Skills that the HR Professionals Need to have to be Successful in the Present Times
The Key Trends that are Upending the Old Order and Resulting in Future Shock
The field of Human Resource Management (HRM) is in a flux. With the old ways of doing things becoming obsolete and the new means of success yet to be crystallized, Human Resource (HR) professionals everywhere are feeling the need to reinvent themselves and update and upgrade their skills to stay relevant and be successful.
Indeed, with automation and the emergence of robots threatening jobs and newer methods of working such as Agile upending the traditional hierarchical patterns of organizational behaviour and transforming the role of the HR managers, the emerging workplace calls for the HR professionals to adopt an entirely new approach with regards to how they deal with the challenges in the present times.
In addition, with a new generation of employees being politically active and needing the space and the time at the workplace to debate and dissent with each other, HR managers can no longer be content with just rolling out a Bulletin Board or other such media for expression of political opinions.
On the other hand, with Diversity and Inclusivity taking centre-stage, they cannot allow toxicity to build up at the workplace.
Thus, HR professionals need a new skill set and more importantly, a new mindset to navigate the present times. For instance, as mentioned earlier, with the demise of the old and the new yet to be born, HR professionals are caught in a Future Shock wherein they are blindsided by the emerging future with all its attendant disorientation and discomfort.
If they are not to be like the Proverbial Deer which is blinded by the headlamps of vehicles, they need to reinvent themselves.
Key Skills that the HR Professionals must have for the Present Times
To start with, HR professionals need to learn to guide and coach employees to work along with Robots and deal with Automation rather than being afraid of it.
While there might be some jobs that can be lost, humans are not going away and hence, the HR professionals must tackle the challenge of humans and robots working together.
This calls for updating everything from organizational policies to the very basic aspect of how workplace culture is ordered.
In addition, HR managers in the present times must learn to deal with Networked Forms of Working where they can no longer insist on the employees to obey hierarchical and top down decision making.
Indeed, the emergence of Agile methods of working means that teams are self sustaining and modular and the old ways of command and control systems no longer suffice.
Employee Activism and Diversity and Inclusivity and the Need to Reinvent the Wheel
Having said that, there are some age old problems that are reappearing and making their presence felt using newer methods and forms of expression. In the Industrial era, it was common for workers to strike and desist from work to press forward for their demands.
Moreover, it was deemed that employees and workers have prerogative to strike in support of their cause.
The advent of the Services Sector and the Information Revolution was supposed to have put an end to all that with White Collar Knowledge Workers being taken as those who do not need to strike. In addition, the laws were also modified to prevent labour unrest.
However, as is evident from the recent Walkouts by Google employees to protest the decisions to work with the Pentagon as well as other demands related to gender and minority rights, it is clear that we are now witnessing the wheel come full circle as employee activism increases and hence, HR managers need to go back in time and learn what their predecessors did and how they handled dissent.
Indeed, this form of employee activism is a unique trend that the millennial generation of workers is now resorting to and when one adds their need for political expression, then the HR managers do have enough on their plates.
Millennials, Political Expression, and the New Challenge of Managing Dissent
To explain, with Millennials entering the workforce in record numbers, for the first time, HR managers have to deal with employees who havenít seen a time when there were no computers or Smartphones that give them space for expression.
Moreover, the Millennials, like all young people dream of change and have strong views on just about everything.
This calls for astute and adroit management and channelling of the opinion and dissent into productive outlets rather than destructive ones.
Thus, HR managers need to be as diplomatic as possible without losing their firmness about what is allowed and not.
Moreover, with Diversity and Inclusivity becoming the norm rather than the exception, HR professionals need to tread a fine line between allowing free exchange of views and the harm that they can cause for minority employees.
With the #MeToo movement making its presence felt, there is a need to draw the line between what is Boys Banter and what is offensive to women and racial and sexual minorities.
Last, the very notion of work is changing with the emergence of the contractual and temp workers and hence, HR managers need to draw up newer strategies to deal with part time staff that do not receive all the benefits but are entitled to pay and bonuses.
These calls for a new Social Contract between employers and employees and this is where HR manages would be called upon to devise appropriate terms and conditions of employment that cater to this new segment of workers.
To conclude, these are the best of times and the worst of times for the HR profession, and we hope we have outlined some areas of challenge and some suggested solutions.
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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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