They include business strategy, analytics and, of
Savvy HR departments are already using analytics to predict and assess employee retention, recruitment strategies and
the success of wellness programs, among other
things. For example, chatbots allow candidates
and employees to have automated, personalized
conversations with a computer. A worker could
use a chatbot to ;nd out how many sick or vacation days he has remaining or what procedures the company’s dental plan covers. And a
job candidate can answer questions, complete
assessments, and track the status of his or her
application through a personalized assistant
who has a name, a face and a pleasant demeanor.
Of course, all these features are computer-generated.
Millennials, now the largest generation in
the workplace, are used to getting information
right away through a computer or smartphone. A
wide range of employee experiences, then—from
application to onboarding to checking bene;ts
and paid time o;—should be available online to
accommodate the digital customer experience
younger workers prefer, and HR should be managing that e;ort.
“Technology is enabling us to provide employees with a more consumer type of presence at
work, with a greater ability to have richer digital experiences and ;nd what they need 24/7,”
says Larry Nash, U.S. director of recruiting at
consulting company EY in Pittsburgh.
Freed from such mundane tasks as processing payroll, answering bene;ts questions and
scheduling interviews, HR will have more time
for strategic planning. Human resources “can go
from being a steward of employment to being
a steward of work,” says Ravin Jesuthasan, a
managing director in the Chicago o;ce at HR
consultancy Willis Towers Watson. “It may be
the pathway to what we aspire to be;the trusted
THE COMPANY SUCCEEDS
It’s not enough to be conversant in the
language of HR. Human resource pro-
fessionals need to know and contribute to the
vision, mission and ;nancial success of the busi-
ness;other wise, they won’t be taken seriously by
the C-suite. And on a practical level, they won’t
be able to execute e;ective workforce planning or
attract, hire and train the right talent, experts say.
“I see HR lacking, literally, core competency
in the businesses they manage every day,” says
Amelia Ransom, senior director of engagement
and diversity at Seattle-based Avalera, a tax
software business. Beyond knowing the company’s stock price and how to read a pro;t and
loss statement, HR leaders need to understand
the strategic direction of the business and the
economic and social environment in which the
company operates. They need to anticipate and
prepare for changes in work and the workforce.
Only then can HR leaders e;ectively manage
human capital and align HR initiatives with the
“HR professionals need to understand something about how business and companies work.
What does the CEO worry about? What does
the CFO worry about?” says Janine Walter, chief
talent o;cer at Epic Holdings, a ;nancial ;rm
HR JOBS OF THE FUTURE
As the nature of HR and work itself changes, so will the
skills you’ll need to do your job. What HR jobs could be in
your future? Experts offer their predictions:
HR data scientist/chief technology officer. Data and analytics will increasingly drive the job of HR;and this is the person
who will head the effort.
Employee experience specialist. This HR professional will
focus on the entire worker relationship with the company, from
benefits to training to career trajectory.
Head of talent-acquisition technology. New talent acquisition
platforms are emerging and evolving. This specialist will comb
through them to find and implement those most appropriate for
Head of candidate experience. The hiring process should
provide job candidates with all the speed, convenience and
efficiency of the best online consumer experiences. This person
will oversee that effort, ensuring that applications do not simply
go into a “black box.”
Performance coach. This HR specialist will help maximize the
individual contributions of both management and nonmanagement staff.
Organizational psychologist. While not technically an HR
position, organizational or industrial psychologists use the principles of psychology to develop a more holistic approach to HR,
marketing and sales.