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HR in 2030: What does the future of HR look like?

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What will HR in 2030 look like? Charlotte Penny, global content manager at Sage People, spoke to a range of HR experts who revealed their thoughts on the future of HR

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“We all knew the world of work had to change; the pandemic has made the business case and built a strong momentum. HR have a more powerful platform than ever before.”

We couldn’t agree more with Deborah Wilkes, managing director of Enable-HR. The past few years have been a rollercoaster, but it’s made HR more resilient as a result. It’s redefined HR and accelerated some of the changes HR have wanted for a long time.

So, what does the future of HR hold? We’ve spoken to the HR and people experts from around the globe in our latest report, ‘HR in 2030: 5 trends progressive People leaders need to know to get ahead.’ We’d recommend downloading the full report but if you’re strapped for time, read on for the highlights of the five trends and a summary of the advice the HR experts give to prepare you for HR in 2030.

  1. HR in 2030: Revolutionised employee experiences that truly meet employee expectations

Workers want more. Even today, employees’ expectations for their work extend well beyond pay and compensation and over half of employees say want a better work-life balance. They want to be valued as more than just simply human capital, so they feel they’re making a difference in the world as part of an organisation that truly values them and respects them.

By 2030, workstyles are expected to continue to significantly shift as a result, largely driven by Gen-Z, says Mel Norris-Green, research adviser at CIPD.

“The world of work is changing, and the remit of HR needs to shift in line with this. HR will need to juggle things like changing employer-employee expectations.”

To meet with these new employee expectations, HR will need to become even more People-focused, employee-centric and they’ll need to really think about how they put the ‘human’ back in HR.

  1. HR in 2030: HR leading the charge on organisational flexibility

One year before the pandemic, just 29 percent of HR leaders were organised for speed, adaptability and agility.

Yet, when the pandemic rolled around, it changed the world of work massively and instantly. Organisations that were already set up for agility were at a considerable advantage; if there was one thing that helped HR to manage this ever-changing landscape it was being fluid, resilient and agile.

Looking ahead to 2030, HR will need to prepare and lead organisations with their newfound agility and confidence, no matter how unexpected the change. As Mofoluwaso Ilevbare, head of HR at Procter & Gamble Australia and New Zealand rightly points out, it’ll enable HR leaders “to make intelligent choices faster and accelerate business performance”.

If anyone in your organisation can be the voice of agility, it’s your HR team. Lead from the front, experiment, fail fast and you’ll not only help your HR team to really move towards something exciting in 2030, but you’ll bring everyone on the journey with you and become a more resilient business as a result.

  1. HR in 2030: Investment in people analytics to become a ‘smart’ business

The days of needing to rely on spreadsheets and gutfeel should be fully behind us. By the end of the 2020s, People analytics will have evolved beyond simple data collection and reporting into a ‘smart’ business function that will offer crystal-clear insights to empower business decision-making.

“HR will be at the heart of the company, using analytics and business forecasting to focus strategic workforce decisions,” says Angela O’Connor CEO and founder of the HR Lounge.

However, there is much work to be done before the start of the new decade if HR is to maximise the potential of this new suite of resources. Over a third (35 percent) of HR leaders believe they do not have currently have the confidence or skills to provide better insights, with less than a third (28 percent) claiming to have expert analytics skills.

2030 will be an exciting time for HR leaders when it comes to analytics, but HR leaders need to invest in the skills and tech right now today to really see a positive impact.

  1. HR in 2030: HR automation means admin liberation

We’re already calling it “the great admin liberation” – the dawning of a new era where cumbersome, routine HR tasks will be handled by technology, allowing experts to focus on more fulfilling tasks such as strategy, leadership and growth.  The technology is available today, thanks to systems like Sage People, but not all companies have tapped into the full potential that automated HR offers.

Today, 40 percent of HR leaders admit they are too focussed on paperwork and admin. As Dave Millner, Founder and Consulting Partner of HR Curator puts it, it will enable HR to be “a more business intelligent function, that has the ability to be forward looking”.

However, this is only possible if HR can get buy-in for HR tech investment. “Many HR and People leaders find it hard to get to the front of queue when it comes to investing in HR technology,” says Linda Holbeche, co-director of The Holbeche Partnership.

This can’t wait until 2030. HR leaders need to liberate themselves from admin today. By doing so, it means HR can spend more time on working on strategic initiatives, providing great experiences to employees, and providing better outcomes and results for the business.

  1. HR in 2030: Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and sustainability needs to be front and centre of HR’s agenda right now today

DEI to organisations should mean much more than just a few powerful words weaved into an HR strategy.

Not only is creating an equitable workplace the right thing to do, 70 percent of job seekers say they want to work for a company that demonstrates a strong commitment to DEI.

This is being pushed up the agenda significantly, as Gen-Z continues to enter the workforce because they “expect businesses to take a more serious attitude toward equality, diversity and inclusion, and to be more flexible and adaptable to change,” says April Marcot, head of people and culture at Talent.

Tools such as people analytics can help HR leaders to identify where they need to focus their efforts to make real change – but the only way HR can move the needle their DEI strategy is by taking positive action.

HR in 2030: What should you expect?

These HR trends we’ve discussed will be vital for getting ahead and preparing for 2030.

However, it’s also important to understand the skills and tech you’ll need to succeed. To prepare and to know what to expect, get your copy of the full report where we cover this off, with even more jam-packed insights from the HR and People experts.

Find out the answers to these and many more questions in our latest report. Download ‘HR in 2030: Five trends progressive people leaders need to know to get ahead.’


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