What does the future hold for HR?

Author: Lara Quentrall-Thomas

June 18, 2023
People network concept image

It is not uncommon for professionals of all stripes to ponder what the future might bring. Covid is still lingering in some parts of the world and the war in Ukraine has created major global supply chain challenges, while right here at home we are faced with an increasing cost of living and alarming crime rate. The many challenges of life weigh heavily on our minds and create higher levels of stress for us all.

In addition to all of that, our role as HR professionals continues to evolve, particularly as we are now forced to pay more attention to the employee experience in our daily operations. HR can no longer just be the keeper of policies and procedures. We must now help everyone in our organisations make better decisions so that we can truly realise the potential of our greatest asset – our people.

According to a recent article by Paul Rubenstein, Chief People Officer for Visier (www.visier.com) there are some key trends that will change the way workplaces operate in 2023, and inform how HR professionals should behave:

The first is that C-Suite leaders now expect even more from their HR managers. They need us to find cost-effective ways to manage and measure the productivity and engagement of remote and hybrid workers. And we are also now expected to use data to drive our decisions – in essence, to act like CFOs. We have to bring evidence to the table to justify proposals and strategies for hiring, compensation, training and retention.

According to Paul: “HR leaders can drive conversations about people analytics and insights, to inform strategies and make progress on organizational objectives. In the same way that HR relies on workforce data to make decisions about people management, executives are seeing the value of people data to achieve better organizational outcomes.”


Secondly, we need to think about effective retention strategies as our people begin to leave (or think about leaving) jobs that don’t meet their lifestyle requirements, or organisations whose values are not aligned with their own. Does your company culture enable effective and exciting career development, or are people stuck in unfulfilling jobs?  Are your employees experiencing burnout and as a result, quietly quitting? You need to have conversations about salaries, career progression and engagement before it is too late, and make sure to include wellness in your discussions.


Although many organisations have reverted to full time in office work, a significant number of us are continuing with a hybrid set-up. Many business leaders say they need people in office so they can manage them and collaborate, but employees want the flexibility of hybrid work. HR has to be able to show how a balance between organisational and individual needs can be struck, which can only come from communication and transparency. HR has to be receptive to changing preferences and be able to effectively communicate company expectations and decisions, to build trust.


A recent article in the LSE Business Review[1] speaks to the erosion of trust as a result of digitisation. Trust is a ‘lubricant for all business interactions’, and so managers must understand how increasing digitisation will affect the company trust dynamic. HR has to build processes and engagements that allow line managers to learn to trust people they rarely see, and employees to trust the reliability of the technology the company asks them to use, and the corresponding assessments of their performance.

Employee experience and business outcomes are now inextricably entwined. There is a responsibility for HR to be able to demonstrate the quantifiable impact people have on operational efficiency and financial progress, in a way that supports strategic decision making. HR must guide the alignment between employers and employees, whilst creating nurturing, engaging and productive work environments. HR must take the lead, to prepare us all for what lies ahead.


More Reading