Where is HR Headed?

A few weeks ago, I was asked my opinion about HR jobs of the future for an article by Erin Osterhaus in Software Advice‘s The New Talent Times, and recently I blogged about my response to her – and some ideas I have about companies needing an Internal Mobility Director. But all this talk of HR jobs of the future got me thinking about other jobs we might see showing up in our HR teams before long.

Here are a few ideas I have about positions that will potentially be in demand based on the ongoing shift in HR and workforce dynamics:

Virtual Workforce Specialist

Many companies are shifting towards partially virtualized environments (sometimes entire teams are virtual). This type of position will be important for employee engagement as well as compliance. This professional will focus on increasing productivity, innovation, and participation among a geographically dispersed virtual workforce. These efforts will include setting standards and consistent processes, identifying ways to keep employees engaged and making them feel just as much a part of the organization as on-site employees. The virtual workforce specialist will also need to understand the HR laws across different states and how they apply to virtual workers.

Retention & Engagement Expert

According to Gallup, employee engagement has become a $550 billion issue in the United States. As the job market recovers, organizations are refocusing on the fact that employee engagement sparks loyalty and retention. When employees see that an organization is willing to invest time into making them feel more challenged and part of an overall goal, they feel more secure and can focus on more than just hanging onto their job. The retention and recruitment expert will work cross functionally with HR business partners, management, and leadership in creating strategies for retaining and engaging employees across the organization. This role may work closely with the Director of Internal Mobility that I wrote about previously, as career development and mobility are a key component of increased retention and engagement.

Director of Career Development

This function and position has already started to appear in many organizations. Upon review of the major reasons for employee turnover, organizations have become aware that there is a lack of challenging and meaningful development opportunities. The Director of Career Development will focus on helping employees direct their own careers as well as refine and develop skills for better contribution and professional growth.

Head or VP of Talent Empowerment

The objective of this role is to increase the passion and excitement employees feel about their positions and create strategies for improving employee output. This person may have the Director of Internal Mobility, the retention and engagement expert, and the Director of Career Development reporting directly to him or her.

Revenue Per Employee (RPE) is a newer statistic that some companies look at for employee value and contribution. Organizations with higher engagement realize much higher RPE, which is something the VP of Talent Empowerment could be accountable for. Since this role is more strategic and people-focused, it would be important for this person not to be heavily involved with traditional HR procedures in a large organization. The VP of Talent Empowerment may report directly to the CHRO and be a peer to the VP of HR.

Employees need to feel empowered in order to feel engaged. An empowered workforce is one that is innovative, productive, creative and focused. With the loss of productivity showing a hefty $550 billion price tag, many organizations will see the value of having executive oversight in this area.

Director of Internal Mobility

I know, I’ve already written quite a bit about this one, but I’m really excited about it. I think it’s the one that could really turn things around. The role will be important during downsizing, restructuring and just day-to-day keeping employees engaged and excited about the company.

This person’s role will focus on ensuring a certain percentage of open positions are filled by internal candidates. Prior to a workforce reduction, the Internal Mobility Director will also make sure a certain percentage of employees whose positions will be eliminated are considered for roles in other divisions and that employees are given the opportunity to develop additional skills within or outside their area through on-the-job projects.

Although this role will require a person with strong skills in recruiting and talent acquisition, he or she will also need some level of expertise in employee development and learning. It will be critically important that this person is able to manage cross-functional teams and serve as a champion and partner to hiring managers for considering internal candidates prior to external searches.

Since organizations are focused on reducing attrition, they want to retain the “tribal knowledge” held by employees who have been at the organization for a long period of time. However, the workforce has changed — 74 percent of employees say they will consider an opportunity presented to them outside the organization, and more than 60 percent say they are actively searching. At the moment, it is much easier for employees to search for opportunities outside of the company than internally. The Director of Internal Mobility will be responsible for turning this around and redirecting that energy back into the organization to make it easier for employees to move and grow internally while making it easier for the employers to place employees without the cost and time associated with hiring and training external candidates.

What do you think?

These five roles are some that I foresee coming to light in the next few years – and there were a few others I found interesting that were mentioned in the New Talent Times article. I’m curious what others think. What roles do you see as necessary for your HR teams?

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