Future of HR is Fluid, Frictionless, & Agile

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It’s that time of year again. The HR Technology Conference is upon us. It’s a time to connect with colleagues, friends, and innovators who are changing the human resources and recruiting industry. Some of those innovators are HR and recruiting practitioners. Some are researchers and analysts. And some are the technologies themselves, the creators who are writing code for tomorrow’s technology today.

This time of year is always a great one to stop and access our current state in the technology landscape. It’s also a great time to look forward into the future of not just technology but the entire human resources industry will be in 2018 and beyond.

Bold Predictions for HR and Human Resources Technology

The spotlight is shining bright on the human resources industry. We’re under pressure to engage, retain, and develop talent for our organizations on a global scale like never before. The economy remains sound, and companies are experiencing a great deal of pain in the area of human capital. This is our moment when we, as HR and recruiting innovators will shine or crash and burn.

I’m an eternal optimist so I’m seeing this as an opportunity for us to seize the day and shine in our organizations. Our work is often overlooked, misunderstood, and underutilized. It’s because our roles are extremely complex and require us to take an increasingly strategic role in the business for HR. It’s because of this that HR needs to be optimized, focused, organized, and most importantly process-oriented. As human capital investments at in our company grow, we, as leaders need to be focused not just on the standard issue HR and recruiting projects but looking to process, lean methodologies and change management best practices.

#1 – Human Resources as a Fluid Member of the Organization

Long gone are siloed HR departments. The new HR must be fluid, flexible, and embedded into organizations supporting different areas. I’m not just talking about a single HR leader in a location. Human resources needs to be looked to as a member of the organization who welcomes change, drives, and innovation and does so in a quick, precise and fluid manner. Maybe this means putting HR in non-traditional areas like operations or supporting departments instead of simply just locations. As we move to more strategic project management roles, we need to move beyond the traditional HR organizational structures.

#2 – Frictionless HR

For years, we’ve been seen as the dress code police and that is seen as standing in the way of a manager being able to fire an employee. It doesn’t matter that the manager didn’t do any documentation or that you have an EEOC charge investigation pending. We need to look for ways to operate quickly and efficiently. This could mean measuring responsiveness or time to complete an investigation. I’m thinking of new metrics that focus on our response times in terms of handling manager or leadership issues and completing other HR-related tasks. While i know that many of us are responsive, it’s time to measure, communicate, and market our efforts. And if we aren’t being responsive. Maybe employee investigation times are taking 7 business days instead of 3. It’s important that we begin to measure and address where these bottlenecks exist in our HR function. Perhaps we use this opportunity to develop an internal public relations and communication strategy to help change the way in which people feel about HR complete.

#3 – Agile

We must run lean but be focused on process, efficiently, and how we support the larger organization. This means taking a SCRUM and agile mindset in how we approach projects within our own HR operations as well as across-department collaborations. This agile mindset is especially important in the implementation of any type of large-scale work project including HR technologies. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my interview with Jason Averbook on the Workology Podcast. He encouraged HR teams to always be in perpetual beta. We’re always moving forward, working towards the next change, or implementation. I think this approach fits the new HR. Human capital is never finished. There’s always more work to be done, and I think we should approach everything we do in HR that way.

#4 – Finding Partners and Building Trust

We’re only as good as the people, the business, and the team who supports us. That’s not just our HR team but the mix of service providers, technology vendors, contractors, consultants, agencies, and freelancers we work and collaborate with on a daily basis to drive change for our business. These partners are important and critical to the continued growth and success of not just our departments but the entire organizations. Finding good partners that you can trust is so important especially with the number of providers, technologies, and tools that are entering our marketplace. It’s truly a team effort which means focusing on building relationships in some unconventional places. With all the changes in the marketplace, we can’t-do this alone. You need a team to help ensure success.

These are some of the themes I’m already starting to see as we lead up to the HR Technology Conference. I look forward to uncovering more as I hit the ground running later today. If I see you there, I’d love to sit down, grab a cocktail or a coffee and hear more about where you think the industry is moving.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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