As Human Resource (HR) functions struggle to complete their move towards playing a more strategic role, some of them are wondering whether simply improving current practices is sufficient given the many emerging challenges. Following is an overview of the trends behind this questioning.


Employee experience: The customer experience, which is so important for customer relationships, is now a must for HR. Among other things, the employee experience has become a requirement to attract and retain Millennials.

Digitization and mobility: Today’s HRIS types of solutions promise digital innovation, especially multi-channel interaction, mobile services and self-service. With greater accessibility to open source repositories of candidates such as LinkedIn, adopting them often requires an in-depth revision of the way things are done.

Cloud computing and the science of data: The shift to virtual HR platforms is speeding up the use of new techniques, such as predictive modeling, automation of the interaction with employees – which supports the concept of self-service – and artificial intelligence, to better target candidates. Such innovations demand, however, acquiring new skills to take full advantage of all their benefits, and the perimeter normally allotted to HR needs to be revised.

Organizational agility: Agile approaches specific to IT projects have given rise to organizational agility, a significant trend affecting all organizations. Because of its central role, HR must effectively support the company’s efforts to make this shift while tackling the challenge of making their own practices more agile.

Commitment and motivation: The upcoming generation is more demanding and less patient than its predecessors. Considering the increased presence of multisite or virtual teams, HR must now unleash its creativity to help organizations attract and retain employees who are productive, dedicated and motivated.

Well-being on the job: The next generation no longer buys into the idea of working a long time for the same company. Valuing its freedom and variety, it is forcing the concepts of work-family reconciliation, career and loyalty to be examined in a new light. The power relationship between employer and employee thus needs to change.

Manager’s role: Historically a decision-making authority figure, today’s manager has now become a coach and a type of performance leverage. It is worth remembering that the new generations have grown up with approaches that endorse group effort and co-development. They see hierarchical authority as outmoded and lacking transparency, like the annual performance review. HR must fashion managers into mobilizing leaders that provide constructive, frequent feedback.



Transformation of HR: an essential step?

Because these trends are upsetting the status quo in normal HR practices, each of them represents a major challenge. Taken as a whole, they are destabilizing and forcing an extensive re-examination of the traditional HR model specific to every organization’s context and business strategy.

Since traditional approaches to evolutionary change are proving incapable of standing up to the complexity of the challenge, shouldn’t the HR function build on a more comprehensive, visionary and transformational approach?