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Challenges Facing HR in 2014

2013 was a testing year for the HR category with some challenging questions being asked about how HR adds value to Business. Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, told delegates at the Institute’s Annual Conference in November that a new framework and thinking for the future of HR and people development is needed. He calls on us as a Profession to increase our impact and voice.

This is all good stuff, but as we go into 2014 with increasingly large workloads – just how can we do that? I think the starting point is to critically ask yourself and your team members 5 questions:


1. How have you aligned your HR priorities to your Business plan?

In too many cases the HR agenda is driven by HR itself and it is not clear how it dovetails into the commercial requirements of the Business. HR should be at the core of the Business and its outputs should support the business strategy through the people plan. HR activities need to be aligned and driven by the commercial requirements and goals of the organisation.


2. How do you ensure your HR teams have the right skills and really understand the organisation?

HR is often good at policy, procedure, process, and implementing best practice. However we often hear that HR is perceived as non-influential – we are seen more as compliant, non-decisive, implementers and risk averse. Knowing the technical stuff in the future will be a given. HR of the future will also need to be commercially strong, prepared to take risks, focussed on the future, work collaboratively, internally and externally, and be influential. They will not lose their passion for people.


3. What quantifiable benefits will your HR teams deliver this year?

HR must add tangible value to the bottom line – we have to measure and quantify our contribution. If not – why bother? HR activities are often seen as adding to the Manager’s workload rather than achieving the organisational objectives. Before you embark on any piece of work be clear on how it will demonstrate commercial impact in terms of the people.


4. How productive are your employees?

As a category we have been talking about Employee Engagement non-stop for 5 years. We are now able to quantify the commercial impact good Employee Engagement can have on the bottom line, but many organisations are still in the Transactional stage - processing and implementing action plans. We need to move from Transactional Employee Engagement to Transformational Employee Engagement. HR needs to play a fundamental role in leading and embedding this.


5. How influential are you?

We need to accept that you don’t get influence through control; you achieve influence through other people’s positive experience of you. You gain influence through contributing to creating and implementing the solutions. This means thinking differently. If you say things like – this is the way it is done here, or this is how the market is - you will retain the status quo.