Job Skills Needed for HR Leaders of the Future by Lars Schmidt.
Human resources originally evolved out of a personnel-based function rooted in administrative and compliance-driven tasks that historically haven’t been perceived as adding value to organisations in the same way that sales, marketing, or engineering do. And if you dissect old-school HR teams, you’ll find many practitioners who’ve spent most of their careers in the field; career paths have tended to be linear, rising from coordinator to manager, ultimately all the way up to the top chief human resources officer (CHRO). This career path meant the function was rarely infused with perspectives and practices from outside the field, and often led to insular ideas on what it means for an HR professional to support the business.
Times are changing. According to a report last year issued by HR Open Source (HROS), the community platform for HR professionals that I co-founded, 68% of current HR professionals have worked in fields outside of human resources. Inevitably, they’re steadily cross-pollinating the HR function with new skills and ideas that organizations should be all too eager to embrace. Still, modern HR requires more than a semantic shift from “human resources” to “people operations.” It requires broader capabilities and job skills than have typically been demanded of HR professionals in the past–allowing them to tackle critical issues ranging from sexual harassment to emerging recruiting technologies, not to mention a business and industry acumen to rival their executive peers.
With those needs in mind, here are a few big-ticket skills that HR leaders will need in order to adapt to the future of work.
Something transformative seems to have happened over the last decade or so. As the field of “employer branding” matured, HR added a rarely used term to describe itself: “creative.” HR is now on the front lines of most company’s branding efforts, telling stories and shaping prospective hires’ perceptions of what it’s like to work in your organization. That’s pushing HR professionals to coordinate with marketing teams, making sure the organization’s people narratives support and align with its consumer branding. As a result, modern HR leaders need to think much more creatively than their predecessors. They should understand social media and digital engagement as well as the types of compelling and authentic messages to attract the right talent.
According to HR tech analyst William Tincup, there are over 24,000 HR software tools on the market today, with recent estimates valuing the market at some $400 billion. Artificial intelligence, bots, blockchain, automation, and technologies are rapidly transforming the HR technology ecosystem. But that’s no guarantee they’ll all be adopted, let alone implemented properly. Indeed, separating hype from substance and finding effective ways to harness emerging technologies in order to execute an effective people strategy is now a vital skill. This is particularly true in small to mid-size organizations where HR leaders often run lean teams without dedicated HR analysts to advise them.
Any effective leader who represents and manages employees needs great communication skills, and HR leaders are no exception. But skill with narratives that can influence and engage people–both inside and outside the organization–will be even more vital in the future. As human resources become an ever more public-facing function, HR leaders will need to be able to articulate an organization’s value propositions as an employer, not just as a company that sells a product or service. And being able to connect with a broad range of audiences through compelling stories is key. It’s what inspires people to rally behind a company’s mission and purpose–and, ultimately, decide to apply to jobs there and stick around once hired.
While hardly a new skill set for HR executives, the complexity of modern business and the expectation that HR leaders will be trusted advisers to the CEO, make deeper business and operational knowledge all the more critical. Effective HR leaders now need a strong grasp of their organisations’ business model and market strategy, industry dynamics and competitive landscape, and how all those components impact human capital–from hiring and performance to diversity and inclusion. What’s more, HR leaders will need to develop adaptable people strategies that can evolve with the business.
So it’s no surprise that one of the most significant shifts in the field over recent years is the focus on data. In the recent HROS report, “people analytics” was the field with the highest increase in expected impact (22%) among HR professionals, 48% of whom said their organizations planned to invest in people-analytics software over the next three years. This means that modern HR leaders have growing access to enormous amounts of data on recruitment, retention, performance, productivity, employee satisfaction, and more. How they gather, evaluate, and ultimately interpret that data to drive their strategy is what’s really important.
This list of emerging job skills for HR leaders is far from comprehensive. Empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence, knowledge of diversity and inclusion issues, coaching, and more are all vital elements of HR’s expanding role. Which traits might be more critical than others may depend on the leader, the company, and its culture. Still, a broad skill set is vital–not just to bring HR out of the back-of-house position where it’s long languished, but to bring entire companies forward into the future, too.
By Lars Schmidt
Offering support for both recruiters and on-site HR workforces, Smart Recruit Online helps businesses find and hire the best talent more efficiently. To see how SRO can improve your talent acquisition, campaign management, and candidate screening workflows, book a demo today.
HR departments must fully embrace the internet age when acquiring new talent, new research has revealed.
A survey of 1,167 UK HR professionals carried out by leading digital marketing agency, Marketingsignals.com, revealed that 68% of HR departments are having to embrace a new approach to hiring staff.
Although the internet age is firmly upon us, new research has revealed that almost three quarters (68%) of HR departments in the UK are not using internet marketing to their full advantage when advertising job vacancies and attracting talent.
Of those surveyed, only a third (32%) said they are using a targeted, online marketing-led approach when looking for new employees. However, despite being in the minority, it seems the HR departments that are taking a targeted approach are really reaping the benefits as reported vacancy rates are up to 59% lower compared with HR departments who aren’t fully embracing the digital age.
Further evidence of how HR teams are failing to exploit digital opportunities was illustrated by the fact that 38% of the HR workers surveyed say they only post job vacancies on their company website and share on their own social channels (without attempting to advertise new vacancies to prospective job hunters). Unfortunately, by taking this approach, companies looking for new staff will only ever reach potential job hunters who are already aware of their own company.
The survey also found that almost a third (29%) said they exclusively use recruiters to find new talent, and never actively promote vacancies themselves.
Finally, a staggering 11% of the HR professionals surveyed said that they still do not use the internet at all when recruiting, relying on print media and local papers to fill their vacancies.
Gareth Hoyle, managing director at Marketingsignals.com comments:
“It’s clear to see that HR departments who are fully embracing the digital age are reaping the benefits, with their vacancies being filled much quicker than their less tech-savvy counterparts.”
“A targeted, marketing-led approach to recruitment has clear benefits for employers. The two key metrics that can be improved by this approach during the recruitment process are the ratio from both CV to interview and from interview to placement. Moreover, many recruiters forget about the perception of their own brand as a company and that an interview is as much about the applicant deciding if the role is the best move for them, as it is the employer deciding if they’re the right candidate.
Hoyle goes on to argue that…
“…employers really need to ensure they’re showcasing their company to prospective employees in the best way possible throughout the recruitment process, which includes having a targeted, digitally-led recruitment strategy. Applicants now more than ever are using the internet for their next job search, and unless they have an existing interest in a particular company, they are extremely unlikely to find the careers section of a prospective employer’s website without [the company] deploying some kind of targeted digital recruitment campaign. In addition, having a strong brand is important of course but can only be maximised by spending time and money to promote it to prospective candidates using online marketing channels.
“Internet-savvy HR departments are also benefiting from treating job vacancies as marketing material as they are able to directly target relevant job hunters for each role. By using compelling and persuasive language in the job description, savvy recruiters are encouraging a higher number of applications vs those who companies don’t pay much attention to the overall appeal of the description itself. In addition, they can also get across the company benefits in a much more applicant friendly way – keeping themselves and their company in front of mind to job hunters.”
Article from HR News
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Smart Recruit Online (SRO) is proud to be a primary sponsor of the Health Before Wealth event taking place at Bannatyne Milton Keynes in Winter Gardens on Thursday 19th September, in partnership with Business Live.
CEO of SRO, Mark Stephens commented; “we are committed to working with HR Teams to address mental and physical health issues. This is a growing concern for all businesses and we believe that HR is well-positioned to take a leading role in supporting wellness and wellbeing in the workplace. We look forward to supporting this initiative with Business Live and Bannatyne’s”.
“Unfortunately, while health and safety in the workplace is standard, health and wellbeing is all too often an afterthought. We’re on a mission to change that,” said Victoria Beale, CEO Business Live UK Ltd.
Early bird tickets are still available at just £10 each via Eventbrite, here you can also find the full agenda for the evening and gain access to more information about who is attending, supporting and sponsoring the event.
Watch a short promo video about the event here.
The event is designed specifically for Senior HR decision-makers, business owners and managers who have an interest in supporting physical and mental health and general wellness in the workplace, both for themselves and for their staff.
There will be health and wellbeing speakers addressing these important issues, providing insights and practical ideas, which can then be taken away and applied into the business.
You will also be invited to try some of Bannatyne’s ‘Mini Treatments’ and there will be buffet food and drinks also provided.
Come along and network with other HR professionals in a relaxed environment
When people put health first, wealth will follow.
Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.
To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.