December 2018
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TD Magazine

Changes Are Ahead for HR

CHROs identify their priorities for the business transformation.

The HR function is expected to see major changes in the next few years. The IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics surveyed more than 2,000 chief human resources officers about the future of HR. The findings, published in Unplug From the Past, reveals how CHROs plan to transform their organizations in the next two to three years.

The majority of CHROs (61 percent) identified at least six functional capabilities they intend to address in the coming years. The top area, identified by 69 percent of respondents, concerns how companies measure employees and provide feedback. This is a logical area of focus in a changing workplace. According to the report, "Annual, one-size-fits-all performance appraisals no longer fit the bill in an environment where employees might move between several teams and projects."


The report lists 10 other capabilities CHROs plan to address, including the training provided to employees, the enterprise's overall compensation philosophy and programs, and how the enterprise addresses employee data and privacy issues.

CHROs will of course need the right skills to address these areas. Just over half (51 percent) agreed that they need significant leadership experience outside the HR function to be successful. Nearly as many (50 percent) agreed that CHROs need to be critical change agents during the overall business transformation effort.


What does it take to be a critical change agent? ATD Research's Change Enablement: Skills for Addressing Change identifies the top skills employees at every level should have during times of change. It found that the top three skills senior leaders should have for managing change are communication, strategic thinking and decision making, and trust-building skills. While senior leaders are likely to receive training in communication and strategic thinking and decision making, less than one-third receive training in trust building.

To ensure CHROs are prepared to transform the workplace, talent development should consider providing change skills training to senior leaders. As Unplug From the Past notes, "It's time for HR to take bold steps to foster reinvention."

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About the Author

Shauna Robinson is a research analyst at the Association for Talent Development (ATD), where she prepares surveys, analyzes data, and writes research reports and short case studies. Her previous positions at ATD include human capital specialist and communities of practice coordinator.

Prior to working for ATD, Shauna was a senior editorial assistant at Wiley in San Francisco, California. Shauna received a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley, and she is currently attending the University of Connecticut remotely to obtain a master's degree in survey research.

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