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Top Priorities for HR Leaders 2020

As we navigate the second quarter of 2020, HR leaders remain focused on the key areas that will be driving business outcomes this decade. Priorities such as building critical skills, strengthening current and future leadership, driving digital business transformation and enhancing employee experience are all high on the agenda this year.

With the current reality of the coronavirus epidemic and Brexit transition, the priorities for HR leaders in 2020 will reflect the challenges and opportunities facing UK business today. To achieve business growth and sustainability, HR leaders will need to prioritise 5 key areas.

1.  Future-proofing employee skillset

Automation and digitalisation are drastically changing the skills required for business success. However, some businesses have struggled to keep up, especially as many employees lack the essential skills required to drive future performance. HR leaders can help identify the skills of existing talent and the gaps relating to required skills in the future by referring to the developing business model. By doing this, HR leaders will be able to recognise opportunities to upskill or reskill employees, leading to opportunities for new digital-based careers, improved flexibility and boosting employee engagement and productivity.

HR leaders will also be looking for opportunities this year to partner with business leaders to understand and maintain the appropriate balance of emerging, existing and inherited skill sets. HR will focus on working with managers to demonstrate to employees how they will grow personally by developing in-demand skills and to connect employees to skill-building opportunities outside their current roles.

2.   Organisational agility

Businesses of today must be agile. Technology will only continue to evolve, reducing the life-span of many traditional skills and continually changing talent requirements. To be agile, HR leaders must encourage a business mindset that:

  • Focuses on solutions, not processes
  • Thrives on collaborative problem-solving
  • Encourages diverse perspectives and competencies
  • Understands the value of trying and failing
  • Learns from mistakes to increase future efficiency and reduce waste
  • Understands that change is constant and learning never ends.

An agile operating model can help HR to experiment with new ways of working. HR should take inspiration from start-ups and smaller organisations that eliminate silo work and instead creates task-focused teams populated by people chosen based on their skills. When HR takes an agile approach, it can better connect with the business challenges emerging in today’s ever-evolving economy. It can also take a more proactive role in reshaping the organisation for maximum agility and efficiency by increasing engagement, collaboration and innovation.

3.   Talent gap and digital business transformation

While most businesses are now focused on digitalisation, many don’t have a clear and consistent strategy for digital transformation. Organisations are also struggling regarding digital skills, with many not having the required talent to drive digital transformation. To make real progress, HR leaders will focus on becoming a trusted driver and advisor on digital transformation. This can be achieved by:

  • Becoming experts in digital business and collaborating with leaders to address digital goals, ensuring they are consistent with the organisation’s strategy.
  • Track employees’ skills to develop and refine the business’s digital plans.
  • Proactively reviewing HR approaches and strategies to reflect the ever-changing needs and expectations of business leaders and employees.
4.   Data metrics

The future of HR is in analytics. This year will see the need for HR teams to demonstrate a strong understanding and practical experience of data-driven decision making. Investing in data analysis skills will enable HRs to spot market and recruitment trends early and give the business an important edge over competitors. HR data and analytics must be grounded in a thorough understanding of the organisation’s strategic objectives, and of how people data can be used to achieve these objectives. HR professionals will be increasingly focused on metrics that can drive actions that will directly benefit the organisation.

HR leaders will also need to be able to put HR arguments into business language to be heard, which means using data to demonstrate the links between HR decisions and business outcomes.

5.   Employee experience

Enhancing the employee experience will continue to be a key priority for HR leaders in 2020. This is the journey an employee takes within an organisation. It starts with attracting and hiring talent, onboarding, performance management and development through to offboarding. HR leaders will need to focus not just in putting more investment into employee experience but also influencing how employees feel about their experience. By reminding employees of their positive experiences, businesses are rewarded with improved staff retention, reduced sick leave, and boosted productivity and performance. The ultimate goal for HR leaders is to foster motivated and driven employees who feel they have the support they need for them to help the business meet its goals.

HR Strategy Support

For some tips on how to improve your candidate experience, watch the webinar recording of “Recruitment: The Importance of the Candidate Experience”.

HR Solutions can help you formulate your HR Strategy, through an engaged exercise to help explore your company’s risks, objectives and overall strategy. Find out more by calling us on 0844 324 5840 or contact us online.




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