The office of today is almost unrecognisable from the workplace of 20 years ago, or even five years ago. The challenges for growth, competitiveness in the industry and growing presence of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) culture at the workplace, are driving the need for a collaborative and specialised workforce, and changing the expectations of HR departments. In light of these changes, companies need to review, rethink and refresh their people practices.

Building A Multidisciplinary Workforce

In order to succeed in rapidly changing business scenarios, there is a need to rethink the nature of capabilities required in the workforce. To be future-ready, organisations need people who have the ability to collaborate, co-create and facilitate connections as well as specialise in multiple disciplines.

Progressive organisations need to reinvest in reviewing the design of performance, career, talent and learning management practices. This includes setting goals with a clear line of sight to the business strategy, where the workforce understands the goals of the business.

Employees need to be empowered to reach out for feedback from their supervisors and professional networks, helping them understand possible career paths. Understanding their own potential and developing actions together with their managers to accelerate their growth will boost employee engagement, and ultimately, company performance.

Creating A Synthesis Between Professional & Technical Development

Understanding the right role for the right person, at the right time, in the right place, with the right skill, at the right cost is an expectation of Human Resources practitioners of the future. This will involve them enabling people to learn new skills in new ways to acquire the multi-disciplinary skill sets required for the future.

A critical element will be the need for a role-based curriculum that facilitates assessing and enhancing already existing skills, and providing corresponding flexible learning environments. Based on this, training programs need to be tailored according to the varied learning needs and contexts. Line managers and employees have a pivotal role to play in building a partnership with the HR practitioner of the future to ensure access and availability of such programs to enhance their abilities.

Integrating Social Collaboration & Media Within People Practices & Internal Communications

Though most HR teams have already got on the social media ‘bandwagon’, the ones that will see the most impact in organisations are those that use this as the platform of choice to communicate with their employees.

We have already seen organisations and independent professionals turn to social media for marketing and communication purposes. Social media has become an important tool for HR professionals too; and will become increasingly central to how people work, how workers engage with each other and how distributed workplaces collaborate.

The days of distributing information, communicating policies or sharing program updates via email are drawing to an end, as sharing via social networking platforms allows communication to be more personalised and more immediate.

Hard Data, Numbers, Facts & Analytics To Lead

Data generated by employees will become an increasingly valuable tool to ensure that people practices deliver the right value to the right talent segments. Analytical insight will enable and empower business leaders to make informed decisions in terms of team size, project span, team structure, skill composition and benchmarks for progress.

In summary, we need to reinvent and re-skill ourselves towards putting information and insight centre stage, while at the same time providing a work environment that has a culture of collaboration, contribution and commitment. Individuals and organisations that take a leadership role in addressing these trends will help change the language for Human Resources practitioners in 2014.