I’ve been around HR for awhile, and very few trends are sticky.
So let me be the first to contradict myself and tell you that 2016 is a pivotal year for HR. Here are four reasons why human resources will be different next year.
It’s an election year.
Right now, everybody is talking about Trump. The real election kicks off in June, and most of the issues you care about are work-related. When I worked in human resources, nobody wanted to offer a political opinion. Next year, look for a change. Your HR business partner has a viewpoint on everything from the H1-B Visa Cap to paid time off policies, and she’s not afraid to express an opinion.
HR leaders are getting younger and bolder.
I don’t know when the heck this happened, but as I was getting older, HR started getting younger. Millennials are now assuming leadership roles, and they don’t care if you take them seriously because they know how to influence managers and score serious points with executive leadership teams. You’re talking about the good old days when kids gave a damn while a 32-year-old recruiting manager is out-maneuvering you on the executive battlefield. Sucks to lose to HR, but you’ll lose more than you win in 2016.
HR won’t do as much HR.
Automation killed the need for a pool of payroll ladies, and it killed off the need for a local HR representative to update personnel files. The best HR professionals in the game do a weird mix of managing projects, running interference between finance and IT, and coaching directors on how to lead more effectively. Or something like that. If you think you can summarize the average HR professional’s day in simple language, you’re wrong. Every day is different, and it usually doesn’t look like HR.
HR will be as analytical, if not more analytical, than any other department.
Your HR department is turning into a nerd factory, and I don’t entirely hate it. Successful businesses make decisions using data and good judgment, and you can’t make good decisions if you keep repeating the same mistakes from the past. HR departments will employ more analysts in 2016, and I only hope they keep hiring people with good intuition. All of the data in the world won’t stop your projects and initiatives from failing if you aren’t courageous enough to raise your voice when something is wrong.
I’m looking forward to 2016.
I’m not fearless enough to predict that 2016 will be the year of HR, but I do know one thing: it certainly won’t be the year of accounting. Why the heck not HR?
So if you work in human resources, remember to come back here at the end of 2016 to see how many of my predictions come true. I’m betting that my odds are pretty good.