Reimagining HR: How future trends in HR are shaping its 2018 priorities

In this IN3X Study, we interviewed CHROs to understand how dynamic business & environmental factors are shaping HR’s role. We also asked them to share their 2018 priorities in line with this future reality.

Trends shaping HR in the mid-long term indicate that our traditional understanding and outlook on the function are going to be challenged in the foreseeable future. Some disruptions that are shaping HR will fundamentally alter the expectations that businesses have of internal Human Resource functions, and affect the way we are used to working. Some key trends highlighted by the respondents include:

  • Shift in HR’s role, form and function

    HR currently spends a significant percentage of time and resources on administrative/ transactional activities. While there is already a shift to greater employee/ manager self service, a clear trend that most CHROs see shaping HR will be the increasing tech enablement and/ or outsourcing of transactional HR activities. The HR function of the future therefore will look very different from today. It is envisaged that future HR functions will be lean and super specialized. The focus of HR will shift to monitoring outsourced/ tech transactions and it will be a smaller team of business aligned, more consultative and highly employee engagement oriented professionals.

  • Increasing emphasis on data driven decision making, using strong Talent Analytics

    The second trend that most CHROs see is a tangible shift to more scientific decision making on talent related issues, using data analytics. There has been a traditional debate, on whether HR management is an art or a science. Most CHROs believe that the oft neglected analytical aspects of HR will find voice in the near future, and more and more people centric decisions will be based on analytics, with evolved organizations moving towards predictive analytics.

  • Technology adoption across the HR Value Chain

    Goes without saying that HR has been a function that has lagged in technology adoption. Luddites have questioned the credibility of fitting complex human decisions into binaries. However with the advent of advanced technology applications and AI, a future of highly tech enabled HR functions looks very real. This coupled with the trend towards more analytical decision making foretells deep penetration of technology to make HR transactions more efficient/ error free. This also presents a huge opportunity for data mining and analysis to drive better people centric decision making.

  • Unprecedented business focus on Productivity

    With increasing volatility in business environments, another trend that seems to be here to stay is the business’ increasing demand for HR to drive productivity. This pertains both to HR showing a stronger ROI on its efforts as well as contributing more strategically to identifying drivers for employee and organizational productivity, and controlling these levers proactively for direct bottom line impact.

  • HR capability development in line with the above realities

    Finally, CHROs believe that in order to keep pace and effectively deliver on the above trends, there is a clear need for HR practitioners to up-skill/ re-skill in line with the changing business and functional realities. The HR practitioner of tomorrow will be more than a policy enforcer or a HR generalist. The CHROs we spoke to believe that this practitioner will be a highly functionally skilled business partner or specialized subject matter expert, with capabilities in understanding and working with technology as well as driving value from service providers who will manage transactional deliverables.


For more details on the 2018 priorities please read the complete report here.

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