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HR – Evolution or Extinction?

All around the world, as I continuously meet with Global, Regional, and Country business and HR folks I often get asked about the future of HR. Is the HR profession dying? And this is a legitimate question. With all the talk of big data, artificial intelligence, and the resulting impact on the future workforce it is sensible to reflect on how different professions will be impacted.

Well, the answer is yes and no. True and false. The traditional HR role–as we have always known it–is certainly on the demise. But fear not, HR friends, because those with a commercial and agile mind-set will be gainfully employed for many years to come.

I can happily report that ChapmanCG remains as busy as ever, which is the ultimate litmus test that the HR world remains buoyant.

Here are a few reasons why HR will live on and how you can position yourself to evolve right along with it.

1) HR remains a key business enabler.

Although most companies are in the midst of a rapid transformation that brings greater efficiencies to their support functions, there still remains a high demand for HR specialists who can wear multiple hats and diversify their specialist capabilities. HR that can’t provide significant ROI is being chopped, and so are the people who can’t find ways to add business value.

2) It doesn’t matter how good your business idea is or how sexy your product, you will always need good talent.

And the 21st century is the “talent” era. Don’t limit yourself to just HR operations roles. Gain experience in talent acquisition, talent retention, and future talent planning.

3) There’s a fascination and hunger for innovation in HR and high-growth, young companies are changing the face of the profession.

The amount of attention and investment spent on HR only highlights its necessary place within the larger organisational context, not its demise. I can’t think of a more exciting profession to be watching.

4) HR is attracting more mid-career hires from non HR backgrounds including law, accounting, marketing, technology, and other business savvy domains.

This is not unexpected due to the greater intellectual stretch being placed on HR with sharper analytics, technology and greater commercial integration with the business.

5) Globalization.

While this has complicated HR processes, it has undoubtedly liberated HR at the same time. Globalisation has led to greater integration between countries and regions, as well as virtual teams, communications, and processes. Perhaps this is why we see the increase of our HR friends with international assignment experience starting to rise into HR leadership roles, literally everywhere!

The HR profession remains incredibly interesting and a viable career choice, now more so than ever. We are not witnessing the death of HR. Instead, we are experiencing its evolution. As we look to the future of HR — with big data, analytics, testing, measuring, and predictive technology there are a few constants that will remain. HR will always be a job that is about understanding, empathising with, and getting the most out of people.


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