The world of work is going through a period of rapid change but it’s not just employees who are affected, says one leading industry figure – HR’s role is changing too.
“Traditionally, HR has been seen as the only function in an organization that holds the responsibility of supporting people during uncertain or problematic times; mostly in the form of counselling or grievance handling,” says Susanne DiCocco, partner of people and change services at KPMG Canada. “However, this has been a reactive responsibility.”
Calgary-based DiCocco insists this reactive responsibility has changed over time and has now come to include proactive functions.
“HR as a strategic advisor should be using analytics and supporting technologies to proactively determine employee engagement needs and concerns,” she tells HRM.
“A great example is McGraw Hill Financial who have created a tool using evidence based HR that can pre-emptively determine when an employee is about to leave the firm,” she explains.
“Based on this, they are able to make targeted interventions specifically tailored to employee concerns.”
Taking a broader perspective, DiCocco says HR has evolved from a strategic standpoint to become a key player in business decisions.
“HR should be providing information to support leadership in making strategic decisions,” she urges. “It can do this by being a capability builder, by ensuring that leaders and employees are well equipped with HR programs and that they provide good management and leadership to employees in times of change and uncertainty.”
Strategic level HR needs to support the CEO and leadership team in “maintaining the dialogue with employees” so that the employees are front of mind in any HR program and are supported, suggests DiCocco.
“Supporting employees through change through people-centred programs; providing services through innovative client-centric methods – such as mobile or on demand services – and developing innovative talent management strategies are just a few examples of how HR plays a critical role in supporting people in the organization so that the business can achieve its outcomes.”