Companies from different industries continue to adapt to the new reality. The changes have affected the entire world economy, and now the business is at the stage of restarting many processes. Some companies are still preparing for the consequences of the crisis, others are expecting a new wave of obstacles and threats.
Modern HR is cross-functional
The crisis has changed the usual things: where and how we work, learn, communicate, what technologies we use. These changes reinforce the importance of HR in organizations. Today, there are already noticeable tendencies towards a change in the role of HR specialists: powers and responsibilities are expanding, interaction with employees is being transformed, and the HR function is becoming a key function in the company. The challenge for HR is to be able to see problems, find tools to resolve them, quickly adapt to changes, implement changes and be ambassadors for changes in the era of digitalization.
Modern HR is cross-functional. It is involved in most business processes of the company. First of all, human resource management specialists are responsible for the people who come to the company and influence its development. HR can advise employees on the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful in the next decade. New roles continue to emerge in companies, and existing ones are constantly being transformed, and HR is no exception.
10 new HR roles
The Cognizant Center for Future of Work took the initiative and prepared a study on what the future of HR will look like. The analysis looked at economic, political, demographic, social, cultural and technological trends. The result is a large list of potential and very real HR-related positions. Below we will consider a few of them, as well as what knowledge and responsibilities these roles imply and in what areas of business they will be in demand.
COVID-19 has accelerated the development of new specializations. There is a real need for new positions, and what used to be theory and distant forecasts is now becoming a reality in Western companies. The diagram above shows that most of the new specializations require technical knowledge, and this trend will continue.
Director of Wellbeing
Mass remote has erased the boundaries and balance between work and personal life. The culture of “being in touch 24/7” and the world news have provoked a lot of stress and burnout. These frequent problems have prompted a fresh look at the importance of employee health. For HR managers, this means that part of the work will be dedicated to caring for and taking a comprehensive look at the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical condition of employees. Staff well-being becomes a business retention strategy. The Director of Wellbeing is responsible for managing wellness services, delivering programs to maintain positive performance and emotional development. The need for this specialist is explained by the fact that the company’s success largely depends on the well-being of its employees.
Despite the fact that some companies introduced mixed office-to-home work mode during the post-quarantine period, many employees continue to work remotely. In order for those who work from home to receive the same benefits from their employer as office workers, the need for a WFH Facilitator has emerged. Their responsibilities include ensuring the optimality of processes and internal policies, helping to create an effective workspace at home, and equally distributing the company’s benefits among colleagues working remotely and those who work in the office. A key success indicator in this position is creating a strong sense of belonging to the organization in employees, stable motivation and understanding of the company’s mission. By the way, Facebook recently opened a vacancy for the Director of Remote Work.
The Future of Work Leader
In the face of rapid economic and technological change, executives are looking for new opportunities to scale their businesses and generate profits. At the same time, there are grounds for the emergence of another new role, The Future of Work Leader. The tasks of this specialist are at the intersection of company strategy and HR. They will analyze the priority skills for the staff development in a particular company and develop a strategy for organizing future work, including retraining and improving qualifications of employees. This position involves assessing competitive threats in the marketplace, synthesizing information from academia and industry associations in order to anticipate new jobs and critical skills for the continued success of the organization. This role in the company can be combined with that of the Internal Career Consultant whose task is to help realize the talents of employees, bearing in mind the interests of the company.
VR Immersion Counselor
With the transition of meetings and trainings to online, a new role is expected to emerge, namely a VR Immersion Counselor. Presumably, Counselors will realize the potential of using virtual reality to scale training programs in many scenarios: onboarding, coaching, retraining, medical training, and even safety training. Using technology, one can simulate different scenarios for working with clients, move in space, in a production workshop and other real or fictional spaces.
HR Data Detective
Data analytics has an important place in many industries and business functions today, including HR. In the digital age, data is the new oil that drives business growth and profitability. The future of data-driven decisions using machine learning algorithms doesn’t seem so distant anymore. Companies need data scientists to collect and analyze employee data, make strategic decisions, and influence business profitability. Data science capabilities help address key employee challenges: identifying why one team performs better than another, and how a more inclusive culture and workforce atmosphere can be created. With the use of technology and a focus on data, it is possible to gain a more accurate view of employees, from productivity and retention to increasing engagement and developing new methods of human capital management. The task of the HR Data Detective is to collect information from various channels (employee feedback, learning management systems, bonus portal) to solve business tasks. Agents will collect and compile HR-related information to increase productivity and improve the company’s business performance.
Human-Machine Teaming Manager
Increasingly, companies are using robots. In this regard, the need to “setup” the cooperation between humans and robots increases. A human knows how to reason and make decisions. Robots are successful at doing the technical part of the job, realizing computational power, analyzing, recognizing patterns, and asking questions about appropriate data-driven actions. In order to balance the creative and scientific components, new talent units are needed who can combine this experience. The Human-Machine Teaming Manager will facilitate seamless interactions and seek ways to strengthen human-robotic collaboration.
The DBS Bank recruiting team already has the position of ChatBot Coach. Their task is to train a chatbot to perform routine tasks of selecting candidates and answering frequently asked questions. What’s more, it can already be seen how the new HR positions will be interconnected: the Human-Machine Teaming Manager can work with a ChatBot Coach to improve the AI-powered candidate experience.
The mission of the Second-Act Coach is to help employees completely change their occupation and/or find work at a more mature age. There are enough factors that provoke changes: reductions in companies (including due to COVID-19), personnel changes, burnout or a desire to change profession.
Since we live in a world where people are the main capital, companies with flexible career models are ready to hire coaches to oversee the path of retraining employees. The coach will create a retraining plan, starting with values and motivation, right up to the readiness to enter the job in a new role. Determining the future direction of work and the correspondence of the chosen field with the candidate’s capabilities, it is supposed to use artificial intelligence technologies, consultations of psychologists and the selection of suitable training.
People who choose the path of retraining often look for flexible hours or remote work mode, but they turn out not to be ready for new challenges. The tasks of the Second-Act Coach include advice on organizing an ergonomic workspace and creating comfortable conditions for realization in a new role.
Gig Economy Manager
The economic crisis of 2008 and the entry of millennials into the labor market were the drivers for the emergence of the term “gig economy”, where “gig” means temporary work. Young talents wanted to be flexible in their choice of professions and try different things, and during the crisis it was important to have at least a temporary income. Today, the definition of the gig economy includes temporary contract workers, freelancers, independent consultants and contractors. The following US statistics show the growth of the “gig economy” phenomenon, and the unstable situation in the labor market confirms this trend:
Despite the obvious advantages of this work format, some companies already need a Gig Economy Manager to interact with freelancers. This is also explained by certain risks for both parties (in terms of benefits and protection of employees, as well as guarantees of obtaining results and meeting deadlines for the employer). The task of the manager is to find qualified external contractors, agree on the terms of short-term cooperation, ensure employee involvement and a multilateral guarantee for all parties involved.
Human Bias Officer
The bias in artificial intelligence can be a problem for companies. It is obvious that with its help businesses will analyze sales, forecast purchases, diagnose indicators and recruit staff. When making decisions based on AI-processed data, it is important to ensure that algorithms are open-minded, free from bias, fair, ethical, and reflect company values. To carry out this control, specialists such as a Human Bias Officer are needed. The Officer’s job is to ensure that employees are treated fairly, from hiring to firing, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, economic status, origin or culture. An employee in this position will ensure that everyone in the company can ask a question, have the right to express their opinion and not be afraid of consequences. The Officer will also be responsible for developing standards, reducing bias in all business functions that HR oversees, and creating methodologies for compliance with requirements by all employees of the company.
Chief Climate Response Leader
We are going through a critical decade in terms of climate change. The UN has a goal: to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C by 2100. Climate change is a concern for conscious companies and employees. In this regard, some companies already need someone who can popularize the topic of climate change, attract the interest of employees to this topic.
The role of the Chief Climate Response Leader is to advocate for the company’s position in building a sustainable strategy and to broadcast the company’s steps on climate issues.
Businesses want to attract more talent, and the world has a track record of attracting the best candidates through the climate change efforts of companies. This is because job seekers prefer employers with a specific set of values and priorities. The Leader’s responsibilities include informing employees, candidates and clients about the actions that the company is taking to prevent climate change and engaging them in countering global warming at the micro level. In addition, external activities include contributing to global efforts to create climate solutions on behalf of the organization, disseminating official climate data, making presentations and representing the company in thematic forums.
We have described only a part of the possible HR professions for the next 5-10 years. Some of them may seem unusual or exotic. Nevertheless, there are serious prerequisites for the emergence of new roles in the HR field in the next decade. The 2020 crisis showed that change is already taking place, and we need to be able to anticipate future workforce transformations. This is important not only to stay competitive, but also to position HR’s role as a strategic business engine. Professions are becoming more and more technical, knowledge in several areas is becoming in demand, and over time, departments will be increasingly integrated with each other.
The future of HR is in digital solutions. Company leaders focus on optimizing human performance and automating processes. According to CIPD, 32% of UK companies have invested in artificial intelligence and automation in the past few years. This means HR will become more intuitive and, as new roles evolve, companies will be able to better anticipate changes to align with future business priorities. Perhaps very soon Ukrainian companies will also have to advertise a vacancy for one of the above roles.