It has become kind of edgy or possibly trendy, (my guess the first three times a new idea is pitched it is edgy, after that it becomes something else, and trendy was the only term I could think of in less than five seconds), to talk about Human Resources in the future in diametrically different contexts that the traditional ones most of us are familiar with. Think about how many times you've read about 'HR is the new PR' or 'HR (and more likely recruiting), is really Sales and Marketing', and even takes that advocate HR as the organization's owners of social media and internal collaboration and productivity initiatives. While sometimes these kinds of analyses and predictions about the evolution of HR are optimistic, (if occasionally sounding a little bit like wishful thinking from veteran HR pros just a little weary of FMLA claims and 401(k) migrations), if they are going to prove true, or at least directionally correct, then there are some implications for the roles that will be required in HR, and naturally, the kinds of skills the HR professional of the (near) future will need to possess.
What might some of those roles and skill sets entail?
Well, that sounds like a hard question, and rather than try to figure it out for myself, I will take the lazy route, and co-opt some examples from a neat piece on the Simply Zesty blog, titled 'The Job Roles You Should Be Hiring For', an examination of the roles, skills, and titles that are sought after in the Digital and Social Marketing space.
Think you know how to staff the HR department of the future? Or perhaps a more important question for you personally - Do you think you have the right skills for the potential evolution of HR?
Well, take a look at some of the roles and skill sets that the Simply Zesty piece thinks the modern digital marketing team needs and then think about your answers: (NOTE: roles and descriptions lifted entirely from this piece, please don't sue me)
Data Analyst - With a large amount of data being collected by brands across social profiles as well as more traditional data-gathering channels such as email marketing or phone lists, there is a pressing need for smart analysis of this data to ensure you reach your customers (employees) in the best way.
Futurologist - This is a slightly more adventurous hire and likely only really feasible for those companies with larger staffing budgets, but it’s an important one. With communications technology developing at the rate it is, there is a demand on companies to stay relevant and also impress their customers with the future-thinking stuff that gets talked about and shared, (by employees, perhaps?)
Designer - Most brands will have a designer or graphic design team already, but it is an important hire even for smaller businesses to bring an element of this in-house. The need for beautiful design for your website (or company career site), or product to live online is more important than ever. Where once it might have been enough to just have a website, then a mobile site, then a Facebook Page and then an app, now there is a need for these to be beautiful and responsive.
Creative Thinker - So not exactly a descriptive job title, but that’s sort of the point. While we get bogged down with the technological aspect of social media, it’s tempting to subject the creative process to the same process as you would approach a technological solution. This is an important role if you want to develop the kind of content that you see dream brands such as Innocent, Nike or Red Bull executing. Creativity should be as high on the agenda as marketing or sales, with proper investment made to get the best ideas you can
A Good Copywriter - One of the highest demands on a social media manager is the expectation that they will suddenly be an able copywriter, able to write just as effectively for email marketing, Twitter updates, Facebook Page copy, websites, online ads, etc. And while many social media managers will of course be more than adequate at this, given the amount of time they will spend across these different formats anyway, there is a huge difference between copy that just does what’s required of it, and copy that makes people stop in their tracks and think. Unless you’re making this a key role in itself, you will always get sub-standard copy that just does the former
There are a couple of other roles listed on the piece, but you get the idea I think.
If the conception, practice, and profession of HR is really going to morph to look more like marketing, PR, and digital advertising, then it seems logical the HR department of the future will at least partially be populated with the kinds of folks in the roles listed above. Whether or not people with those particular sets of skills want to actually reside in HR I suppose is a question for another day.
Today, I will leave you with these, simpler questions:
So, do you have some or all of those skills on your HR team?
Do you have some or any of those skills yourself?