Interesting times lie ahead for HR in 2016

Interesting Times Lie Ahead for HR in 2016As digital transformation takes hold and employees ask more of their employers, 2016 promises to be a milestone year for HR professionals

Last week we had a look back on the year that has been. Now I would like to turn 180 degrees and cast my gaze ahead: to what 2016 has in store for HR professionals.

As mentioned in my previous blog, big changes are afoot in the world on HR. In an environment where skills are at a premium, employees are taking control of the talent agenda and forcing employers to do all in their power to keep them happy, engaged and productive.

How will businesses react to this this new balance of power and create a workplace culture that is suited to our modern needs? Well, here are a few predictions for what 2016 has in store:

  1. Workplaces will transform. It is already happening to some extent, but in the year ahead we can expect to see a further blurring of the borders between work and life. This will demand more flexible working models and a greater reliance on intuitive cloud-based collaboration tools that borrow heavily from the way consumer-facing social media services to enable location-independent sharing. These same tools will also enable a continuous approach to talent management, helping to replace the static annual appraisal system with a more fluid, real-time way of measuring employee performance and getting the most out of their potential. 
  1. Advanced data analytics will enter the HR mainstream. HR will play an increasingly strategic role as businesses seek any and all means to compete effectively, including hiring the best talent. As a result, adoption of big data analytics will gather pace. HR teams need to ask themselves whether they have the right data to get the insights they need to create a strategic talent management strategy that will attract and retain high-quality employees. In 2016 businesses need to ensure they have the capabilities to understand what drives employee engagement, and what they should do to promote it. 
  1. The cloud will allow HR to work more closely with other lines of business. Working in the profession it is all too easy to take a blinkered view of HR and see what we do only in terms of the line of business we work in. By doing this we are missing an opportunity to create more effective HR strategies capable of delivering on business objectives. In 2016, thanks to new cloud platform that enable the easy integration of diverse applications (both in the cloud and on-premises) organizations will be better able to integrate all of their applications and data on an enterprise-wide platform. This will help HR to get a better view of the entire organization and of how employees are operating within this environment. In other words, HR professionals in 2016 will have a better understanding of the workforce than ever before and be better placed to help line managers drive performance. 

So these are my three key predictions for the year ahead. Interestingly, they are united by a common thread: digital transformation. Over the next 12 months it is clear that the innovative ways of working and business models enabled by digital technologies – not least the cloud – are going to create new industry winners and losers. HR will need to transform too to create a working culture that attracts the best talent and gives them the tools they need to be as productive as possible. Next year will be by no means easy – but it sure will be fun.