July 15, 2016

Future HR – Different by Design?

A lot of HR departments plan to restructure this year. Almost three quarters (74%) of HR leaders polled in a recent survey said restructuring is on the cards over the 12 months.

What is behind this planned restructuring?

HR leaders want to increase their strategic input and focus on transformational change. At the same time they want to reduce the administrative duties performed by the profession. Currently, HR teams are spending less than a third of their time on strategic activities, according to the report’s findings. Moreover, a very high number (92%) say too much time is chewed up by administrative and operational tasks, tasks that require detailed emails and telephone conversations to sort out employee issues, such as leave requests and onboarding new recruits.

HR leaders know they can and must increase their strategic input at work, according to the survey, commissioned by cloud computing company ServiceNow and the enterprise service management consultancy and technology company Engage ESM.

So what does this Future HR look like?

Many of the 100 UK HR directors polled in the report plan to better leverage technology in order to make processes more efficient. As a result, more than half (53%) plan to invest additional funds in technology over the next 12 months, with 74% saying it will make HR processes more streamlined and 91% say it will improve responsiveness.

It is very easy for HR professionals to get caught up in the day to day operations of their role. However, HR must keep its eye on the bigger picture and align HR with the business. It’s not just HR that is changing either – many organisations are undergoing transformation programmes at the moment.

Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report found that restructuring generally was a top concern for HR leaders and business leaders in the UK this year. Nine in 10 organisations (92% of HR and business leaders) said redesigning their organisation was their most important priority for the year ahead. Almost half (49%) had recently completed their restructuring and 42% were actively involved in the process.

So strong was the desire to redesign and restructure organisations that Deloitte named this year’s report ‘The new organization: Different by design’. This new design hinges on highly empowered teams, driven by a new model of management and encompasses a set of younger, more globally diverse leaders.

Naturally, as these changes happen, HR itself has to change and evolve. As organisations are redesigned, so must HR redesign itself. How HR interacts with employees and business leaders also has to change. HR needs to simplify processes and build company cultures that are based around principles of empowerment, collaboration and innovation.

There are lots of interesting ideas about how HR needs to change, what is working and what isn’t. Last year the CIPD put together a collection of thought pieces under the headline ‘Changing HR operating models’ (https://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/changing-operating-models.pdf). These pieces are well worth a read for anyone who is interesting in evaluating their own HR and organizational performance.