CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The future of HR
Article Type: Editorial From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 11, Issue 1
In this issue of Strategic HR Review, authors have approached the theme “The future of HR” from varying perspectives. From the impact of the latest technological developments, to leadership development, analytics skills and strategic HR capability, there is a broad spectrum of opinion on what the priorities and opportunities are for HR moving forward.
Steve Newhall’s research-based best practice guide, “Preparing our leaders for the future”, addresses leadership quality and ability to meet future business requirements, as judged by leaders themselves. According to recent research, leaders do not view themselves as well equipped for the future or their organizations as having a strong bench strength. The author draws on research to show a correlation between leadership quality and business performance, thus making leadership development a top priority in preparing organizations to meet the challenges of the fast changing business environment of the future. By analyzing what the most successful companies are doing, the author puts forward a best practice guide to help HR professionals equip their leaders for the future, and shares case studies where a strategic and structured approach to leadership development was successfully applied.
“Social media gaming – a recipe for employer brand success”, by Tisha Freer, looks at the future of HR from a technological and communications perspective and how they can help with HR strategies and processes – in this case, recruitment. The case study charts the development of a social media game as a way of building interest in the hospitality sector. Social media and gaming were identified as regular day-to-day activities among the target audience – 18 to 27 year olds in developing global markets where hospitality is often perceived as a job rather than a career – and therefore prompted the development of a hospitality simulation game available via social media. It was a way of communicating directly, and also of impacting the perception of hospitality as a career choice by sharing the realities of operating in the sector in a fun and informative way. Keeping it fun and realistic meant listening to feedback from employees and from the target audience, while investment in this innovative recruitment tool in tough trading times required support from top executives. The result was a “first” in the market that has been a positive brand building exercise.
“Igniting business performance through transformational coaching”, by Carole Gaskell, Janet Logan and Lyn Nicholls, looks at how leaders at Ageas UK are well positioned for the future as a result of a program to embed coaching into the culture of the organization. Driving sustainable growth meant equipping employees with the support, skills and opportunities to fulfill their roles and unlock discretionary effort. It was decided that this could be achieved by giving managers the coaching capability to develop their people and creating a culture that would encourage and support this behavioral shift. As a result the transformational coaching program was developed – focusing on developing awareness of and capability in coaching among the executive team and key managers that could be cascaded through the organization. Since then business performance has improved and leaders report feeling more empowered and better able to lead and support their teams.
Any discussion on the Future of HR needs to include a focus on developing analytical skills, according to Jeanne Harris and Elizabeth Craig in their research paper, “Developing analytical leadership”. They believe the market will be highly competitive for the analytical skills required to make sense of market data and predict market trends, customer behaviors and staffing requirements. It is all about making fact-based decisions, but how those decisions are reached varies according to the different types of analytical talent involved at different stages of the decision-making process. The authors identify four types of analytical talent, with differing characteristics, skills and responsibilities. While all four have a certain level of quantitative analysis capability, the authors stress that this is not enough and needs to be accompanied by additional skills such as teaching, relationship building and business insight. This is particularly true for analytical leaders, who need to focus on strategy and understand and share how data can be best used in the organization, and appropriate development programs are required to release the value of analytical talent at this level. A number of factors are crucial to the engagement, development and retention of analytical talent and the authors put forward a framework to assist HR professionals in identifying and focusing on those areas.
“Mapping a strategic approach to HR leadership”, by Andrea Adams, focuses on the strategic role that HR needs to play in an organization – a much debated topic but one that can be hard to put into practice. The author identifies this “knowing-doing” gap and gives a case study example of a staged process for developing strategic HR leadership. Central to the outlined approach are crucial conversations that she believes HR professionals should be initiating in their organizations in order to put people at the heart of the business in a sustainable way that balances internal and external requirements and adapts to change as necessary. It is a long-term approach, but one that is designed to position HR as a strategic leader in the organization of the future.