Today, the future of HR hangs in the balance with the function being evaluated for a gamut of parameters. Human Resource is a functional area that has gone from being considered the backbone of an organization to one that directors and the C-suite wonder whether the organization is better off without.
Structural upheaval is in store for HR. But the personnel can welcome this change and take this opportunity to let go of some obsolete practices and bring in a laser focus on what HR is meant to be for modern businesses.
A uniquely suitable vision for the future of Human Resource Management (HRM) is to be developed by the promoters and directors of an organization so that the function of personnel management is clear and relevant in the modern day.
Only when the future role of HRM is open to change can it support and lead to organizational change. HR is now aware of the need to keep re-inventing in keeping with the organization’s current challenges and goals. Top chiefs of HR realize the need to be aware of trends in Human Resource Management and are reaching out to make themselves better informed.
For instance, the transactional roles of HR personnel would still be retained but most of the work would be automated. Simply put, only those tasks that can be digitized and automated would survive, while others will become obsolete. The future of HR would lie in taking a more active role in working with people directly, understanding and addressing their day-to-day challenges. To make sense of these factors, especially in large organizations with a strong workforce, the use of data and software tools would be a smart plan.
Digitization and selective pruning down of the role of HR refers to picking and choosing the activities that the Human Resource Department shall hold itself accountable for. Not all of the tasks performed by HR are really relevant to the requirements of the company and its future functions. Experts and top executives pore over the list of functions that come under the purview of Human Resource Management and a veritable culling of these activities needs to begin straight away so that the most important, relevant organizational functions receive the chunk of the focus of the personnel. Examples are developing employee experience and using data to drive HR decisions so that they can be useful in the long run to make business decisions as an organization.
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The importance of Human Resource Management, and the trick to keeping itself intact through generations of organizational changes, without getting eliminated altogether, lies in the cathartic nature it should develop. The future of HR would be protected if they are successful in adapting change and helping the rest of the organization adapt as well. Some of the most important functions of HR is to help form company culture, develop strategic goals through brainstorming and innovation, and ensure that the entire workforce is aligned with these goals. The function of streamlining the staff comes with its own challenges as individuals are inherently opposed to change. The changing role of Human Resource Management and how it reinvents itself to remain relevant can, in itself, become an example of how to handle and get on top of change.
Pivotal studies of HR departments in various organizations suggest that the general perception is that HR is slow to act and make changes. This tendency is apt to become untenable. The future of HR has reached such a point that if it does not reinvent itself, it will soon be shunned as an outdated function, and organizational change will be led by dynamic leaders from all the departments. If they do swing the changes admirably, HR is not merely a support function but a protagonist in bringing organizational transformation and help evolve human capital management.
One of the changes earmarked to take the future of HRM into a new plane of existence is the use of Artificial Intelligence. This method of checking for productivity, leveraging human capital, and helping them align themselves with strategic goals makes up the importance of Human Resource Management and the need for its existence.
This change in the way HR operates might initially be suited only to large corporates with a humongous workforce. Their advantage is that they have scores of datasets and this can yield them insights into how to lead organizational change for the better. Ultimately, the use of data-driven approaches will percolate to mid-size firms and even startups. Some of the first firms to adopt AI into their operational patterns were Paytm, Swiggy, Oyo, and Flipkart. The availability of datasets is a huge advantage and soon even startups can join in on the bandwagon to improve their HR functions.
It is no surprise that technology is disrupting the way HR operates. There are changemakers within HR all the way to the top and the approach for using AI, machine learning and analytics to help spearhead this change is a move for the better. It calls for a better risk-appetite on the part of the leaders such as CHROs and the C-suite. But it can be rewarding in reducing processing time, sharpening the focus of transactional HR functions, and making the future of HR directly aligned with business success.
Instead of removing the functional area of HR altogether or diminishing the importance of Human Resource Management, the onus lies with the C-suite to revamp HR functions such that they change and help the rest of the organization go through change too.
Having an agenda in place for the digitization of HR is the primary requirement. With this in place, trends in Human Resource Management indicate that they can handle the underlying resistance to change, with HR personnel playing a pivotal role and leading the change.
There is general agreement that HR executives should take on AI, machine learning and analytics to assist with HR functions. There is already a deep interest in these capabilities, which can be harnessed to drive value for the HR as a functional arm, and as an innovation architect for organizational success.
- Now or never – HR’s need to shape its own future, 2018, Claudia Crummenerl, Franca Jacob, Lena Funk
- TheFutureof HR is now: In the know or in the no, 2019, Anupriya Thakur Behl, Varsha Jain, Himanshu Juyal, Yugal Bisht, Saket Tibrewal
- What is the future for HR in an age of automation, and how do we derive great value from it? Forbes India