding regular cybersecurity awareness training sessions with employees, this will ensure they are helping, not hindering your cybersecurity efforts. This training should cover everything from managing and sharing sensitive data to how generate stronger passwords and how to report any potentially harmful cybersecurity incidents.