Over the past decade, the role of HR has undergone a significant transformation, moving from a compliance-focused function to one that is much more strategic and with greater responsibilities for workplace culture and employee experience. employees. This shift has undoubtedly been accelerated by the pandemic, where many companies have found that through a combination of modern leadership and a thriving work culture, they are able to meet the challenges posed by the impact of Covid- 19 with relative success.
Even the term “Human Resources” is becoming obsolete. The role is no longer about managing resources, but rather about driving people strategy, connecting employees to purpose, achievement and each other. And leaders operating in HR need to be deeper thinkers and more culturally aware than ever before.
So what does today’s HR manager look like? Who is the HR leader of tomorrow? And how can organizations nurture the next generation of HR leaders so they can contribute to business success? Robert Ordever, European MD Workplace Culture Specialist, OC Tanner, explains.
HR continues to change
Over the past decade, the responsibilities of a human resources manager have grown to include greater sophistication in attracting and retaining talent, developing leaders, managing performance and driving a diversity and inclusion strategy.
Technological developments have increasingly enabled HR teams to focus less on administration, compliance and paperwork, and more on how to add value. A growing understanding of the importance of “employee engagement” and increasingly “employee experience” to business success has also led to an evolution in how HR leaders are viewed. by the C-Suite. However, it took a pandemic for many business leaders to recognize the true value of HR, far beyond the immediate need to quickly communicate changes, adhere to health and safety protocols, support employees sick or needing extra support, while navigating layoffs and furloughs. . Even those buried in tactical efforts to guide the return to offices in a new hybrid world need to focus on intentional culture and connection, including for those who were never able to work remotely in the first place.
Today’s HR Leader
As HR teams continue to design many of the experiences employees need to excel both personally and professionally, they are focusing even more on creating diverse and inclusive work environments, while finding ways to prevent burnout, keep people connected and inspire great work.
Working alongside the rest of the C-suite, HR managers play a crucial role in developing company culture and implementing HR strategy.
The HR leader of tomorrow
The scope and complexity of today’s HR leader is only a fraction of what the future holds. HR is the architect of the employee experience and will need to work with business leaders to continue to find ways to create optimal day-to-day experiences. The days of compliance and transactions are over, HR will only gain influence by focusing on ways to improve relationships. HR will seek to design organizational cultures that create a sense of belonging, while providing opportunities for everyone to grow, develop and thrive. Ultimately, HR leaders will and should be as accountable for business results as any of their counterparts. Never has the link between human resources strategy and business results been so certain.
Over the next decade, organizations must take a new approach to leadership development if they are to create leaders who connect employees to purpose, accomplishment, and each other. The approach is to create opportunities for leadership development throughout the employee experience and embed the expectation that “all employees are leaders” into the culture. Modern leaders have been proven to create more positive business outcomes compared to traditional leaders who focus on “command and control”. In fact, modern leadership improves the employee experience by 55% and burnout is reduced by 57% (OC Tanner Global Culture Report). Modern leaders are embracing new technologies, creating a more inclusive workplace, and helping businesses through tough times. They will bring organizations together by unifying diverse employees for a common purpose. And they will enjoy and combine unique skills that deliver unparalleled results. In short, modern leaders are essential for organizations to thrive in the next decade.
Nurturing the HR leader of tomorrow
So how can companies better look to the future and nurture the next generation of HR leaders? Here are some key ways.
1. Deliberately define the role of HR and train the leaders of tomorrow to become modern and strategic thinkers
HR strategy does not belong to HR, it belongs to all senior managers (e.g. everyone at the top table) and therefore business leaders need to be clear on the role of the HR manager and how he integrates with the rest of the management team. It must be understood that HR is the architect of workplace culture and a valuable strategic asset, and as such, the HR team must be provided with the resources and training necessary to develop skills and move to a place where she can provide valuable strategic advice. .
2. Integrate leadership development into your organization’s culture
Current leaders play a central role in developing future leaders by making development opportunities more meaningful and embedding them into the culture of the organization.
Organizations that encourage employees to exhibit leadership behaviors also have a higher concentration of modern leaders. Workers in these locations have more autonomy, lead special projects and provide feedback to their peers. By helping employees continually practice and hone their leadership skills, organizations ensure continuous development and reinforce the idea that every employee is a leader. This in turn translates into positive business results. When organizations believe that every employee is a leader, the employee experience is improved by 155%, inclusion improves by 292% and employee well-being increases by 40% (Global Culture Report from OC Tanner).
3. Support HR with technologies that improve decision-making
HR technology is the only way to achieve true globalization. By connecting employees across the globe, we’re making the world smaller and creating opportunities for employee engagement that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
Organizations should invest in HR technologies to reduce administration, streamline processes and support organization-wide initiatives. They must also be able to collect and analyze employee feedback, identify who is being recognized and promoted, and understand employee performance. With these systems at their fingertips, HR teams can guide decision-making and develop more targeted strategies to improve the employee experience.
4. Empower HR leaders to make change
HR managers are the guardians of corporate culture and the employee experience. It is essential to give HR the power to make decisions and the freedom to follow their ideas. For example, if the goal is to build an egalitarian and inclusive culture, the HR manager should be empowered to challenge the business and hold other leaders accountable.
Training tomorrow’s leaders today
HR plays a central role in employee experience, company culture, and business prosperity. It is therefore crucial for business leaders to understand the potential of the HR leader and help them realize it, supporting them in their transition to a role with strategic influence and the power to effect change. If nurtured properly, the HR leader of tomorrow will become even more of a key advisor to the CEO, providing strategic insight into how the organization can continue to evolve and move forward.