Re-invent your HR function – it will be a central plank for your business success in 2016

Human Resources professionals need to see major changes in their job functions in 2016, even if their job title remains the same. The days of HR professionals hiring and firing based on historical criteria or spending their time calculating payroll and monitoring sick days will be well and truly over.

Surveys indicate that the majority of multinationals anticipate major global mobility challenges.   While companies in all regions anticipate increased cross-border moves, on average, U.S.-headquartered multinationals anticipate transferring more employees internationally, compared to those headquartered in Europe or Asia.

More than half (54%) of those headquartered in the U.S., 43% of those headquartered in Asia and 26% of those headquartered in Europe, said that they expect these assignments to increase.  The most frequent reason cited for international assignments was business expansion overseas, named by 87% of multinationals. The second most cited impetus was knowledge transfer (65%), followed by career development (47%).


While the reason behind increased expatriate moves seems to be strategic, the policy followed for making these moves is sometimes not.   Only half (50%) of the respondents use planned talent management and cultural induction processes for making international assignment decisions, and just 47% assign primary responsibility for talent management, cultural and diversity awareness to the HR department only. More than a quarter (27%) do not have a global approach at all and  from my experience, I would suggest that in actuality the figure is even higher.  For Asia, the number really is more— almost half (49%) say they do not have a global approach!

When HR management is done correctly by qualified and informed professionals the added value to an organisation is immense. If you get the culture, the people and induction processes right, then great business performance will follow. With a growing number of job functions and increased global focus, HR professionals must become more sophisticated in their approach to hiring employees, managing a workforce, raising cultural and diversity awareness as well as aligning their decisions with organisational vision, strategy and policy.

In addition to globalisation, there are three other trends that are causing major changes in the way HR duties will be performed:

1) Systems will completely take over transactional HR roles. They can perform tasks in minutes that used to take hours or even days to perform. So now, HR professionals have time to focus on higher-level activities.

2) HR professionals will take on the role of internal consultant in the areas of change management, talent assessment, leadership development, cross cultural and diversity awareness.

Freed from a crushing amount of transactional work, HR professionals will be able to spend more time monitoring and developing the workforce. If job fit problems do arise, they can rectify them sooner.

The HR professional as a consultant will become the new lever for organisational success.   They must be skilled enough to identify potential leaders, give advice to senior management , raise cross cultural and diversity awareness and assess employee performance.

3) The line between management and HR will blur.

Both management and HR functions have different tasks but a similar goal: making sure that employees succeed in the right positions in order to improve organisational performance. This means that managers and HR professionals must work together to identify people who need to be developed and promoted, as well as to identify people who are no longer a good fit for the company.

These trends will redefine business performance. Companies who encourage HR professionals to embrace these changes will be much more successful – they will have the right people at every level in a culturally aware and truly diverse workforce with everyone being constantly developed to their full potential.

Take a look at how the HR function in your organisation operates? Now is the optimum time to consider what your HR function can and will do in the future.

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