Disrupting the human resources process

Disrupting the human resources (HR) process has moved up the corporate agenda recently as businesses have struggled to attract and retain the right talent. Achieving this aim is unlikely to be possible unless organisations drop the tried and trusted techniques of yesterday, according to a recent paper by The World Economic Forum.

“The post-digital economy thrives on difference, diversity, and divergent thinking. It embraces exceptions and loves anomaly. It breaks down boundaries, subverts hierarchy and strips it of centralised control. It triggers wild mashups and unlikely combinations, it challenges conventions, revels in spontaneity, and it actively seeks out tension – because that’s what breeds invention,” report authors Adriana Stan and Tom Goodwin said.

“But when HR comes in to confine talent to boxes, to fit imagination into checklists, and to put the lid on enthusiasm, it all bursts into a violent clash of values: one that’s at the core of why companies rooted in tradition are struggling.”

No easy answers

Not surprisingly there are no easy answers. But there are pressing questions for those looking to modernise HR – especially in balancing innovative employees with those who are more systems-based. “Can we create a system where loyalty is truly rewarded? And can we shift away from a system that rewards compliance and gives recognition based entirely on what is most easily measured?” asks the study. Rewarding employees is ultimately a case of providing recognition and incentives to spur productivity in the workplace. You can learn more about how businesses can use employee rewards to their advantage by heading to the Blueboard website.

An organisation’s talent strategy needs to be linked closely to its strategic objectives. “Growing the business remains the top enterprise-level business objective in 2020, closely followed by improving operational excellence,” according to the Gartner 2020 Future of HR Survey.

Given those aims, respondents to the Gartner study identified thee top priorities for 2020:

  • Build critical skills and competencies for the organisation.
  • Strengthen the current and future leadership bench.
  • Implement organisational design and change management.


“As organisations increasingly tackle automation and digitalisation, the skills and competencies required for success constantly change,” the report said. Accordingly, 66 per cent of CHROs and 86 per cent of HR technology leaders said that building critical skills and competencies is a top priority for 2020 – and addressing skills gaps is considered key to growing the business.

Harnessing data

Data will play a key role in the future of HR, according to another recent study by the HR consultancy CIPHR. Using data to support decision-making has been a hot topic in HR for a number of years, but 2020 could see it become a more mainstream practice.

“The use of data isn’t ubiquitous yet, but I’m seeing it used in cleverer ways than I was a couple of years ago,” says Perry Timms, author of Transformational HR and chief energy officer at PTHR. “I’m seeking a stronger commitment to using data, and more people who want to know about it and get it in their kit bag. But we still need a big push on upskilling HR people to be confident with data.”

“HR teams need to expand their traditional suite of management information and reports, and look to track and measure a broader range of data that better takes into account employee behaviour, wellbeing and collaboration,” says Claire Williams, director of people and services at CIPHR. “Having this data at their fingertips will help HR teams to unlock employee potential, drive performance, and gain respect as a important, relevant and strategic force within their organisations.”

Risk managers face similar challenges in their own organisations, not least around the role of chief risk officer. Read IRM’s recent guidance How to hire a great chief risk officer.

  • About Enterprise Risk Magazine

    Enterprise Risk Magazine is the leading quarterly title for risk managers and enterprise risk, with a print circulation of over 5,500.

    Enterprise Risk is published on behalf of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM). The majority of IRM members receive their copy of Enterprise Risk at their home address, meaning the title... Read more
  • Categories

  • Tags