It’s the end of HR as we know it, and I feel fine

Carmen Loredo

4 April 2019

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It’s no coincidence that the transformation of the Human R department has become strategic priority number one in recent years.

The implications of digital transformation in the workplace are obvious – many organisations have been forced to rethink their business model or risk irrelevancy – but a surprising number are still unaware of the potential impact digital transformation has on the people management model. Wherever it’s implemented, digital transformation has a profound effect on both the culture and values of an organisation.

It’s clear that the HR department needs to be radically transformed in order to attract the best talent, provide internal collaborators with unique and personalised experiences in an open and collaborative environment, as well as empower and engage co-workers. We’re entering a brave new world – transitioning the people within our HR teams from talent managers to knowledge and experience facilitators.

HR will never again have a reactive role in talent management – now, it must act as a strategic partner and work hand in hand with the organisation, aligning visions and missions within these new models of working relationships.

The importance of people

In my experience, the most common mistake we make as HR professionals is to leave the most valuable assets the organisation has at its disposal, the people who work there, out of the equation. The best talent is, ultimately, what differentiates an excellent organisation from a mediocre one.

In the 21st century, it doesn’t make sense that the department in charge of managing people is often not present in important board meetings – the concept of a human-centred organisation should guide the HR department and the business as a whole.

The kind of digital transformation that has occurred as a result of the irruption of technology, the arrival of Gen Z, a more collaborative economy, and new kinds of working relationships, has led us to a paradigm shift. Therefore, it’s now necessary to rethink all aspects of the traditional business models.

A brave new world

Everything now revolves around the employee’s experience. It’s no longer a question of reactive people management – HR professionals must focus on creating unique and personalised experiences, empowering internal collaborators, and guiding them on their professional journey. More specifically, we have to:

  • Create an open, transparent and collaborative environment that enables personal development and growth.
  • Facilitate decision making through a more agile organisational model
  • Enable knowledge sharing and modernise the way teams work together by promoting openness in the workplace
  • Promote an environment of autonomy and self-management, where collaborators feel that their work is valuable

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a renewed interest in brand ambassadorship. There is tremendous potential involved in the interactions between your workers and the outside world. Employees need to emphasise transparency, commitment to citizens, and provide their co-workers with a working environment that promotes longevity and wellbeing. By promoting a steady flow of talent, and nurturing the professional and personal growth of existing employees, the potential for positive brand ambassadorship is increased.

Best practices: Spotify

The main driver behind the success of their engineering team, according to Spotify, is their agile approach to company culture. Spotify is made up of squads – small, cross-functional, autonomous teams – each responsible for a different long-term ‘mission’. The result of this approach is a more time-efficient team, able to quickly respond to business needs, and a more engaged, more empowered workforce. Ultimately, this kind of approach leads to higher revenue. Spotify is a perfect example of why strategic people management is so important. In fact, financially, it’s crucial.

The future of HR

Over the next few years, HR professionals will face many more challenges brought about by the outbreak of AI and the introduction of new disruptive technologies, so it’s important that we start now to incorporate these innovations into our people management strategy.

The HR department is not dead, it’s just evolving. Keep up with the changing environment, or risk the wrath of natural selection.