2019 will be an interesting year for HR leaders. Here are three major concerns any HR leader should note:
2019 will be an uncomfortable year for many HR leaders. Boards of Directors everywhere are clamoring for more organic growth. They aren’t satisfied with the modest growth rates many companies have posted over the last several years. Many firms have barely managed to match GDP or inflation related growth rates. The board wants its executives to deliver out-sized growth and they want it now!
The problem with delivering this kind of growth is that most firms struggle to fill the open positions they already have. They can’t add more staff and grow the business because they aren’t being very successful in filling the never-ending vacancies that keep cropping up.
For many HR/Recruiting organizations, the processes and technologies for talent acquisition haven’t changed much in a decade or more. Unfortunately, more progressive HR leaders have been acquiring and using newer technologies to hire great talent in quantity. These HR leaders have embraced big data solutions (e.g., Entelo), recruitment marketing solutions (e.g., Smashfly), video interviewing and more to create a competitive advantage.
Other leaders have tackled softer-side issues like engagement, retention, flight risk and more to stem the outflow of talent. But great HR leaders will need to solve both sides of the growth equation. Will you continue to run in place for 2019 or will your firm leave its competitors behind?
HR budgets & headcount won’t grow but pressure to modernize HR will
There has been an explosion of new HR technologies in recent years and even more are coming. We’re seeing powerful new applications that use big data, machine learning, natural language processing, algorithms, analytics and more. And while all of this is really cool stuff, HR leaders cannot afford to buy, install or use these technologies unless they get new budget and new team members. Few business leaders are willing to give them the money to do so. They’ll want to see HR modernize but to do so with the headcount and budget they already have.
If your HR group needs everyone to do the job of HR, then you have no capacity to add tools or people that exploit new technologies. In fact, your HR group may need to start with some technologies (e.g., robotic process automation) to free up HR team members from low-value-added or non-value-added tasks. Could you free up a person or two if a chatbot would handle all those routine calls to HR (e.g., “How much vacation time do I have available?”)?
Freeing up HR team members from the mundane will help but HR will also need to add skills it probably doesn’t possess. Does your team have people with math, quant, statistics, machine learning, social science and other skillsets? HR leaders will need to rebalance the skills needed to deliver value going forward. You can’t approach these new technologies the way you used to approach new releases of old-school HR products. These are radically different products that require very different skills. Great HR leaders will need to find a way to phase these technologies in while they re-work their teams and the way HR work is done.
HR leaders will need to rebalance the skills needed to deliver value going forward
Every business is global – But HR Tech is less so for now
It used to be that HR technology providers only added global capabilities to their software when they targeted very large enterprises. Unfortunately, that viewpoint is inconsistent with today’s reality: most businesses are now global.
Only in the last year are we finally seeing payroll providers starting to roll out a global payroll product. ADP should have one Payroll product that serves about 50 countries by the middle of 2019. Most payroll solutions will, sadly, be one country wonders. Some startups, like Papaya Global, are tackling these issues headlong and can now assist firms in over 100 countries. We need more firms like this. But the good news is that global HR is becoming a reality.
HR leaders will likely have to have a multitude of systems and processes to support their cross-border operations for the near-term. The old reality will likely continue for a bit still – but at least we’re seeing a glimmer of hope, though.
2019 will be a year of transition for HR leaders. The new technology will require new skills and planning for these changes will be of paramount importance. Will you be the kind of HR leader that makes the most of this?