Future-Proofing Your HR Strategy: 10 tactics to ensure your HR strategies keep you relevant

We’ve been hearing a lot about the concept of future-proofing your business like it’s something entirely new. In reality, wise companies have been future-proofing all along. Regardless of its roots, future proofing—which we’ll simply define as the ability to remain relevant among your competitors—is critical to the long-term success of any organization. While there’s lots of reading out there surrounding corporate-wide future-proofing strategies, our focus is as always on the HR side of things. What does it take to future-proof your organization’s HR strategy? Here are our top ten tactics.

Have a strategy

You won’t be successful in your HR future-proofing efforts if you don’t start with a future-proofing strategy. Identify what is important and what is known to your organization today, tomorrow and into the future. Consider expansion plans, new product launches, equipment modernization, management transitions and myriad other factors that could have an effect on your organization’s workforce. Review the risks, identify the opportunities and develop a strategy that may include some of the items below.

Prioritize the candidate/employee experience

The candidate experience refers to the overall experience employment candidates have with your organization. It includes the candidates’ impressions and perceptions of a company’s hiring process including the job application, screening methods, communications, and the interview. The employee experience picks up post hire and encompasses what people encounter, observe or feel over the course of their employment with your organization.

Create employee development plans

A formal employee development plan serves to codify your organization’s goals for its workforce, and provides employees with evidence of your willingness to invest in their careers. Consider both your short- and long-term goals for the workforce, then identify the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies that support those goals. Employee training is at the core of any employee development plan, and we’ve got pointers for ways to elevate the importance of training in your organization.

Embrace the disruptors

Technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotic process automation (RPA) are poised to make significant inroads throughout the organization—including the HR department. These technologies can be used to improve the employee experience, promote data-driven decision making and provide intelligent automation. Think of these disruptive technologies not as a way to replace HR personnel or minimize the human factor in HR, but rather as tools to automate and streamline processes allowing staff to focus on your mission.

Train for the skills they’ll need

What skills will employees need to greet the future? The answer may be pretty straightforward: Whatever computers don’t do well. Increasingly “intelligent” computers struggle with creativity, social intelligence, complex perception and manipulation, each of which is among the skills that researchers have identified as the most in-demand skills for the future. We’ve examined some trends in training that could be of help in your planning.

Always be recruiting

The greatest challenge HR faces is recruiting and retaining talent. It is essential for an organization to always be recruiting to keep the talent pipeline full for the future. Recruiting can be a tremendously time-consuming task. On average, talent acquisition professionals spend nearly one-third of their work week (about 13 hours) sourcing candidates for a single role. Automating the recruiting strategies allows you to focus more on people and less on the process.

Invest in technology tools

There are powerful technology tools that can help HR professionals automate routine tasks, streamline workflows and ensure best practices. By investing in technology tools such as recruiting, learning management and HRMS (as well as the disruptors we mention in #4), HR teams can focus more on the organization’s future goals and less on daily transactions.

The Millennials are here to stay

Millennials are already the largest generation in the workforce, and will occupy 75% of that space 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clearly, your future includes millennials. Here are a couple statistics from Gallup that should instill fear (and incite action) in any HR professional:

  • Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce. Only 29% are engaged and 16% are actively disengaged.
  • They change jobs more often than other generations. About 21% of millennials report switching jobs within the last year, and 60% are open to a different opportunity.

There are a number of ideas for how organizations can become places millennials want to join and stay long-term, and most of those ways involve technology (see #4 and #7, above). And we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout out to the importance of Generation Z.

Fashion a passion-for-learning climate

Jennifer Wu, VP of talent and operations at LEWIS Global Communications, said: “It is our role as HR to facilitate a learning mindset within the organization and cultivate a passion for knowledge that will lead to employee development ensuring that adequate resources and channels are in place, and more importantly, on an individual level, they are inspired to take proactive measures towards constant improvement and development.”

There are some gems in that quote: ‘facilitate a learning mindset’, ‘cultivate a passion for knowledge’, ‘inspired to take proactive measures’. Worthy goals for every future-looking organization. Running into challenges in your training and development program? We’ve got some ideas for overcoming those challenges.

Strengthen your EVP

Your EVP is your Employee Value Proposition and it matters to your future as it speaks directly to your ability to attract, engage and retain top talent. Organizations that effectively deliver on their EVP can decrease annual employee turnover just under 70% and increase new hire commitment nearly 30%. Strengthening your ERP fundamentally means valuing employees as customers and treating them as critical partners in your organization’s success.

The future belongs to organizations that remain relevant, and your relevancy is highly dependent on the talents and skills of your workforce. Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) said it well, “Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.”