Second in a Series
In the first blog of this series on Mega HR Trends in 2017 and Beyond – Perspectives on the Future of the Workplace from #SHRM16, mega HR trend #1 was the power of connecting.
In this second blog of the mega HR trends series, the second key trend is the businessification (OK I know that’s not really a word, but it SHOULD be, right?) of HR. Getting a seat at the table of the C-suite is not a new concept for HR. However, it’s clear that tremendous progress has been made toward this objective of the profession. Strategy, business acumen, leadership, big data – all these have become integral to the toolkit expected of HR pros.
The main crux of the businessification of HR falls into four key themes:
- Business acumen; and
- Data, analytics and metrics (oh my!).
Each of these will be key areas of focus and priority in the coming years for the HR profession; #SHRM16 offered numerous opportunities to upskill and support those in HR with these critical skills.
Jennifer McClure, President of Unbridled Talent, LLC, wowed a mega session crowd of over 1000 HR pros with her session on The Future of HR: Four Strategies to Meet Business Challenges and Deliver Maximum Impact on Results.
McClure focused on the evolution of competencies necessary for effective HR leadership and where HR can deliver maximum business impact. She stressed that to thrive in the business environment of the future, the competencies and capabilities of HR professionals must evolve – HR leaders who master these business skills will deliver more value and find greater executive support.
One of her key points, and a real theme for the #SHRM16 conference and the HR profession in general, is nicely summed in this tweet from CareerBuilder:
Many other sessions addressed a wide range of strategic HR issues, such as:
- HR’s Role in Influencing Your Organization’s Strategy;
- Three Rules to Creating Resilient HR Strategy;
- Practical Ways HR Can Drive Business Strategy and Excellence;
- Optimizing HR Strategy for Organizational Effectiveness;
- Rethinking HR: The Future of Work and HR; and
- HR 2020 Transformation: Next Practices in HR Strategy, Leadership, and Business Contribution.
No doubt, HR as a strategic business driver is here and HR pros need to ensure strategic skills are included in their department’s toolkit.
SHRMStore sales at the conference bear out the importance of leadership skills among HR pros. Andi Cale, manager of the SHRMStore, wrote “Leadership Books Lead the Pack at #SHRM16,” offering a glimpse into the focus and challenges of HR professionals, and the tools they are looking for to help meet their needs.
Cale noted: “This year, while many HR topics stood out—employee relations, compliance and performance management, to name a few—the one topic that beat all others was leadership. Books that dealt with transitioning from manager to leader, understanding and cultivating your personal brand, and building trust were among the top sellers.” These top sellers included such titles as Defining HR Success: 9 Critical Competencies for HR Professionals and Make Change Work: Staying Nimble, Relevant, and Engaged in a World of Constant Change.
Clearly, attendees were looking for resources to help build on leadership and business acumen topics covered in the conference. Leadership topics were the focus of several sessions, such as:
- Embracing the Challenge of Change;
- Igniting Innovation and Creativity; and
- The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line.
Knowledge isn’t always enough – it’s what you do with that knowledge. And that’s where leadership skills come in.
The importance of understanding the business and helping drive business results are now key competencies for HR professionals and will continue to be. With new SaaS tools driving employee self-service and increasingly automated workplace workflows, HR departments have proportionally fewer transactional activities and increasing business, strategic and advisory functions. Not only does HR help support business objectives but an effective HR operation can be instrumental, and often critical, to the success of the business. Being able to track and show the return on investment (ROI) in human capital (or alternatively, change course if the ROI isn’t there) is a professional imperative.
Numerous speakers tackled various perspectives here to help attendees:
- Seeing the Big Picture®: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career & Company;
- Translating HR to Net Profit: How to Show the Real Bottom Line Impact of HR;
- Elevating HR: The Keys to Helping HR Professionals Create Greater Business Value;
- HR and Finance: A Pivotal Relationship;
- Aligning Learning, HR to Deliver Maximum Business Impact; and
- Business Smarts for HR Professionals.
HR MBA anyone?
Data, Analytics and Metrics (Oh My!)
There’s been an almost overwhelming flurry of developments and new resources to leverage big data as a business insight resource. Most workplaces, at some level, have electronic systems that are, or could be, tapped for insights into workforce trends. Raw data abounds, but doesn’t offer much value in its unprocessed state. The challenge is analyzing to cull these systems, or installing plug-ins to existing systems, to garner actionable intelligence. Reports and analytics are increasingly commonplace as a means to gain descriptive (summarizing), predictive (predicting the future) or prescriptive (prescribing an action) analytics to help with strategies and business decisions.
Regardless where your workplace stands on embracing analytics and big data, Jennifer McClure’s tweet summarizes nicely the impact on the HR professional:
Sessions such as these were standing room only at #SHRM16, and no wonder!
- HR Metrics That Matter: Learn to Drive Sustainable Business Processes
- Understanding Metrics: How to Connect HR’s Goals to Your Business’ Strategy
With 43 sessions in #SHRM16’s Business Acumen and HR Strategy track, clearly HR has increasing remit on workplace strategies and driving business results. HR as a profession is certainly evolving to be more challenging, but also more fun!
Other XpertHR blog posts relating to these matters include:
- 8 Steps to Getting Buy-In for HR Initiatives
- How Effective Communication Can Enhance HR Credibility
- Top 7 Workplace Trends in 2016 – Key Takeaways from SHRM’s Employment Law and Legislation Conference 2016
- How HR Can Build a Business Case in the C-Suite
Photo Credits: Twitter – CareerBuilder – Jennifer McClure.