If this year promises one thing for HR – it is change. With a looming general election and ongoing skills shortages, here are some of the main issues I predict for the year ahead:
The push to further professionalise HR should be viewed as an opportunity rather than a threat. Although Dave Ulrich is rightfully wary of the approach US standard setters have taken, the UK’s version of HR standards will be principles-based and are an attempt to ensure we have a more consistent and higher standard of practice. What is important is that the profession engages in this process to help develop the best standards possible.
HR has an opportunity to help shape the way human capital is measured so it can better tell the people story to organisation stakeholders. The CIPD's Valuing your Talent initiaitive has made a start on this, but there is much work to be done.
My fear is that if HR doesn't take ownership of human capital metrics, other functions will. There is now real momentum from reporting stakeholders for human captital to be measured, which has not been the case in the past. Integrated reporting, which requires firms to provide insight and analysis on human capital, is the future of corporate reporting. Let's embrace it.
The UK’s predicted 2014 growth rate of 3% is the highest among the G7 and next year it is predicted to remain solid at 2.7%. While wage growth has remained moderate, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation reports the strongest jobs market since pre-recessionary times, which will lead to higher levels of talent movement and pay inflation.
Finding and holding on to the right skills to enable growth will continue to be at the top of many HR directors’ minds, particularly in sectors, such as engineering and technology, where skills shortages are acute. Having a strong employer brand will become much more important for holding onto talent in this challenging business environment.
Leadership styles are evolving, becoming less hierarchical. A big challenge for HR will be developing the right leadership culture and succession plan as Baby Boomers leave the workforce.
This will become an increasingly important way to manage a 24/7 workforce with different work/life priorities across generations. Companies need to alter working practices and train line managers to focus on outputs rather than inputs or face time.
One of the largest changes to business could occur as a result of the general election, particularly for the public sector, as both major parties offer a different view on the role of government and how public money should be spent. In the lead up, HR magazine will be taking an in-depth look at what the different parties offer, cutting through the spin and analysing the potential impact for business and people management.
These are exciting times for the profession and I wish you a successful and happy 2015.