Business and HR are moving at different speeds—can HR catch up?

So far in this series, I’ve shown how technology is changing the world of work—from new emerging roles in financial services (FS) organizations to how people and machines will work together to drive business growth.

But there’s a mismatch between business and HR in terms of how far into the future they are looking. Business leaders are imagining what their organizations are going to look like five, 10, even 20 years from now, and what tools they will need to compete in the future. Some HR departments, on the other hand, are still only looking at securing the talent they need to compete tomorrow.

To become a strategic partner in the transformation of the business, the two parties need to get on the same page and realize that building the Future Workforce is everyone’s business.

A Harvard Business Review study found that 70 percent of transformation efforts fail because “the organization never wins the employees’ hearts and minds”. If you want your organization to change, you need to make sure that your workers have the skills and confidence to embrace the change with you.

Reimaging the Future Workforce

At Accenture, I’ve recently been appointed global lead for Future Workforce where we look at all aspects of an organization that affect how it prepares for the future and how people embrace change. We try to address the following concerns for our clients:

  • What does the bank/insurer of the future look like? How are jobs expected to change over the next few years as our clients embrace that future?
  • Do we have the right talent for the future? How do we attract and retain the next-gen digital talent that everybody is fighting for? How do we upskill people at scale and get an adaptive workforce?
  • In an experience economy, are my employee experience and value proposition shaped to help me win the war for next-gen talent?
  • How do we prepare for an automated workplace where robots and AI will take on some of the workload humans have today?
  • Are people embracing the new (leveraging digital technologies to work in a smarter way, applying new ways of working, etc.)?
  • Is our culture aligned to the transformation strategy? How do we manage a two-speed culture?
  • How do we manage diversity in the workplace? How do we leverage diversity to get better results?
  • What will it take to make our organization liquid?
  • Are leaders prepared to lead in the new?
  • How do we leverage new digital technologies (AI, Blockchain, VR, etc.) to speed up internal transformation?

HR should adopt the technology it wants workers to use

A recent CIPD Outlook survey found significant dissatisfaction with the technology that HR is using currently. Fifty-five percent of HR professionals are not confident that their technology can adapt to meet changing priorities and 41 percent are unsure of how well it enables them to do their jobs.

Financial services (FS) employees may find themselves working with robots, using artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud services, and relying on data and analytics to do their jobs. Managers will also have new challenges, for example supervising robots and getting the most out of a blended human-machine team. HR should have a strong grasp of how technology can help identify talent needs, and of the available recruitment, learning and retention solutions that can address such needs.

C-suite leaders and HR professionals should be looking five years and further into the future. To do so effectively, they need to develop insight into and understanding of key technologies, their evolution, and the trends and opportunities emerging in the market.

Leading FS organizations are starting to see the value of investing in HR data and advanced people analytics—and working together to build the Future Workforce. This is helping them to enhance business performance, improve employee engagement and unlock the potential of tomorrow’s adaptive workforce.

In my next post, I’ll discuss why it’s important for organizations to build a strong employer brand. Until then, read our report on Reimagining HR in Financial Services. To reimagine the future of work together, get in touch with me here.

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