I was interviewed recently by the team over at www.damgoodpensions.com. Here is a copy of the full piece that appeared on their blog.
What do you think will be the most important development in HR over the course of 2015?
David Jackson: For me the key word for 2015 will be ‘Agility’ and this will be across all sectors. Agility will, in part, be about maximising the benefits of a flexible workforce and the opportunities that tech has given us for people to work in models that go beyond the traditional 9-5 in the office.
More importantly though, it will be the increased agility of our HR services and offer. We have done a lot of work as a profession in recent years to raise the expectation of people in other roles as to what they should be able to expect from HR. I think this will be the year when they respond to that and put the challenge back to us of how we will help them to deliver in fast moving environments. The only way we can do that is to match them in pace, speed and adaptability.
Those practitioners who can develop ’boutique’ rather than generic solutions will be successful this year.
What will HR professionals be doing differently this time next year?
David Jackson: At the end of 2015 we will see HR professionals incorporating personal credibility building in everything they do. This means not just understanding the business, but leaving customers in no doubt that the issues keeping managers awake at night are exactly the same ones that keep us awake. This will be a progression from ‘business partner’ to true ‘business person’ and consolidate the position of the best practitioners as key members of the team whose advice will be sought not just on people management issues but on any key business decision.
This increased personal credibility will result in HR practitioners developing a profile that goes beyond their own organisation and in being headhunted to move between organisations much more than they do now.
What are you most excited about for the HR industry in 2015?
David Jackson: The ‘Big Data’ challenge provides huge opportunity for us to develop HR Analytics that provide an evidence base for decision making.
This becomes really exciting, though, when we consider Analytics that draw on both quantitative and qualitative data. This means supporting strategic decision through a flexible and robust approach to numbers, but also in providing a narrative around those numbers that complete the story. Following the massive governance failures in banking, healthcare, and local government in the last few years there is enormous scope for HR to take advantage of a renewed appetite from organisations to really understand what’s happening – not just look at spreadsheets.
This development will also lead to much closer working with Marketing and Communications experts as we develop the visual presentation of our reports along the lines of Infographics and work jointly on narratives to tell our story to current but also future employees.
Workplaces are becoming more and more digital each year. What do you see as being the most important technological advance next year in UK workplaces?
David Jackson: The biggest advance next year won’t be in the technology itself but in how we use it.
Arguably, we aren’t using what we already have to best effect. In lots of organisations people are still scribbling pages of handwritten notes in meeting rooms that are full of devices that have the ability to record meetings. We may FaceTime our family and friends, but how often do we do that with work colleagues? The same is true of social media where we have huge opportunities to develop truly interactive collaborations but instead choose to use it simply to ‘broadcast’ in many cases. We need culture to catch up with tech and be much more confident in how we use it.
HR has started to really embrace social media in recent years. What one way could HR professionals further use social media to their benefit in 2015?
David Jackson: By understanding that a well-developed social media presence within just HR circles will not be enough. This goes back to my prediction that the very best HR practitioners will become seen as legitimate business people and thinkers or strategists rather than ‘just’ an HR person.
People management and development will always be our expertise, but the best HR practitioners will be well plugged in to business networks where they can a) learn and b) raise their own game in a broader and deeper understanding of work and market place challenges. I would expect a well-rounded HR practitioner to be active in social networking circles with risk experts, accountants, strategists, and PR etc.
What advice would you give to an HR practitioner who is excited by this and wants to be ready to meet these challenges in 2015?
David Jackson: Take advantage of the masses of free support and collaboration on social media. I have learned huge amounts this year through interacting with people through my Twitter account @davidjacksonhr and blog. It is a fantastic way to network and, most importantly of all, to be challenged in your thinking by others.
If you are a member of the CIPD make a point too of attending your local branch meetings and use the online services such as the website and the brilliant HR Inform. If you aren’t a member of the CIPD, and are serious about developing as a credible HR professional, you have your first New Year resolution!