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Global HR Outlook Q1 2019

On a global basis, we predict accelerated change in HR next year, with three of the hottest spots being HR transformation, employee benefits, and diversity and inclusion.
We are seeing a growing demand for strategic HR Business Partners at all levels who can drive transformation, and lead and manage change. Many client requests are for data-driven HRBPs with strengths or experience in OD, M&A, digital, and sometimes AI/machine learning.
On the specialist side, there is demand for experts in talent acquisition with skills in employer branding, employee experience design, onboarding and internal mobility. OD and Talent professionals who can impact the business through practical solutions are increasingly popular. C&B and HR Operations leaders, in addition to HRIS teams, are being asked to understand industry-leading cloud software providers, such as SuccessFactors, Workday and Oracle Fusion, since many companies are accelerating HR technology towards a cloud solution. Across all areas of HR, whether generalist or specialist, we are seeing a heavy demand for robust business partnering skills.
Large organizations are embracing agile working. Making this shift is a particular challenge for established companies that may have 100 years of history. Larger companies are trying to borrow ideas from start-ups, however the difficulty is applying these learnings in a much larger organization. There is currently a lot of experimentation and trial and error taking place.
Additionally, companies are more often looking to entice partners from consulting firms to take on executive positions, including in HR. Critical thinking, thought leadership, and best practices have never been more in demand as organizations search for new business models, and consider how to leverage the fusion of technology and talent to create a more agile business environment.
Employee benefits continue to grow in importance for Total Rewards leaders and businesses overall. Arguably the hottest topic of all in HR circles currently is that of mental health in the workplace, especially within US multinationals. We anticipate that HR will be charged with taking a much more proactive approach to this complex subject in 2019.
Finally, Diversity & Inclusion remains an evolving and high-profile topic. We are seeing progressive CEOs and CHROs encouraging and enabling bottom-up ideation and implementation. There is a view among leaders that the more diverse the team members on a project team are, the better the creativity and results.  Additionally, we see a continued focus on addressing pay disparity and improving conversion of women into leadership roles; the growing use of technology to avoid unconscious bias in talent sourcing; and reverse mentoring of senior and executive team members by millennials. Given the importance of D&I at an executive leadership team level among leading multinationals, we anticipate continued positive and likely accelerated progress going forward.

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