Three critical skills needed to survive HR disruption

by Miklos Bolza27 Jan 2016
“There’s something we really need to talk about,” Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, global head of research at PageUp, told HRD in a recent interview about business disruption. “Complexity is killing HR at the moment.”
Due to added challenges from rapid technological developments and the changing needs of the new generation of workers, HR is really having difficulty, she said.
One of the main reasons is that managing these changes requires skills not typically found under the HR umbrella.
“HR itself is being asked to do things which are not traditionally seen as part of the HR remit, and some are struggling with this,” she said.
There are three main skillsets that HR really has to develop to stay on top of this issue, she added.
Business acumen
While HR talks a lot about being partners to the business, this should involve more than just holding the business’ hand, Vorhauser-Smith said. Instead, HR should actively try and understand the business.
“For many HR people that means getting out of HR for a while. Get into the business or come into HR from the business, because you’ll then have some real first-hand experience with it.”
“HR is probably thinking they’re there, calling themselves business partners, but the business does not call them business partners – they call them HR.”
Marketing skills
HR’s function is shifting into marketing’s domain, Vorhauser-Smith said, and it is up to HR to learn what marketing has learnt over the past decade.
“That means: understanding return on equity, return on investment; being able to communicate to both an internal and external audience like a marketer would; [and] also, selling to the audience, presenting the value proposition as a marketer would.”
Analytical capabilities
Although analytics has been discussed for a few years now, it is time for HR take the topic to a new level that’s more than simply creating a new dashboard.
“It’s about analysing that, understanding it and putting it in the business context,” she said. “It’s about making predictions from those analytics and allowing business managers to make decisions.”
One key to success in this area is taking the data scientist’s approach, she added, with HR really pulling those numbers apart and looking for trends so that more accurate predictions can be made.
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