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Three Essential Keys To Future-Proof Your HR Career

We are, despite some stock market gyrations, in a great economy full of opportunity and advancement for anyone willing to learn and keep their skills updated. The one cautionary tale in an economy like ours is that your job security can fall victim to disruption.

I predict that disruption is going to be one of the dominant themes – both positive and negative – in the workplace for the rest of this century. This does not mean that we all need to rush out to General Assembly and take a coding class (although this humble author plans to do so in 2019).

Addressing disruption does mean that you need to take an objective assessment of your job skills and ask yourself what the long-term value of your role is and what the possibilities are that your role can be  replaced in the future. Future-proofing goes double for organizations that must adapt, innovate, or cease to exist in the disruption age.

In the latest SHRM HR magazine, there was a great article titled HR 2025: Reaching New Heights By Becoming A Trusted Advisor that described strategies for HR professionals to enhance their career by focusing on seven insightful strategies – the proverbial seat-at-the table discussion. 

The article also had an interesting sidebar listing six HR jobs for the future – shown below.

2019 SHRM Jobs of the Future

I asked myself, “What does this job prediction tell us about the direction and learning HR professionals need to future-proof their career, enhance their organizational value, and open up new career advancement opportunities?”

Technology and Analytics Mastery is Essential

My not-so-bold prediction is that the future belongs to anyone who can master analytics to drive fact-based solutions. This skill set will be essential to every functional area – including HR. My emphasis is more on the analytics than technology because what is essential is what insights you can derive from the data.

Being a Zen master on Workday will not necessarily lead you to provide smart and informed recommendations. Being knowledgeable on what data can be extracted from Workday and how this data can be synthesized into an insight – now you are on the path to providing real value.

One barrier that I have seen in my business career is that many very smart employees do not believe that they are analytical. Give them a title of Analyst, and they will break out in hives (or worse – resign). The truth is, everyone is an analyst – whether it is figuring out the quickest way to get to work in the morning or how to get their project work done on time so that they can make it to their daughter’s recital that evening.

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Enhancing the Employee and Candidate Experience

Where HR can provide real value is in creating excellent employee and candidate experiences. Simply put, HR is best positioned when its role is to find and onboard exceptional talent, provide ongoing opportunities for all employees to grow and develop their value to the organization, and to be the sounding board and voice of the employees to management.

The lifeblood of every organization is its talent (insert cliché here). This will never be truer as we further advance in the knowledge economy. HR can and should be at the epicenter – helping their organizations become talent magnets. By doing this well, HR will be helping their organizations by providing them with the competitive advantage of the future: intellectual capital.

Find Every Opportunity to Develop Your Employees

One of the strongest tools for enhancing the employee experience is to provide developmental opportunities. Investing in employees – coaching, learning and development, assessments – will create an engaged workforce that will recognize and deliver an ROI. It is sad when you think that the conventional wisdom is that everyone needs to focus on their own career development and not trust their organization to provide any help.

My last not-so-bold prediction is that winning organizations will begin to find meaningful ways to provide career growth. HR can lead this by showing management solutions that can make managers into leaders, individual contributors into Subject Matter leaders, and countless other solutions where they can transform their organization into a learning lab.

A career in HR will be very promising – especially if you:

  • Develop expertise in turning analytics into insights.
  • Help your organization become a talent magnet by creating excellent candidate and employee experiences.
  • Create meaningful developmental opportunities for the employees of your organization.

I look forward to a great 2019. Happy New Year.

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