The HR market in the UK has grown markedly since 2009, expanding by 17% in the decade to 2019 to account for 1.6% of the total workforce. This growth is further reflected in the US and across the world.
The growth of the sector has coincided with continued evolution of HR, as leaders have become more strategic and closely aligned with the wider business objectives. In this respect, they’re increasingly central to the success of a business and its growth, by ensuring that the employees are connected, engaged, and suitably skilled to perform individual job roles.
Of course, the challenge of engaging and empowering employees is arguably harder than ever, due to the digitisation of the workforce and emergence of a flexible hybrid working model where staff members spend more of their time at home.
Not only must your HR function play a seminal role in overcoming such challenges, but HR should also continue to adapt in line with new technologies and innovations.
Appraising the Impact of the Hybrid Working Model
According to a recent report by Claromentis, 73% of UK workers now want to split their time between remote working and attending the office.
More specifically, they want to spend around two-thirds (64%) of the working week at home, before spending the remainder (36%) in the office.
This trend has emerged since the coronavirus-inspired remote working boom of 2020, since which companies have strived to support the development of a hybrid work model by using human-centric designs for more flexible and engaging experiences.
Two more key objectives here are to enable deliberate collaboration and empathy-based management.
Both the collaboration between employees and the relationships between staff members and senior leadership can suffer when people are spending less time in the office, so effective hybrid working models must be built to address these issues.
The Role of HR in Driving Successful Transformation
Historically referred to as the “people’s profession'', HR has always been employee-oriented and focused on engagement, so that leaders are able to optimise productivity and ensure that team members could work together effectively.
To achieve this, they’ve simultaneously been responsible for implementing learning and development programs to enhance the skills of the workforce (in line with overarching business objectives), both from an individual and collective perspective.
However, the presence of HR leaders in these projects and programs was largely peripheral and remote, as they would help to coordinate employees’ development programs without playing an active role in training sessions.
This has to change in an age of transformation, especially with a recent Forbes report noting that “building a culture of lifelong learning and up-skilling learning and the development team members” are also top business priorities for 2025.
More specifically, HR leaders must be empowered to use their status as the heartbeat of a business (and understanding of its core commercial objectives) to lead development plans effectively and participate fully in these as hybrid models are rolled out.
The Bottom Line
As we can see, key HR functions need to adapt to a business’s core objectives and underlying model, while remaining employee-centric and focused on individual and collective productivity at all times.
This means that your Human Resources’ leaders are incredibly well-placed to manage change and transformation, from their understanding of the business’s needs to the ways in which employees are developed and empowered to work to their optimal level within an existing structure.
Here at StratX ExL, we have used HR leaders as key partners and coaches when observing teams as they make decisions in a simulated environment.
Not only can they comment on the team dynamic and identify some elements of the “softer” skills required, but they also develop their own business acumen and understanding when they hear leaders from other functions discuss the decisions at hand.
We have also seen that creating training sessions specifically for the HR function allows for the further development of some of these key skills. Very much like other leaders and High-Potentials, they need to be included in any development plans if a company wants to be successful in the future.
Just like other senior managers throughout the business, HR leaders can continue to develop their knowledge base directly by participating in tailored training programs. This benefits the business as a whole, as a HR team can evolve to develop relevant solutions for the challenges posed by transformation.
If you’re interested in starting a conversation about how we can support your HR workforce during periods of digital or structural transformation, simply contact us today and a consultant will be in touch to discuss your requirements further.