Role of HR Executive is Undergoing Big Changes
Human-resource management is undergoing a massive transformation that will change career paths in as-yet uncertain ways. Employers are placing greater emphasis on business acumen and are automating and outsourcing many administrative functions, which will force many HR professionals to demonstrate new skills and compete for new, sometimes unfamiliar roles.
Job titles and functions will likely remain in flux for some time, say business leaders, academics, HR consultants and HR professionals. But they say that some of the standard niches -- such as HR generalist and benefits specialist -- will become less common and less important, giving way over time to new ones such as HR financial analyst.
Those who aspire to leadership roles within the profession will have to become more strategic, more proactive and more involved in the overall business of their employer, say the experts.
But there is an upside to this upheaval: HR people who develop business competencies and embrace the new roles -- in the process redefining themselves and their profession -- can aspire to greater and much more rewarding careers than were possible for HR people a generation ago.
More and more HR professionals are emphasizing that expertise in transactions and paperwork is dying in a sense. Future HR departments will be much smaller, some of HR will go away, some of HR should go away.
The most successful HR people will be those who "think from the outside in”. "When we talk about being strategic, we mean thinking from the customer back to the organization."
In this new HR, professionals are expected to know the business well enough to align human capital with business needs, either developing the needed talent or going outside the organization to get it. HR is proactive. HR goes looking for problems to solve. HR doesn't just have a seat at the table; HR helps set the agenda.
What exactly will be the desirable HR jobs in the next decade and beyond? How does HR get there from here? And how can HR people obtain the education and training they need to secure and keep those jobs?
HR Jobs of the Future
Though the job picture is still developing, experts see several possible critical roles on the horizon for HR professionals. Among them:
• The CFO for HR. 1) This number cruncher can apply the metrics to demonstrate the inherent economic value of HR and to analyze the cost-effectiveness of various practices HR proposes or implements: 2) How much do certain employees contribute to the bottom line? 3) How much does the right training help the business? 4) Which functions or programs do not add value and should be eliminated? • The internal consultant. This person 1) helps spread HR competencies through the organization, 2) empowering line managers to recruit, interview, hire and retain the talent that they need while 3) counseling the managers on crucial legal and ethical matters such as disability and age discrimination laws.
• The talent manager. This person is responsible for 1) finding, developing and keeping the best and the brightest talent to meet the needs of the organization. He or she will 2) manage learning and succession planning, moving people through the talent pipeline.
• The vendor manager. He or she determines which functions can be handled better and less expensively outside the organization. This professional monitors quality and costs, stays on top of trends in this business, and maintains a close working relationship with outsourcing firms and other vendors.
• The self-service leader. This person works with internal- and outside-information-technology specialists to establish and run Web-based portals for many automated functions, such as benefits and pension administration, which employees can access from their desktop computers.
In these and other possible HR jobs of the future, HR leaders "have got to create a product at the...