Professional agility and commercial acumen will be key for HR professionals of the future
Courtesy: CIPD, UK
13 Feb 2015
The changing nature of work is fundamentally altering both HR operating models and the capabilities HR practitioners need for the future, according to the latest HR Outlook survey report from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. Although the role of the HR business partner has become more prevalent in recent years, the report found that many HR professionals are not developing the skills needed to fulfil these new responsibilities effectively, such as commercial acumen, data awareness and analysis and other specialist skills.
The report surveyed 630 HR professionals, covered a number of issues and emerging trends that help to indicate the current state of the profession, and measured how HR professionals and employers are understanding and reacting to these. Many of the trends highlighted are reflected in an accompanying series of thought pieces on Changing HR Operating Models. In response, the CIPD is calling on HR practitioners to start considering the longer term evolution of HR when planning their continuing professional development. By anticipating which skills and expertise might be needed in the future, those working in HR will remain professionally agile and be able to make informed career choices.
Highlights from the HR Outlook survey include:
50% of HR departments have undergone a structural change in the last two years, mainly in order to enable HR to become a more strategic contributor to the business.
60% of HR departments have remained the same size, with a fifth (21%) increasing in size over the last 12 months.
76% of HR practitioners agree that HR understands how the organisation works and how people practices influence the value chain, but 22% are indifferent or disagree.
‘Working with the organisation to drive change’ has climbed the rankings to become the most important area for HR practitioners to focus on in 2015 (compared to 3rd place in 2012).
Over half of HR practitioners feel confident about using data and metrics to instigate change in the organisation or to improve the HR function’s effectiveness, but less than half said their HR function goes on to draw insight from people data and communicate it to stakeholders to drive competitive advantage.
Considerably fewer junior HR practitioners (16%) felt they needed to focus on combining commercial and HR expertise to bring value to the organisation and stakeholders than senior HR practitioners (27%).
75% of respondents consider themselves to be a ‘generalist’ and 22% consider themselves a ‘specialist’, broadly consistent with the 2012 survey.
Almost half of HR directors surveyed said their last job role was outside of HR and seven out of ten HR directors worked in roles outside of HR five job roles ago. This suggests that time spent learning elsewhere in the business or rotating in and out of HR could be valuable in reaching a senior HR position.
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