When I think about the field of Human Resources I ask myself how much change has really occurred in the past 10-15 years. Obviously the switch from “personnel officer” to   human resources business partner stands out in my mind but in terms of education and research in this field there has been no real advancement. This begs the question, what has HR done for itself lately?

Human Resources training programs and certifications are still very much based on “traditional generalist training”, while this types of training can provide a strong foundation, is it really preparing us for the future?

And what does that future like? We are already seeing the switch from traditional HR partner to strategic business partner with C-Suite executives demanding value to help drive growth. We know that technology and automation continue to advance so what does this mean to HR?

I believe we can expect to see more downsizing in HR departments due to this automation and a shift to employee self-service options that will see employees take greater control of inputting their own data and managing their own information. Outsourcing will continue as technology companies burst forth specializing in highly transactional HR duties.

The demand for specialists in human resources areas will increase in the new and complex environment that will see changes in managing workforces that may no longer work in traditional settings. There will also be a demand for strategic competencies in HR Leaders that focuses on business operations, finance, predictive and accurate analytics, workforce planning and the ability to make accurate projections based on business strategy. Lagging metrics such as time to fill or turnover rate are ghosts from the past that C- Suite execs care little for.

The knowledge required at this level begs the question – are we training our future leaders correctly and should there be a shift in the current model of education?

Communications and marketing skills will also be helpful for future HR leaders as we enter into unprecedented demographic shifts and social media audiences that have power over branding for organizations.

I wonder as well if large HR departments will be deemed as inefficient and if the trend to smaller strategic departments that are more efficient due to their grasp of the new HR will prevail?

I wonder if we are ready?