4 Important Ways HR has Evolved

Over the last 10 years, there have been major changes in the way organizations are run. Whether we’re talking about the increase in technological advancements or a new generation of workers, it is not difficult to see how the world of work has evolved and the direction it is headed. When thinking about changes in the business world however, we often overlook the people aspect and the fact that our internal HR teams need to evolve to keep up with the pace of change. In fact, the HR departments that are in place today, look almost nothing like they did in the past. According to a SHRM Foundation survey, ten years ago companies said that their biggest challenges were succession planning and providing leaders with the necessary skills to be successful. Now, it is HR’s job to seek out high-performing employees, strengthen employee engagement and create a forward-thinking culture for businesses to grow and thrive. So, what have the major changes been and how do they benefit your organization? Let’s take a look.

1. It’s become social

Now, we know what you’re thinking, “HR is not “social.” In fact, HR says not to post on social media while at work.” That’s not what we’re talking about here. It is no surprise that social media has been on the rise for quite some time now and, while there are issues that can arise from the use of social media (as I’m sure many HR professionals can attest to these days), the truth is social medial can and should be leveraged to get the best talent. Plus, with many employees working remotely, the use of various platforms like Skype and Zoom is how people communicate and conduct business. Additionally, platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed are great tools for HR to connect with qualified candidates. Having instant access to different information has allowed HR leaders to find potential employees, communicate with peers and discover employee potential at the click of a button. This is huge for the network and the overall presence of the organization.

When was the last time you went on a site like Glassdoor and read reviews or discussion posts about your organization? This is critical for the reputation of the organization and provides instant access to analyze the health of your organization. While information can be biased on sites like this, it does still serve as a solid data point of your culture.

The use of social media has allowed HR departments quick access to connect and stay up to date with the fast paced changes and when leveraged correctly, social media can be a competitive advantage.

2. Culture is a priority

We’ve talked about the importance behind organizational culture and how effective it can be for a business. This is one area where HR leaders are thriving. In the past, it was common to see organizational culture stuck between the walls of the company. Today, businesses heavily rely on the communication of their brand in order to provide an understanding of their culture. Can you guess who helps with this?

The role of HR has expanded far beyond following the rules of outdated handbooks. Consider them the backbone or support system for how the organization runs. They are responsible for not only bringing attention to a positive culture, but ensuring it is aligned and understood by everyone in the organization. Our last blog touched on culture internally but looking at culture externally is just as important. Think about when employees leave your organization. What would they say about your organization? The leaders? The culture? Ensuring you are treating all employees in alignment with your core values throughout the employee life cycle is important to your brand identity.

3. Feedback is increased

Let’s talk about an HR stereotype for a minute. We always hear about the “HR police” and that they are “just out to get you.” Well, 10 years ago maybe these assumptions were accurate. In the past, feedback was given in a way that made people feel like their mistakes were the only things being recognized, and not their hard work. Old ranking strategies even made coworkers feel in competition with one another, creating little motivation to grow as an individual and forget the concept of team work in an environment like this!

Today, feedback is far more frequent and centered around learning rather than punishment. Instead of looking at numbers and rankings, employee impact and frequent collaboration are prioritized. HR leaders have evolved their strategies to assess how employees work with their teams and contribute to the organization. Not to mention giving feedback has become an ongoing discussion or work in progress, unlike the “once a year” approach employees loved to hate. HR’s evolution of feedback strategies has not only allowed employees to feel confident in their work but has created a level motivation for organizations to strive toward ongoing success.

4. It’s all about the journey

The concept of creating a journey for organizations and employees is a recent change in HR, and one of the most important. Can you think of where you were at in your job a year ago? What about 5 years ago? Things have probably changed a lot for you since then. Whether these were positive or negative changes along the way, growth was inevitable. In the past, the pressure was high when it came to being the best, and often times encouragement and help from leaders fell short. Now, HR leaders are making it a priority to encourage and support employees in their own journey regarding self-development and advancement within the organization.

This concept also goes hand in hand with increasing employee engagement and managing talent, ensuring employees are reaching their goals and loving what they do day in and day out. When thinking about the employee journey, it’s going to look different for every individual, however HR’s role in this process has a huge and lasting impact when prioritized. Think of it like your own personal roadmap. You won’t reach the goal overnight, but you will create building blocks to get you there with someone guiding you along the way. Often times, we don’t even realize our full potential until someone gives us that push in the beginning. After all, when you are supported in thriving and growing at work, you are bringing your new best self every single day.

Clearly, HR’s role over the years has changed. What was once the Personnel or Administration department has evolved to become HR or People & Culture. In addition to a new name, HR as a profession has evolved to keep up with the demands of the ever-changing business landscape. When you have the right HR leaders in place, you can build award winning organizations. A strong HR department leverages social networking platforms, communicates the importance of culture throughout the employee life cycle, creates a system for giving and receiving feedback that is focused on growth and high performance all while understanding that this evolution is a journey. These four trends are only a few of the major ways HR has evolved over the years, and there is no doubt they have had a positive and lasting impact on those organizations that have prioritized this shift. As HR leaders continue to develop, organizations will move toward taking holistic and people driven approaches in the way that changes the overall journey for employees. Everyone deserves to thrive and grow in their work, and with the changes HR leaders have implemented, organizations are now becoming places where people can continue to develop while positively impacting the bottom line.