3 minute read 16 Mar 2020
What does the future of HR look like?

What does the future of HR look like?

Authors

Hendrik Serruys

EY Belgium People Advisory Services Partner

Creative mind and out-of-the-box thinker. Solution-driven and passionate business partner. Addicted to new technologies. Love to wine and dine.

Matthias Rems

EY Belgium People Advisory Services Senior Consultant

Out-of-the-box thinker. Hands on. Team player. Technology passioned. Integrity. Avid runner. Music, food, wine and coffee lover.

3 minute read 16 Mar 2020
Related topics Workforce Technology

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HR departments are becoming increasingly important in maintaining a healthy company culture. In what ways should HR change in order to meet new demands?

HR has always been a vital organ to the inner workings of a company. But as times have changed, so must HR departments change with it. HR professionals must become more business-attuned and the employee should be their central enabler. But how can these departments change when their administrative and transactional workloads take up most of their time? And how can they encourage people to become their own entrepreneurs in an innovative environment when their task has always been to limit risk as much as possible? 

Understanding the problem

On the one hand, businesses feel like HR departments are currently detached from business realities. They mostly interact with employees when recruiting people or when rectifying payroll issues and handling employee complaints. They also use separate tools to manage HR processes, while businesses are increasingly working centralized. On the other hand, there seems to be a lack of transparency on part of HR departments, and this negatively affects employee impressions of HR, which affects the way the company is viewed as well.

Employee experience and satisfaction are central to HR

HR professionals need to change their approach from company first to employee first. Keeping employees motivated and working on their talents requires a proactive approach, which means employee experience should be the absolute focal point of HR.

In many ways, employees function as customers do. Hence, HR departments can learn much from marketing departments. In marketing, Salesforce Research shows that over 84% of customers want to be treated like a person and not a means to an end. Therefore, it is not hard to imagine that this applies in some measure to employees as well.

As employee experience is the new focal point of HR departments, it can be relevant to have employees fill in a customer satisfaction survey on the HR department. This can help HR to be more employee centric, while also improve employee satisfaction and retention. 

HR professionals need to change their approach from company first to employee first.

Personal growth is a key enabler

Qualtrics surveys reveal that 80% of Millennials (almost half of the working population) find that personal growth is the most important business value. A personal development plan, continuous learnings, personalized coaching, career ownership and a flexible work environment are all essential to motivate the modern workforce. This also further improves the image of the company, which in turn attracts highly skilled talent.

That is why HR departments should focus on the following tasks:

  • centralize the employee experience,
  • help the employees by creating a supportive and emphatic environment,
  • support collaboration,
  • encourage continuous learning and development,
  • urge innovation to make them drive an organization’s turnaround.

Unfortunately, the transactional and administrative workload of HR departments prevents HR professionals to fulfill these more strategic and value-adding tasks.

With more integrated solutions and better visibility of HR activities, the workforce will see a bigger impact of HR on their business.

HR needs to expand their toolset

In order to relieve HR departments from their transactional and administrative workload, existing HR tools need to be re-invented and preferably mixed into the day-to-day toolset of the employee. These tools should be centralized and service both HR and business goals.

Rising technologies like Analytics, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence can help HR to shift its focus to employee-centric activities. These technologies can manage the people, they can give valuable insights in the unique employee and offer solutions in HR domains like Compensation & Benefits, Diversity & Inclusiveness, Learning & Development. For example, Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning could add value by scheduling people’s work, taking into account their preferences. It also has the potential to completely manage the HR helpdesk service, allowing HR professionals to spend more time on strategic tasks.

With more integrated solutions and better visibility of HR activities, the workforce will see a bigger impact of HR on their business, which in turn improves the value of the HR function.

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Summary

Focusing on the average employee has become irrelevant. HR should focus on the unique employee, the individual driven by human value. The modern workforce demands room for personal growth and flexibility. This requires a proactive approach to employee experience and satisfaction, and a more centralized and technological toolset.

About this article

Authors

Hendrik Serruys

EY Belgium People Advisory Services Partner

Creative mind and out-of-the-box thinker. Solution-driven and passionate business partner. Addicted to new technologies. Love to wine and dine.

Matthias Rems

EY Belgium People Advisory Services Senior Consultant

Out-of-the-box thinker. Hands on. Team player. Technology passioned. Integrity. Avid runner. Music, food, wine and coffee lover.

Related topics Workforce Technology