The practice of Human Resources (HR) has evolved over many years. It started in the 30’s and 40’s, and at the time was focused on administrative work, managing processes, managing terms and conditions of work, labour contracts, compensation, etc.
In the 50’s and 60’s, HR began to shift to a set of practices, focusing mainly on workforce planning, HR development, compensation and benefits, risk management, and succession planning. In the last 15 years, HR has been linked to strategy. HR practitioners have begun to see and understand that for HR to add value to business, HR must be aligned to business strategy.
HR is now aligned to business strategy, and has added a new dimension to its practices called Strategic HR
This realignment of HR has worked immensely for the benefit of the profession, allowing HR practitioners to demonstrate their importance and value to business in ways that were previously thought impossible.
The Future of HR
To look at HR from the outside in, you need to look at HR not only as a mirror of business strategy, but also as a window. HR practitioners look outside the organization to understand how to deliver value to the company’s stakeholders – customers, investors and communities.
- Value creation – Do we deliver value? Are we focused on delivering value rather than activities? Do we focus on receivers of our outputs? Do we know who our receivers are?
- Work Context- We must understand the context of our work; the external social, technical, economic, political and demographic context of our HR work.
- Stakeholders Networking – We must connect effectively with our stakeholders inside the company, the employees, management and outside the company, customer, investors and communities.
- Top Talents – Do we bring insider knowledge and action to talent equation? Can we help the company have great talents? These questions must be answered to the affirmative by a forward looking HR practitioner.
- Leadership – “Everything rises and falls on leadership” – John Maxwell. HR must seek to have the right leadership in place. It is this leadership that will attract the right talents and create the systems in which they (the top talent) will thrive.
- Organization – HR must seek to create the right organization for top talents to thrive and grow and develop. The right set of competencies and capabilities that help us move forward?
- The right HR Department – Is the structure of your HR in sync with the structure of your organization? Remember, your HR strategy should mirror and serve and serve as a window for your business strategy.
- HR Practices Alignment – We need to invest in our HR practices. Our People (staffing, training, development, career management, etc.), Performance management, communication and work.
- HR People – This is a very tough one, but it must be done. Do you have the right HR people? Do we have the right skills, tool kits, competencies, capabilities and personalities in HR?
- HR Analytics – We must begin to measure what we do and do so very well. Some Senior HR colleagues have said “In God we trust, everyone else, bring data”. Setting up systems that help you capture, track, analyze and present insightful data is key to HR of the future.
“Direct people costs make up an average of 40 per cent of organizational costs” –
Hay Group, a UK based Workforce planning consultancy
Added to this is the fact that a critical mass of these talents work in high-knowledge-based and specialized roles that are critical to the company’s success and cannot be easily replaced.
The Cost of employing a PURE therefore becomes significant.
Strategic Workforce Planning is the integration of workforce supply and demand analysis into the strategic planning cycle ensuring that the organization has the ‘five rights’ –
the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right level and at the right cost. (Hay Group, 2017).
Activities That Make up A Workforce Plan
Establishing the team, building the business case; linking corporate, business, finance and workforce strategy; establishing communication plan to engage stakeholders.
This is a form of business intelligence. In the context of workforce planning, it is used to identify the set of facts or circumstances that surround a workforce situation or event.
Current Workforce Profile
Current State is a profile of the demand and supply factors both internally and externally of the workforce the organization has today.
Transition Workforce Profile
Demand and supply factors for the transition from current to future workforce.
Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation
The process is about determining appropriate actions to manage risk assessment.
Future Workforce View
Here HR determines the organization’s needs considering the emerging trends and addresses issues identified during the Environment Scanning stage.
Analysis and Targeted Future
Once critical elements are identified through quantitative and qualitative analysis, the future targets that are the best fit in terms of business strategy and is achievable given the surrounding factors are determined.
The Place of Technology in HR
Given the need for accuracy, consistency, objectivity, reliability and efficiency of HR processes, the case for technology is overwhelming.
We need technology to manage the gamut of HR processes, in order to derive data which inform strategic management decisions.
HR Technology Applications
- Recruitment processes,
- Succession management,
- Employee self help system,
- Performance management
- Attendance management,
- Leave management,
Making the Best of Technology
The decision to use technology in your business must be a strategic one. You need to determine what works best for you:
- Technology driven business
- Business driven technology