Changes Ahead For HR Departments

  • Prioritizing Diversity
  • Use of Big Data
  • Innovation and Integration
  • Remote Workforce Challenges
  • Artificial Intelligence

No longer a fairly static department with duties limited to such areas as orienting new hires and dealing with payroll and vacation schedules, the HR department of tomorrow will lead in a number of exciting ways.

1. Prioritizing Diversity

From the #metoo movement to growing recognition among executives that their ranks lack diversity to more scrutiny by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding reports of age discrimination, encouraging diversity in the workplace is a growing concern for many companies. This is not just about avoiding lawsuits or even branding. HR departments, and companies in general, are increasingly recognizing the value of a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives in their workforce and their boardrooms.

2. Use of Big Data

The use of big data is revolutionizing many fields, and HR is one of them. Big data refers to the ability of computers to gather vast amounts of information and analyze that data in various ways that would be beyond the reach of humans. Metrics useful to HR may include turnover rate, the average timeframe to promotion, and employee engagement. Analyzing data can help HR determine the best candidates for a job, which employees might be in danger of leaving, what keeps employees motivated and more.

3. Innovation and Integration

An article in Inc. predicts a more holistic future overall for HR departments, one in which the department is focused on developing employees to their full potential and helping to define a strategy for the entire organization. As workers are increasingly recognized less as “resources” and more as the key drivers of success in a company, HR will step up to influence employee culture. This might include regular check-ins replacing yearly performance appraisals and a rise in mentoring.

4. Remote Workforce Challenges

Whether employees are local but only check in to the office once a week or less or are scattered across the globe, a remote workforce is becoming more commonplace, and human resources offices of the future will need to innovate in order to deal with the challenges. One major challenge will be how to build a sense of teamwork and cohesiveness with employees so scattered. Another will be how to measure workflow and output without monitoring employees to an intrusive degree.

5. Artificial Intelligence

Some argue that AI will mean HR departments in the future will cease to exist in their current forms, but it is more likely that AI will automate certain functions, leaving humans to do more complex tasks. An article in Forbes predicts AI will be able to help with frequently asked questions, particularly of new hires, and help remove human bias from certain aspects of hiring and retention.

These are only a few of the innovations that lie ahead for this department. The exciting ways human resources will change in the future mirror many of the other changes that are happening in most industries and sectors and should make for a more satisfying work experience in the years ahead.