Change management and leadership development top the poll on short term HR trends

Earlier this year, HRD Connect (in partnership with HRD Summit/Europe) conducted the Annual HR Industry Survey. 165 HR Leaders provided a review of the short term trends impacting their business and role therein.

We asked survey participants: “In the short term (12 – 18 months), what are your main business priorities?”

To discuss the results we were joined by Perry Timms, Social Learning Strategist, HR Blogger and Founder and Chief Energy Officer, PTHR (People and Transformational HR Ltd), and Tom Haak, Director of the HR Trend Institute.

Change management, integration and transformation topped the poll, with leadership development and effective talent management following second and third, respectively.

Figure 1. Short term trends impacting HR

Perry Timms:

“Again, change and transformation are headline issues.  It’s not like change is a NEW thing.  Our approach to change has to be less about Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze, change and refreeze and deal with a constant state of liquidity, adaptability and responsiveness.  Less molten and more mercurial I suppose.  So in HR we HAVE TO change our approach to change.  And with that, how we deploy and develop our talented people is clearly a way to navigate and make good on that constant of change.  It isn’t just about acquiring and retaining talent, more that AND how we stimulate, support and enable talented people to thrive, drive and sustain our organisation’s reason for being.  Engagement goes way beyond our transactional surveying and metrics and to the heart of meaning, inclusivity and development of people.  Therefore leadership and exec development HAS to create more inspiring, tuned-up and therefore tuned-in leaders who can hold the space, describe the continual journey and create the conditions for success. HR has a LOT to do but a lot to offer given the right leadership confidence, belief and backing.”

Tom Haak:

“The list with short-term business priorities is dominated by the usual suspects: “Change management, Integration and Transformation“, “Leadership Executive Development” and “Effective Talent Management”. Unfortunately, these are typical areas where the contribution and the impact of HR is relatively low. Leadership development and talent management are always high on the list, but maybe it is time for HR to shift to areas where a larger impact is possible. ‘People Analytics‘ is such an area, but only 25% of the respondents puts this on the list with short-term business priorities. Of course, the categories are not all comparable, but with good people analytics the effectivity of the HR interventions can become a lot higher, also in the areas of Leadership and Talent development.  Transforming the HR function does not make the list. In my view that should be a high priority. To make HR faster, more data-driven and evidence based, more service oriented, more employee focused (and less boss focused) a transformation of the HR function is needed in many organisations.”


Perry Timms, Social Learning Strategist, HR Blogger and Founder and Chief Energy Officer, PTHR (People and Transformational HR Ltd)

Perry Timms is a self-confessed obsessive about a better future for people at work.  He is Chief Energy Officer of his own enterprise – PTHR – and a range of networked partnerships.  A global & TEDx speaker on the Future of Work, Perry is also a WorldBlu® certified Freedom at Work Consultant + Coach helping organisations work in more liberated, democratic ways. With over 20 years’ experience in technology driven change, organisation development & learning, Perry is a Chartered Member of CIPD, advises them on Social Media and is a fellow at Sheffield Hallam University and the RSA.  In October 2017, Kogan Page will publish Perry via the book “Transformational HR”.

Tom Haak, Director, HR Trend Institute

Tom Haak is the director of the HR Trend Institute, which follows, detects and encourages trends in the people and organization domain and in related areas. Where possible, the institute is also a trend setter. Tom has an extensive experience in HR Management in multinational companies. He worked in senior HR positions at Fugro, Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips Electronics. Tom has a keen interest in innovative HR, HR tech and how organizations can benefit from trend shifts.

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