Tuesday, July 14, 2009

HR Trends: What is in Store Post-Recession?

I have been asked to speak to a group of up and coming HR students. The topic is, "HR Trends" for our next generation of HR professionals. WOW and YIKES!

For this first time in a long time, I have had to pause and really think about what I want to say to this group. As many of my readers know, I have been adamant about HR being strategic, and forgetting about the illusive executive table. But, with all that said, what do you say to a bunch of bright-eyed, smart young individuals who are considering HR as their career? (Especially in these crazy times).

I have posed this question many times to colleagues, and on Twitter, etc. I get answers ranging from, "They should switch majors immediately" to "they must be business savvy to be effective."

So, here is my short list (work in progress) of trends for HR post recession:

1) Compliance will be front and center-With new legislation like Lilly Ledbetter and updates to existing legislation like FMLA and ADA, HR professionals will need to focus on the impacts these changes have on the organization. Pending legislation is another area that HR should be concerned with, especially laws like EFCA.

2) Social Networking-what does this new and exciting medium mean to HR? How does it affect the way we recruit, retain and engage our workforce?

3) Perform or go home-Companies are going to be very serious about performance. Gone are the days where you could carry the dead weight/marginal performers hoping to get rid of them during the next restructuring. HR needs to lead the effort on making sure all tools are in place to make sure high performers are rewarded, identified and retained and that low performers are coached to improvement or terminated.

4) HR must measure its own performance-Instead of focusing on the usual metrics like turnover and time to fill, really start measuring items that really matter to the organization. Metrics like revenue/employee and average performance rating of new hires really get to things like efficiency and effectiveness rather than high level metrics like turnover that do not mean anything unless you know who is leaving and why.

5) HR competencies are very different today-This is not my mother's HR department!  Today HR professionals need very different skills to be effective in today's environment.  I believe business acumen, financial acumen, analytical skills, change agent, and relationship builder are a just a few competencies that  are needed.  Do you have others?  Please comment below.

This is my short list of trends, please feel free to comment and let me know what you think. I know the students will be gratetful to hear many perspectives on this topic.
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