According to the CIPD’s HR Outlook survey, the changing nature of work is altering HR operating models and the HR capabilities needed, but sector professionals are not keeping up. The critical skills many are missing include commercial knowledge and data analysis.
The survey of 630 HR practitioners found 22% are indifferent to or disagree that HR understands how the organisation works and how people practices influence the value chain.
Junior practitioners are less likely to feel they need to focus on combining commercial and HR expertise to bring value to the organisation than senior HR practitioners (16% compared to 27%).
While over half of respondents (58%) said they feel confident about using data and metrics to instigate change or to improve the HR function’s effectiveness (54%), less than half (47%) said their HR function draws insight from people data to drive competitive advantage.
The research also found many senior HR practitioners are spending time outside of HR, with 70% of HR directors having worked outside the function in the past five years.
In response to the results, the CIPD is urging HR practitioners to take the longer-term evolution of HR into account when planning their professional development.
CIPD CEO Peter Cheese said “agility” has become “the watchword for HR professionals”.
“HR professionals should be constantly evaluating their job role and finding ways in which they can adapt to the evolving work environment,” he said.
CIPD research adviser Jill Miller said an awareness of how HR is evolving is “vital”.
She added: “Many HR practitioners are not developing the necessary business savvy and commercial expertise early enough in their careers – with less than a fifth of junior HR practitioners recognising the need to combine HR with commercial expertise.
"This might explain why new theories on the operating models of the future are emerging, and why organisations are considering a number of approaches, which will better support the changing nature of business and the profession of the future.”