Tuesday, March 30, 2010

HR 2.0: What's Next?

Over the last few weeks, I have had many conversations about the Human Resource Profession. I was honored to be included in a strategic planning event where we discussed the profession and where we thought HR is heading. I had a great discussion yesterday with Sharlyn Lauby over at the HR Bartender, regarding trends in HR. I am also preparing for several keynotes on the subject, so it has been very top of mind for me over the last few months.

Here is what I know:

1) HR transactional work such as payroll and benefits will continue to be outsourced in companies where it makes sense and there is scale. Other companies will continue to deliver these services internally, but fewer jobs will exist in this area.

2) Healthcare is changing. Have no idea what this means yet.

3) Companies are and should be focused on performance. The recession has forced us with doing more with less and compensation dollars are tight.

4) In the next 10 years, there will be another talent shortage. Michael Haberman over at HR Observations reports data that estimates a 5 million person shortage by 2018.

5) C-Suite executives are more demanding of HR in terms of data, analysis and business acumen.

6) The way we approach work is changing. Many companies are taking a just-in-time talent approach hiring flexible workers to fill temporary needs and project work. (The permanent temporary workforce, BusinessWeek, January 18, 2010)

And I am sure there are many more observations I have failed to list. Please feel free to comment on those. I would love to hear your perspectives.

The next question becomes what does HR 2.0 of the future look like given the above observations? There are so many opinions on this subject. Here are some ideas I have heard:

1) HR will split into a strategic arm and a transactional arm much like Accounting and Finance and Marketing and Sales had to do, due to conflicting expectations when those departments were one.

2) HR is uniquely positioned to step up and guide organizations and take accountability and responsibility for Human Capital after all in some companies Human Capital and related expenses represents 60-85% of the budget.

3) HR will become expert workforce planners navigating the changing workforce and planning for trends in shortages and surpluses of labor.

4) HR will execute on its promise to be a true business partner.

5) HR is going away.

6) A combo of above

7) None of the above

You know my belief, I believe it is time for us to shine and we will be rockstars! HR professionals just need to do a few things differently. What are those? Let's keep the conversation going!


Sharlyn Lauby said...

Nice post Cathy and very timely. I think human resources pros in the future will spend more time on project management and vendor management as a result of some of the things you've mentioned above.

Unknown said...

Thanks Sharlyn, I enjoyed our chat this week. I agree on vendor management and project management, those are key. Thanks for reading and I look forward to meeting you in Orlando!

Sharyln Lauby said...

Nice post Cathy and very timely. I would add that in the future human resources pros will spend more time on project management and vendor management for the reasons you mention above.

Stuart Shaw said...

Hi Cathy
I often stop by here, always get good stuff. I’m based in the UK. Get that out there first! Anyway, often intrigued how HR views its future over the pond compared to here. Most of the time I find similarities. Tackling talent shortages. Importance of accounting for human capital (that’s what we do at Human Potential Accounting – www.hpa-group.com). Importance of linking data, especially linked to bottom line. Becoming a business partner (just read a CIPD Next Generation HR report (http://www.cipd.co.uk/research/_next-gen-hr/ that said many of these things). I don’t think HR is going away, but I agree it is changing into something very different. You mind if I retrace some of your ideas on our forums – see what other UK HR folk think? I can send you the link if you want to kick off a debate? I’d love to debate the differences/similarities between US HR and UK. Maybe there are things we’re doing of interest to you, and vice versa?

Unknown said...

Hi Stuart:

That would be great if you could post my ideas to your forums and I would be happy to keep the conversation going on this side of the pond. I would love to understand the differences. Please send me a link and I will definitely weigh in!

Thanks for stopping by, and I looked forward to many more discussions.

An HR Weaver said...

Cathy, I am begining to believe there are actually 3 parts to the profession - a transactional, adminstrative piece that if done well makes the company for which you work "easy to do business with". It's important that we don't discount this role - it creates loyalty or employee disatisfaction. Then there is an operational/project management/ program development role. This role is filled by specialists and by generalists who know how to solve problems and enhance employee capability And finally, a few strategists who are figuring out talent and workforce requirements for business growth. Each role is important, but has different requirements. I'm enjoying the conversation! Thanks for furthering our learnings!

Unknown said...

Hi Nancy:

Yes, I like the 3 roles you mentioned as they are all very necessary and important. I think the project management role is the one that does not get much press. I believe Sharlyn Lauby, the HR Bartender also agrees on the importance of that role. Thanks for reading and contributing to the conversation.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stuart Shaw said...

Hi Cathy
Here's the link to the HubCap Digital site where I've opened up debate on the differences between UK and US HR: http://www.hubcapdigital.com/ Click on Register. It will only take a second (no email confirmation needed, so log straight in). The free forum is under Discuss, 101, What's the difference between US HR and UK HR? For info, this is how I've started the conversation - would really appreciate if you could add your voice! What's the difference between US HR and UK HR? Is it the job title, the salary, the opportunities to shape things, the willingness to speak up and out on social media, to inspire, to shake up, to sound the HR death knell or take it in a completely new 2.0 direction? I confess to spending a lot of time in the US blogosphere. I find the chat more lively - and edgy - with the resulting debates packing more weight as well as longevity than over here (which is one major difference). But my question is this: are the things that engage US HR so different to those that engage UK HR? Are the fundamentals so different? I'm going to invite some select voices (starting with Cathy Missildine-Martin from Profitability Through Human Capital who started this idea off) on here from both here in the UK and in the US and ask them to say what they feel are the differences - and similarities. Who knows, maybe we can learn from each other!