Responding to change
Being able to anticipate shifts in expectations, develop HR capabilities and proactively manage change at a fast pace are key challenges for HR this year, says Andrew Steels, HR practice leader at Towers Watson. “Encouraging each other to think in new ways about how work, such as the annual pay round, is delivered, can be just as challenging as responding to new service delivery requirements from business leaders,” he says.
Typically, HR is working hard to respond to changing demands, says Steels. In global and multinational businesses especially, HR teams have been centralising, harmonising and standardising wherever they can. For Steels, re-engineering HR processes is a growing theme, and shared services, manager and employee self-service are commonly involved in driving greater efficiencies.
However, he argues that many HR departments struggle to work out how to drive competitive advantage and maximise their value for the business: “Specific business segments and employee groups often need time-sensitive and tailored solutions to talent issues.”
Steels believes we have reached a ‘fortunate convergence’ of increasing and complex expectations of the HR function, with a marketplace presenting new and more effective HR technologies. “This convergence creates an opportunity for re-engineering, leveraging and enhancing HR processes, programmes and roles.”
As a result, 2014 will see organisations continuing to refresh their primary HR systems with Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies, as well as enhancing the employee experience with improved HR portals, and using mobile applications – signalling HR moving beyond ‘early adopter’ stage.
Steels also anticipates that organisations will be looking to HR to innovate. “HR roles will be more complex and project-focused, challenging the usual boundaries,” he says. “Governance will be increasingly valued in coordinating the ‘moving parts’ of HR and the business, with HR analytics functions more prevalent.”
- Evolve from being process to solution-oriented, and from operational to strategic
- Challenge yourself to rethink your HR functions and carefully select best-fit technology