HR Insights, HR Management

3 More Key Predictions For the HR Department of 2020

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Second of two parts

Editor’s Note: For Part 1, see 3 Key Predictions for the Human Resources Department of 2020.

4: HR will utilize analytics and Big Data to augment its value

In-house HR professionals will need to embrace analytics and “big data” to become strategic leaders in their companies. Gyutae Park, head of Human Resources at Money Crashers Personal Finance, predicts that:

In the coming decade, the career trajectory of HR professionals will be determined more so than ever by the analysis of data and metrics. Although HR already uses some metrics such as turnover ratios and employee engagement levels, you can expect to see new metrics tracked and used in HR, such as the average timeframe for staff to be ready for promotion, or percentage of top candidates to be hired within the organization.”

New hires might be needed in the HR department to accommodate the increased use of analytics. As Dr. Janice Presser explains, “The current trends in big data will provide new ways for HR to prove its value, so we can expect HR departments to want to add people who can analyze and make projections using these tools, and people who can drive positive change using the information derived from the analysis.”

5: Managing a remote workforce will be the new norm

Recent moves by companies like Yahoo and Best Buy to end their remote work programs are the exception, not the new normal. Without a doubt, HR will increasingly have to tackle the challenge of managing a remote workforce. Chip Luman of HireVue points out that companies will need “to leverage employees where and when they are most productive and impactful”–even if that means they’re halfway around the world.

But remote management isn’t a skill you can pick up on the fly. Dr. Presser cautions that, “The trend toward remote workers is a growing challenge to managers who are not effective in managing people at a distance.”

Automation and a different set of expectations will be part of the solution. Wim de Smet, CEO of Exaserv, predicts that “New technologies will be used to analyze the work production instead of the working time. Results will become more important and business will expect HR to be producing more result-driven performance analysis.”

6: HR will need to become more like Marketing

Brian Sommer says that “recruiting is going to become more like marketing.” Specifically, he advocates that recruiters “identify specific micro-segments of either job seekers or job holders that you want to target to bring into your firm, just like a marketing firm would.”

The experts at Buck Consultants cast an even wider net. They claim the need for HR to think like marketers will expand beyond recruiting.

“HR will evolve the ‘internal marketing’ role to include social marketing coordination and brand ownership, that is, outside talent ‘buying’ into the brand–the company–to potentially work in the organization,” they say.

Preparing for 2020

What can current HR professionals begin doing now to prepare for these predicted changes? The experts all endorse one tactic: keep learning. Risk-taking and networking will help, too.

“Get ahead of the curve,” advises Dr. Presser, “Realize that many of today’s ‘best practices’ evolved under very different business conditions, and may well become obsolete within this decade. Learn everything you can about your industry, your competitors, and pending legislation that affects your business operations. Most of all, define yourself as a businessperson and act accordingly.”

Janine Truitt of Talent Think Innovations advises pursuing additional training or formal education. As she observes:

One difference that we will see clearly in the next decade is that people will not be able to merely fall into HR. Long ago, when HR was ‘Personnel,’ the profession was largely made up of individuals that happened upon the profession. With many colleges and universities offering HR coursework and degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s level…it seems that the future HR practitioner will likely have to be formally educated in this discipline to be gainfully employed in HR.

In particular, HR professionals should dig deep into one HR specialty. And, given their increasing importance, training should include data analysis and business strategy components.

Additionally, Lynda Zugec, Founder and Chairman of The Workforce Consultants, advocates welcoming failure as a learning tool. As she says, “In the changing HR landscape of today, failure is embraced because it means that you were brave enough to ” give it a shot’ and also that you now have more information regarding what works and what doesn’t work than before. Eventually, if you keep exploring different avenues, you are bound to succeed.”

Finally, Chip Luman encourages HR professionals to develop their own personal brand–to find their voice and be active.

As he says, “Network inside and outside of your field. Blog, communicate, read and help others achieve success. If you are not outside of your comfort zone, you are stagnating.”

This was originally published on Software Advice’s The New Talent Times blog.

Erin Osterhaus is the Managing Editor for Software Advice's HR blog, The New Talent Times. She focuses on the HR market, offering advice to industry professionals on the best recruiting, talent management, and leadership techniques. You can follow her on Twitter, or, contact her directly at erin@softwareadvice.com.