The future of HR: From flux to flow

Trailblazers in people functions, like HR global mobility expertise, OD, learning and development, HR data analysts and talent managers, are seizing this post-covid age of flux finds a report published today by KPMG.

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The Autumn issue of Think Global People magazine is out now

The latest in KPMG’s annual future of work research has just been released. This third instalment asked 300 Chief HR Officers and their equivalents what their biggest challenges are as they support businesses position for the unknown.

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The report, The Future of HR: From flux to flow, also analyses how HR’s ‘pathfinders’ – the top 10 per cent of HR functions – are leading their peers on delivering strategic goals, growing workforce capability and embedding purpose across the business. In the process, they could potentially tip HR into the golden age promised post-covid. 

Strategic workforce planning and wellbeing

The international business advisory cross-referenced CHROs’ biggest challenges for now and the next three years with their capacity to respond to them.The report identifies are six interlinked priorities: 
  1. Understanding how the size, shape, skills and organisation of the workforce needs to change to meet future needs three years out (57%); and improving the employee experience across enterprise processes (also 57%)
  2. Improving the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce (53%)
  3. Building a Talent Marketplace, which allows for the matching of skills to tasks as well as people to jobs (46%)
  4. Automating HR service delivery (39%); and delivering digital technology into HR beyond the core HR system of record (also 39%)
  5. Delivering predictive insight and business value from workforce analytics (36%)
  6. Ensuring the workforce contributes to ESG topics, including any commitments to net-zero and diversity and inclusion targets (32%).

Which companies are leading the way in HR?

In parallel, KPMG researched those organisations – HR pathfinders – that are making significant headway in their responses.Representing a range of sectors, these multinationals comprise: Aegon, AIB, Albertsons, Aviva, bp, Genentech, Microsoft, Ocado Group, Salesforce, Starbucks, Tesco and Tevva.Their experiences in the report illustrate how they are addressing new and emerging challenges more successfully than others. They are preparing for the future by taking strategy to the next level and developing their capabilities around:
  • delivering strategic flow
  • being digital in thought, word and deed
  • advancing analytics safely from insight to action
  • shopping for talent – building talent marketplace
  • holding to heading – making purpose real
  • prioritising wellbeing and feeling good.

Talent Marketplaces across borders

“This year’s research focuses on what HR can do to support an organisation’s grand plans, while also navigating the complex and immediate dilemmas of the function,” says KPMG. Among the signposts being staked by KPMG’s pathfinders is the idea of a talent marketplace. Recognising approaches vary by organisational need, the talent marketplace “is about understanding the skills your organisation needs now and in the future, and asking questions around whether it’s possible to create skilled workforces that can undertake task-based or project-based work.”The Future of HR: From flux to flow also identifies team agility and mobility, particularly across borders, as success factors. This underscores the increasingly important role of global mobility expertise in the future world of work. Alongside consideration of job evaluations, job descriptions and pay, here “management support for sharing and exchanging talent, as well as stringent employee data privacy policies, will be integral to trust in this new way of operating.” The report concludes, “As employees go through a Great Reconsideration, there is little time for HR to sit back and hope the company strategy will unfold, and that employees will be happy to keep turning up each day. “Therefore, for Pathfinders, efforts across these six themes are continuous. This dedicated focus on improvement and innovation sets the Pathfinding HR functions apart from others, and helps ensure they move from flux to a state of genuine flow. Of course, Pathfinding HR functions might be leading the way — but there is no reason why others cannot catch or overtake them.” 

Read more in the upcoming Winter issue Think Global People magazine. Subscribe now to reserve your copy

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