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Future of work: It’s time for HR to step up

A seat at the table

Various industries are undergoing major disruption through technology and automation and it’s the perfect time for HR professionals to seize this opportunity to be a part of something revolutionary. It is time for Human Resources (HR) to elevate its thinking and actions, become credible business partners and influence and drive c-suite decisions as we build future fit organisations.

“I think the time has never been more appropriate for HR to step up and become credible advisors in their businesses, and HR as a profession needs to draw together to share ideas around how we are going to help individuals and organisations prepare and become fit for purpose in the future of work,” says Adcorp Chief People Officer, Vinolia Singh.

Defining the future

HR departments are going to have to play a critical role in leading and guiding businesses into the future. Further, we need to become enablers in preparing employees with the right competencies to thrive in the future world of work.

Singh highlights that “HR’s role is going to be fundamental in terms of defining what competencies and skills are going to be needed in the future and to understand which areas of HR as a practice are going to be highly disrupted by the future of work. This will likely include areas like learning and development, and how our remuneration and performance policies are going to change.”

Research anticipates that aside from learning and development, our work structures, the automation of HR tasks, data analysis, recruitment, performance management, rewards and recognition programmes and increased social inclusion will be highly impacted by digital disruption in the coming years.

Agents for change

As key agents for change HR professionals are going to have to take on massive change management projects as we navigate the major shifts in the way we work while helping our organisations resolve challenges.

Singh emphasises that “HR has to play a critical role in the change management journey, taking organisations and employees along on this road, preparing for what the future is really going to look like. HR must, as a profession, come together to share ideas, share experiences and find solutions in order to understand and make sense of what this unknown future is going to look like for our very old businesses.”

Coming together

Siloed thinking is not an option if organisations hope to remain successful but rather a focus on systemic thinking will become the game changer. “I find it quite interesting as we talk about company-wide collaboration, to look at where Adcorp is right now in its business transformation journey,” Singh explains. “Our company-wide collaboration is key to success for me and I see it play out. It drives broader systemic thinking as opposed to siloed mentality, and I think that if any organisation wants to thrive right now, they need to look at the whole rather than individual parts in order to solution for their clients and provide the best service offering possible. Company-wide collaboration, in my opinion, has become pivotal in the success of any organisation as we move into the future.”

The great unknown

Singh concludes that the takeaway here is that HR needs to get their house in order, to make sure that they are focusing their energy where it makes the most sense. Some of the key focus areas right now include:

  • Developing skills among employees and themselves
  • Managing and leading the change transformation journey
  • Becoming more customer centric to both internal and external customers
  • Changing their operating models to become relevant in the future of work
  • Understanding and embracing technology
  • Developing the ability to structure and interpret data more meaningfully

For HR, the great unknown is as exciting as it is terrifying. Making sense of the chaos is your mission and developing the right competencies to steer your ship through tumultuous seas is your top priority. As Sheryl Sandburg once said, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” This is indeed is a very exciting time for the HR profession.


About Adcorp

Across the Group we have a number of end-to-end workplace solutions solving a wide range of business challenges. We search, place, develop, train and manage people for temporary and permanent job opportunities. Our recruitment processes are renowned for their integrity, effectiveness, and the calibre of candidate experience. We also supply people resources on an outsourced basis and manage people intensive processes on behalf of our clients. Our mission is to build workplaces and careers of the future by transforming the places we work in. We do this by connecting potential.

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