My HR wishlist for 2016

Richard Cowley has spent over 3 decades in HR. Brimming with hope and raring to transform HR, he shares his HR wishlist for 2016.

HR wishlist

My HR wishlist for 2016 is simple: don’t bring me lots of new, shiny toys, but a few that will really make a difference to my playground – my workplace! If it is something that adds value, helps me achieve in my role, and simplifies my day – you can count me as a believer! While I make my list, I am certain you have your list as well – I’d love to hear what is on it!

HR in 2015 – we’ve made progress!

As I reflect on 2015, I have a strong sense that the function I love, HR, is making steady progress. We are adding more value to delivering business objectives, seeking more ways to create impact, and building greater clarity around the new expectations of our role. After spending decades as an HR practitioner, I am feeling very positive and energised about this global transformation.

This period of transition has seen the introduction of some excellent workplace support, e.g. project and collaboration tools. A little closer to home, we have seen the start of the transformation and increasing encouragement, e.g. reconsidering the Performance Bell Curve and its value, more ways to find courses and learn online, more job sites to help find jobs faster, increased belief from Line Managers about HR’s contribution, significantly more data about people trends, and much more. We are getting closer to the business, and more importantly, to employee issues – which will enable us to gain a further level of clarity to drive action.

My wishlist for 2016 is focused on a few but significant changes to the way we deliver our HR accountabilities:

More impactful HR processes

With 30 years of experience in supervising, managing, and leading HR processes in different contexts, I am convinced that the current HR processes can be fundamentally improved.
My wish: More effective HR processes that really make a difference in the workplace. By ‘effective’ I mean we work along the lines of ‘less is more’. While working with Line Managers, I see a need to deliver greater value from the HR Processes – with less bureaucracy and complexity. The processes need to align with the reality of the workplace today. The greatest need is to make these processes work dynamically, as the workplace is full of continuous change e.g. a real-time Performance Management process linked to business objectives/KPIs. These processes should enable us to answer the question – “where are we with our objectives at this moment?”

Clarity of HR Deliverables

I believe that many HR people in the world are continuously trying to understand the new expectations from our function. They are seeking a greater clarity around what exactly these new roles require, often starting with the HRBP role.
My wish: Greater clarity around expectations and a definitive list of HR models that we can apply. The world is very different to an SME versus a global MNC. The need, team sizes, and expectations vary immensely. I wish for greater clarity around expectations in different contexts, an open mind, change leadership, and new capabilities.

HR Technology that drives productivity

Of course, it is not just the HR function that is impacted by technology. However, given that many of our HR accountabilities require understanding people, interactions, collaboration across geographies, and are traditionally data driven processes, technology can play a major part in the HR transformation.
My wish: Improved HR processes that are enabled by technology and drive greater levels of productivity, for all organisations – in SMEs as well as global MNCs. Greater use of technology that can help us be more mobile, timely, effective, and efficient while reducing the cost of non-value adding processes (i.e. more productive). From an organisational perspective, I wish for improved technology to drive collaboration across geographies and functions.

My wishlist is not lengthy, but it’s quite a bit of work! There’s no doubt that the next level of our global HR transformation will require practically, fundamentally game-changing solutions, but I’m hopeful!

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