The 2020 HR Outlook Guide: Key Imperatives for Budding HR Professionals

It was not a long time ago when people questioned the relevance of the HR department in an organization. However, with the progression of time, businesses, as well as employees, have finally recognized the strategic value of HR in improving functions and relationships that help shape the workforce in the best interests of both employers and employees.

In fact, with the fast-paced digital disruption that has caused the workforce to become increasingly restless and agile, the need for tech-savvy and forbearing human resources has widely increased. Furthermore, businesses in this era have become all about people and therefore focusing on work-life balance, happiness, motivation and concerns of the employees have become significant.

What HR professionals do to shape their workforce and organizational policies

The HR department is required to enable the people processes across the entire organization. This essentially means that all employees need to become conscious of leveraging ‘Human Capital’. Managing people is no longer the sole responsibility of one department but is a collective responsibility of the entire organization. Every manager, therefore, becomes a people manager.

The professionals managing ‘Human Capital’ need to adapt more discrete strategies of handling operations to steer their workforce and business towards a digital and customized experience. This will help the ‘People Managers’ to be future-ready, rebuild their capabilities to deliver their best output, and create a customer-focused workforce experience to keep the ‘people-driven culture’ intact.

People must be the focal point of any business – whether inside or outside the formal boundaries of the business organization. Some of the key points to keep in mind to build a ‘people-driven culture’ are:

  • Understanding HR/People Analytics

Analytics is not a new trend per se. However, most HR professionals are not using analytics to the extent that they should. Many people managers are still doing things the old way without realizing that by using analytics tools, they can get the most out of the available data in much lesser time and with greater accuracy.

Since HR departments have to deal with large amounts of data and talent pool, especially in the case of large geographically distributed teams, it is easy to get lost mid-way and make a compromised decision. Analytics tools, on the other hand, can help fill that data gap and streamline the process, when put to proper use. With a little training, it is also possible to generate meaningful insights from the mass of data to guide business decisions.

The HR analytics tools are digitized tools that use a data-driven approach to realize and investigate people problems within the organization. The tools can be used to get useful insights and enable better decision making based on objective data.

  • AI and Automation

Modern businesses require a stable foundation to stay a step ahead of the competition – and technology can provide that foundation. In terms of Human Capital, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will play a significant role in streamlining the various HR functions.

Let’s take a look at an example to understand this role better.

Recruiting up until now was a tedious process that demanded the HR personnel to go over each resume separately, out of the large number of applicants, and then keep track of each application manually. However, RPA can take care of it all by saving time and taking decisions that are more comprehensive and error-free.

Likewise, AI can make HR activities run all the more easily. AI can also monitor tasks to assist HR to stay on top of their game and provide valuable insights purely based on data instead of emotions. It’s for reasons like these that organizations around the globe are starting to utilize AI applications.

  • Focus on People and Design Strategies to Manage the Evolved Workforce

Please remember that digitalization during Industry 4.0 is not going to take away jobs. Instead, it will take away the labour involved in repetitive tasks and give us more time to concentrate on genuinely value-added strategic work.

This does not mean that there will be a reduction in ‘people focus’ in fact, digitalization will enable people specialists to take data-based responsive decisions. It is also important to remember that, while organizations have higher access to data and better practices from across the world, so do the people that they manage.

The way employees work has also changed. Now employees demand more flexibility, better communication, strong value systems, and increased transparency. It, therefore, becomes essential to keep all these things in mind while creating the policies.

  • Get Certified and Update Your Skills

As various HR functions are becoming automated, professionals must update their skill-set to be in sync with the new way of managing human capital. It includes learning about new technologies like AI, automation and analytics – thereby understanding how to best leverage them to create a better overall strategy for people and business. Besides, certified professionals have better chances of getting promotions and a higher paycheck!

  • Sustainability Practices

While automation and digitalization are essential, it is crucial to be mindful of the triple bottom line and being socially and environmentally conscious.

Employer brand equity is directly proportional to the meaningful social and environmental impact of the organization. It, therefore, becomes the task of every people professional to be mindful of ‘Sustainability Practices’ of the organizations and trying to understand how these practices can become a part of the philosophy and actions of the strategic direction of the organization.

  • Diversity and Inclusion

A workplace which allows everyone to do their best, without any inhibition on account of who they are or where they come from, prosper. Ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce promotes higher engagement, innovation and success at an organizational as well as a personal level. It allows for an appreciation of different points of view.

Consideration of all divergences may improve the convergence of minds and build a strong culture of partnership and growth.

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