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Businesses look to extend HR responsibilities

Companies across the UK are looking to introduce new people-related positions into their business as the role of HR continues to grow.

Research from asset management firm Mercer found 80% of companies are introducing new people roles in the organisation; 44% of companies looked to add positions relating to social sustainability, transformation enablement, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Specific employee wellbeing roles were a priority for 40% of businesses, while 42% looked to add people risk roles to their company.

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HRMI 2022 practitioner Grace Mansah-Owusu, talent consultant at the British Heart Foundation, said more HR roles could lead to more efficient companies.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "The demands on HR/people departments are expanding for so many reasons. This shift leads to different roles to support, and enhance individuals and thus, organisational effectiveness."

A quarter (25%) of HR leaders and their teams were found to be suffering from exhaustion, owed to high staff turnover and high workloads.

Mansah-Owusu added: "The areas HR need to ensure they focus on are areas such as coaching, development and upskilling, ensuring people have the right level of support at work and focus on wellbeing and flexible working as well and communicating a real and authentic commitment to inclusion."

Companies are also looking to invest in more HR technology.

Half of companies surveyed planned to invest in skill identification platforms, AI and analytics platforms.

Kenneth Sibbald, implementation lead at Virgin Money, told HR magazine: "As things develop and we are looking to have end to end, modern digital functionality, systems need to be able to support that. Technology is advancing at such a such a rate, so HR needs to be in a position to support that. It's about being agile and being able to flex."

Robert Hicks, group head of HR at employee engagement firm Reward Gateway, said diversity and inclusion initiatives were vital to HR roles.

He said: "The growth of what HR covers has been really interesting over the last few years.

"For instance, employees and candidates are demanding more focus on ESG and a natural home for this seems to be HR as so much of it sits alongside an organisation's people focuses - including the DE&I strategy.

"The DE&I agenda is central to making HR effective and empowering your people strategy. In short, if it covers your purpose, mission and values, then it’s HR or should be."

Mercer's Global Talent Trends report surveyed 10,910 people.