HR managers must innovate to stay relevant in the evolving workplace 0

HR innovation requiredAs the workplace moves from the traditional 9-5 model, management needs to adapt accordingly. Facilities managers are already being forced to think outside the box, and now human resources and line managers must do the same. The latest CIPD/Workday HR Outlook leaders’ survey spells out the challenge; that new ways of working and operating is an increasing reality for organisations. Yet while there is general agreement about overall strategic priorities it seems to be less clear to the wider business world how HR professionals will contribute to achieving these. Despite nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of HR leaders saying that their current people strategy will help the organisation achieve its future priorities, just a quarter (26 percent) of other business leaders agree. The CIPD recommends that the profession must look at ways in which it can innovate itself in order to stay relevant and more visibly demonstrate its ‘enabling role’ as the workplace evolves.

The survey suggests that cost management, talent management and boosting productivity remain top current priorities for business leaders in 2015, unchanged from 2013. But for the first time, innovation is now a leading business priority for a third of both human resources (35 percent) and other business leaders (32 percent).

Dr Jill Miller, Research Adviser at the CIPD comments: “Cost management is once again a top priority in this year’s survey, but it’s great to see innovation featuring so strongly, suggesting many organisations are thinking creatively in an environment of ongoing cost control.

“At a strategic level, HR and non-HR leaders are evidently aligned on goals, but our survey highlights clear areas of opportunity for better collaboration and communication between HR and other functions. With people being at the heart of how businesses operate, HR has a significant role to play in wider organisational innovation. This requires business-wide systemic thinking and action to affect change but the good news is that we can see from the report that the appetite from non-HR business leaders for HR to drive this change is there. HR leaders need to focus on growing technological and analytical capabilities within the function, so it has the ability to meet future business requirements and really flourish in the evolving world of work.”

The report also found differing views on the use of analytics, particularly due to a lack of awareness of the current and potential value outside of the HR function. For example, when non-HR leaders were asked to describe the analytic capability in their department, almost 3 in 10 (28 percent) said they didn’t know. Moreover, 28 percent said their department doesn’t share their analytics with key stakeholders, compared to 12 percent of leaders who thought this.

Miller continues: “If the HR function is to truly demonstrate its value-adding qualities within the business, HR analytics are a key way in which they can move conversations from ‘I think’ to ‘I know’, and have access to data to form persuasive evidence-based arguments for people management decisions.

“However, our research suggests that HR professionals need to better illustrate the insights they have at their disposal to key stakeholders outside of the function, in order to show the value that they can bring to wider business objectives. What gets measured gets managed, but only if that analytical data is interpreted and the rest of the business is engaged with the results.”

To download the full report click here.