Like any other discipline, HR has evolved, and is continuing to do so.
I asked Ngoni Munetsi, head of Accsys People Management Partners Division, for his input. The article below is his response.
Known before as Personnel Management, today we are talking of terms like Strategic Human Resources, Talent Management, and HR Intelligence among other terms. Are there any differences? Or is it just old wine in a new bottle? What are the current trends and what future predictions do we have in the evolution?
The Morden view is the alignment of HR to Business, a statement very popular in the HR fraternity, but do we really understand how to do so?
If HR is aligned to business, why is there a prophecy/prediction of the erosion of its relevance, because where there is alignment there is utility, not so?
To stay relevant, I think HR strategies must focus on the following trends;
The Strategic focus
This cannot be outsourced. If HR Professionals cannot transform into strategic business partners, then they will perish. It is critical to note that strategic focus does not replace the human factor. HR Professionals should understand the human factor and HR implications in collaboration with business operations and strategy.
It’s all about understanding the business, leading change and making robust predictions about business and its talent.
HR must be proactive. Change management is a People Management function and this requires the creation of Visionary Leaders who understand what the future holds for their businesses and how talent issues can, and should, be handled.
We may need to relook HR concepts and terminology. HR Interventions require financial support and more often than not we clash with Financial Directors as there is a widespread perception that this is an unnecessary cost. Why do we call them Cost Centres as opposed to Profit Centres? Or investments?
Yes, because we are investing in people, the vital assets of any organisation.
It is also vital for the Financial Director or CEO to interrogate some of these interventions, because the ultimate goal of the firm is to maximise shareholders’ equity which makes them accountable. My view is that sometimes we fail to justify our proposals to the CEOs and ultimately we make conclusions that there is no political will. The future of HR dictates that HR Professionals should be able to calculate ROI on each intervention proposed and should know the Pay Back period as well. It is not tough, it is just the business focus of HR.
The Future of HR is outsourcing
The internal HR structure will downsize and the outsource function will increase.
Due to the increase in the use of technology, many HR transactional processes will increasingly be replaced by ESS Systems.
The admin heavy function of HR will be offloaded to HR outsourcing companies. The labour legislation in the SA market will continue to be complex and technical and will require specialist knowledge. The benefits of outsourcing are well known and documented.
The Future of HR is marketing
Let us also have our own HR Mix, our own 4 Ps or even 7. My HR Manager, Fari, says; “Performance is key, my Place in the organisation is important and my “Package” is critical. I can add to the list; “People”, “Politics”, “Pragmatism”, “Purpose”. I believe HR Interventions must address this Mix as these form the Brand of any entity.
I am a proponent of Recruitment by attraction and not by attrition. Candidates get attracted to your organisation because of the brand that you create, and the result of it is a long lasting work relationship. HR Professionals should be image makers and brand advocates. With the battle for skills surfacing, organisations are already scrambling for talent. Platforms like Glassdoor have made it possible for candidates to share experiences with past employers.
A friend of mine once cancelled an interview whilst in the prospective organisations’ reception area. His simple reasoning was; if they can’t maintain the grass around their premises, what makes me think that they will be able to maintain me?
Our Communications and Marketing Manager, Clara says; it’s not only about the brand, it’s whether or not there is a clear fit between your own personal brand and that of the prospective company, and that addresses the Place issue.
The Future of HR is Technology
I have said it before; HR professionals should embrace technology. Some offices are still paper driven; processes are transactional and not strategic, we keep plain data with no utility.
We need to move forward and become strategists through capitalisation of technology and analytics.
Organisations like Accsys have invested in making HR and Payroll Offices more efficient. Elani, one of our Sales Consultants says “Just imagine how your life can be easier with Payroll, HR, ESS, Time & Attendance, all on one system”.
The generation Y candidates we are attracting are tech savvy to say the least and for us to attract and retain them, technology has to be a priority. Smart phones must apply for leave, receive payslips, update personal data, synchronised with work functionalities and so on.
The Future of HR is managing diversity.
The world is fast becoming a boundless society; cultural diversity, cross pollination of ideas, generational differences are issues to deal with. There is power and value in differences and the key differentiator of successful organisations willl be the ability to unlock these differences and capitalise on them.
Let’s not forget about managing millennials; they are our customers whose characteristics we need to understand.
As mentioned earlier, technology especially mobile technology is close to their hearts. They socialise- through technology, and they socialise with their parents too; they like adventure; associations with brands; challenge hierarchical structures; they also challenge the status quo and are advocates of change.
They want a relationship with their manager; they are task oriented and not time oriented, they want to work, learn and have fun, and they like flexibility, feedback and recognition.
In embracing all of the above mentioned and current trends, I believe that the future of HR should be embraced fully by those who own it. Only in this way, can HR contribute to creating a competitive advantage for organisations.