Already adoption of self-service software and increasingly smart automated advice means that basic HR administration and advisory roles are becoming redundant. As managers become more self-sufficient the challenge for generalists is to move further ‘upstream’. Centres of expertise must match what the best external consultancy firms can offer or they too will find themselves regarded as a poor second.
Fundamental steps should be taken to rise above current HR norms and perceptions. The OE function will self-evidently be a talent ‘hotspot’, with roles and experiences that breed future leaders and top-level advisers.
The best HR practitioners can make this step up, given the right orientation, determination, ability to learn, confidence and drive to push themselves and the organisation forward. They must dispel historic perceptions that HR people are frightened by numbers, don’t understand business, are technology-shy, and preoccupied with HR practices and jargon that mystify business colleagues.
Many HR people are passionate about customers, product and service quality, innovation and markets but must demonstrate this more overtly. Broader business and work experience already tends to mark out those able to win credibility from colleagues. This now becomes even more essential.