You may have noticed that HR is in the midst of a major transformation. Its trend to become employee-centric while at the same time enable the business to meet its objectives has necessitated the emergence of HR leaders who can wear multiple hats and construct teams of various specialists that can be deployed on a wide variety of projects. Like before, today’s versatile HR teams are charged with delivering targeted services faster, more efficiently and effectively, but to an employee population that will be more diverse and more geographically dispersed than any other point in history.

Here are five key areas that today’s employee-centric HR organization are focusing on:

1. Talent

Regardless of industry or organizational reputation, talent is at the heart of today’s HR services. With high performing employees having more options (both within their home country and outside of), we’re finding many companies are putting a lot of resources and effort in developing robust talent strategies.

When it comes to talent, today’s HR teams are also focusing on:

  • Creating an employer brand that can position them as the employer of choice,
  • Using talent analysis tools to better target employees for key roles that will shape the future of their organization,
  • Managing the entire recruitment process from start-to-finish with a personal touch that leaves candidates with a positive employer brand experience, and
  • Addressing the many needs and expectations of an increasingly diverse and multi-generational workforce by creating an environment that appeals to the many different employee demographics.

2. Learning

The one constant is change, and as product and service life cycles continue to shorten, learning programs will continue to increase in importance. We already see this expectation of constant learning and a “levelling-up” of skills with the younger workforce.

Top HR leaders are already creating learning initiatives that dispel the stereotype of boring, lecture-led mandatory “training programs” of the past and instead are creating systems and programs that can address the varied needs of their employee base—which means one size does not fit all.

Delivering targeted programs will help employees learn the key skills necessary for higher organizational effectiveness and this can have a positive effect on recruitment costs for those specialized, hard-to-fill positions. A strong culture of learning can improve morale, increase productivity, and can help foster an environment of innovation, which can have a direct impact on retention.

3. Employee engagement and culture

We’ve all heard the growing trend that says a lot of organizations are doing away with the rigid annual performance review, where for a brief moment employees are allowed to discuss their career aspirations. We’re seeing companies move towards more frequent and open discussions where the employee contributes as much as the manager.

However, to ensure success, today’s HR leaders are partnering closely with senior management to create an environment where these types of dialogues can frequently take place and employees are able to see how they fit into the larger organizational picture.

4. Wellness

From decreased healthcare costs to increased productivity, the benefits of Wellness programs are widely known. An overworked, unhealthy workforce leads to a less productive one. HR leaders are realizing the impact that a proper wellness program has on engagement as well retention.

In the recent ChapmanCG Global HR Survey, participants cited these 5 Wellness programs as the most common:

5. Technology

If talent is sitting at the heart of today’s HR services, then technology is seated just beside it. Technology has impacted the entire employee lifecycle within an organization, from talent acquisition to employee engagement and retention. These changes have only propelled HR to become a more strategic and analytical business partner with the capability and tools to focus on organization performance.

Here are a few ways that technology has already revolutionized HR:

  • Recruitment – online and social networking tools have allowed employers and job seekers to close the gap and have faster and more meaningful connections.
  • People Analytics & Data – once known as paper pushers, today HR can store their information on the cloud and retrieve, share, and parse information faster, thus providing more meaningful analytics to the business.
  • Payroll – the cornerstone of the antiquated personnel department, payroll is automated, and often outsourced, which has led to a significant reduction in mistakes and allowed HR practitioners to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Learning – with online systems that can be broken into modules for individualized learning, no longer is an entire department taken offline to sit in mandatory training courses.

We anticipate that HR will continue to position itself as a key facilitator of a cultural transformation to create an environment of constant learning and innovation, where the use of enabling technologies will allow HR leaders and their teams to deliver more timely and targeted services to its customers.