Global HR Outlook Q4 2020

Global HR Outlook_Ribbon

The team at ChapmanCG is looking forward to a busy 2021. Despite the obvious market headwinds, leading companies continue to push ahead and drive both business and HR transformation, upgrading HR leadership capability, systems, and best practices to ensure sustainable growth. Many CHROs are starting to look ‘up and out’, plotting a path ahead for the future.

In terms of HR hiring, there are mixed signals, with companies still cautious with a general preference for internal promotion. However, many HR leaders are beginning to look at replacing talent and going externally as they do not have the bench strength inside to position appropriately for the future.

At the time of writing, we are seeing positive signs with a definite uptick in senior HR search launches. Skills and roles with the strongest demand include Organization Design and Effectiveness; digital transformation; Total Rewards and Talent Acquisition (especially on the executive search side as companies look to attract ‘game changers’ at executive levels). HR business partners with exceptional business acumen and organization/culture development skills continue to be the focus of many of our searches. Often those with an earlier career leading a P&L, or with a background outside of HR have been favored.

Here are some trends we see continuing over the coming weeks and months:

OD as a ‘Magic Bullet’

We are seeing OD positioned almost as a ‘magic bullet’ by many organizations, with a drive to improve strategic workforce planning, agility, and optimization at the heart of this. We have seen more requirements for Talent Management and HR Business Partners where individuals are well-versed in OD and change as their ‘spike’. We are also observing a need for specialist interim expertise in this space.

Wellness Remains a Key Theme

We are enjoying seeing an increased demand for new thinking in terms of HR operating models with a sharing of ideas among HR leaders as to how to address and get ahead of new ways of working. This has led to an increased level of creativity around onboarding tools and platforms, utilization of current office space, engagement and wellness programs and a rethinking around remote working capabilities. As workplaces continue to embrace flexible working practices, and a commitment to employee wellness, this has propelled the need for creative company-wide compensation and benefits.

On a practical, day-to-day level, there is a lot of interest in what companies are doing to reduce virtual meetings. Some organizations are eliminating meetings for part or all of Fridays, others are putting time limits on virtual meetings (often a maximum of 45 minutes). How to take people off Zoom and letting them get back to the core of their day jobs is an interesting hot topic.

HR Operations Repositions and Rebrands

Global HR operations in its various guises is still a vibrant area with many organizations thinking creatively around how they solve this from an operating model / cost/ structural perspective. Many organisations are trying to link in HR technology, systems, and data with the transactional areas of HR to augment the employee experience. We are seeing a proliferation of titles and role scopes in this area and we anticipate this will continue. Some companies are rebranding the function as ‘Employee Experience.’ What is generally consistent is the need for more commercial and strategic capability in this space and a more creative approach to sourcing talent in this area, away from the old ‘HR shared services’ set up.

Making Better Sense of the Data

We have recently seen a few stand-alone People (HR) Analytics leadership searches. Among each of these clients, the data was already extant. However, they wanted a better understanding of the health and success of the human capital function. The goal was to enable leaders to improve growth-related strategies such as talent attraction, retention, and diversity. Additionally, these people analytics functions were created to allow HR to better partner with business leaders, by elevating and leveraging the value of HR business partners to drive a positive effect on revenue and business outcomes.

Integrated, Organic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We have seen a huge influx of DE&I roles in the market. These sit at different levels within organizational structures and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Where we tend to see most success is when the DE&I role is threaded into the broader talent strategy, so the organization approaches it holistically and organically as part of its talent and culture strategy. DE&I requires both a top-down and bottom-up approach, and a culture of accountability across all levels and functions of an organization. It will not work effectively in the long-term if it is a just a knee-jerk reaction to recent events. There is a shortage of deep DE&I experts so organisations that are open minded and creative with their approach to hiring tend to get it right. The source of talent into this area is starting to broaden, with an acceptance that new ideas from HRBPs, Talent, and Analytics leaders might inspire fresh approaches.

Our ChapmanCG team wishes you all the best for the upcoming holiday season and a positive and productive start to the upcoming year.


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