One of the lasting effects of the pandemic is the increase in demand for the human resources (HR) team. Not only is HR getting more requests, but the types of requests have also evolved, creating more complexity.
In some ways, this is what HR has been asking for, as they are more involved in critical strategic work. According to Gartner, CEOs have stated that workforce challenges are third in their business priorities. Nearly two-thirds of HR leaders have been asked to support change management initiatives, while more than sixty percent are being asked to help with team effectiveness.
While this is what HR has been asking for, there are concerns related to delivering on the new requests without additional resources. Burnout and financial resources are cited most often at 71% and 50%, respectively. Three-quarters of HR teams have or are currently restructuring to handle the new expectations.
CHROs are rethinking how the department can better serve the organization. According to the article, “We believe HR needs to move from a predominantly own and operate mindset to one where it plays a convene and catalyze role.” By creating a framework and knowing how and when to bring in the correct resources, HR can improve decision-making.
Historically HR is the expert in payroll, employee policies, and personnel administration, but collaborated with other departments for performance management and leadership development. After the pandemic, much of the work will fall outside of HR, often with the leaders who oversee teams. Another example is artificial intelligence (AI), which can impact ethics policies and employee privacy. HR may be asked to create the company’s position even though they are not experts in AI. And it’s not just AI where HR is being asked to take the lead even though they are not the owner of the initiative.
In addition to the convener and catalyzer role, HR will need to continue working on traditional responsibilities. While this may seem simple, the amount of effort required to learn how to succeed as conveners and catalyzers is substantial. To understand how to track success, Gartner asked HR executives about two areas, efficiency and business alignment. Less than 10% of leaders felt their functions were excellent.
To improve their traditional work, HR is automating where possible and improving their internal capabilities. With their new responsibilities, they are having more difficulty. These issues are more interdepartmental and new to many HR leaders. As HR teams restructure to be more effective, Gartner recommends three ways to upgrade:
To overcome the conflicts that arise out of competing demands from a variety of stakeholders, HR needs to coordinate both internally and with its partners outside the function in setting priorities.
As technology becomes increasingly essential to HR delivery, HR functions must work with end users to ensure their digitization initiatives are driving business goals, not just streamlining HR processes.
Because so much expertise relevant to HR’s agenda lives outside the function, HR leaders must find ways to augment expertise. They can do so by bringing in external people and ideas and by working with the wider organization to experiment on novel issues.
As HR continues to evolve, it will be important to continue to deliver on the traditional roles while also innovating to keep up with new technologies and expectations. Gartner has found the convene and catalyze approach improves functional excellence by nearly one-third.
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