The role of Human Resources is changing.
HR trends like the increasing reliance on technology are transforming how business gets done and changing the way employees interact with their companies. The pace and complexity of change have accelerated rapidly, and the COVID-19 crisis has advanced disruption at an even higher rate.
As HR managers, it is critical to anticipate changes and help transform organizations and the workplace.
The SHRM-aligned Jack Welch MBA with Human Resources Concentration provides students with the ability to leverage the knowledge and insights faced by current HR leaders. Mitch Balsam from Ernst and Young recently led a discussion of HR Trends via JWMI’s student and alumni portal, JWMI Connect.
Mega HR Trends and How to Prepare
The Transformative Role of Technology
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2055, half of the current tasks humans perform will be automated with technology that exists today. As more HR tasks such as onboarding, time tracking, and payroll become automated, HR professionals will need to add value in other ways. They’ll be responsible for managing costs, making big decisions on talent, and change management itself.
“Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch
Change is not natural to human behavior, so HR professionals need to be especially adept at it. They need to recognize trends, foresee upcoming changes, and make sure the company is ready, especially in today’s current environment, with the transition to remote workforces and daily changes in conducting business.
With the automation of many tasks, HR professionals must focus on providing impactful advice and useful insights for executives to make big workforce decisions. “At the end of the day, it comes down to being strategic and helping to drive business performance. If you’re doing anything less than that as an HR professional, you’re not adding value,” said Mr. Balsam.
Jack Welch believed that HR is the driving force behind what makes a winning team. As we move into the future, HR will start to be accountable for business results in a way that it has not been before.
Focus on Employee Experience
Over 90,000 hours are spent at work over the average lifetime in America, according to the book Happiness At Work. The American workforce wants to find purpose in the work they do. It’s no longer just about what we do at work; it’s about how we feel at work.
Smart companies recognize how their employees’ work experience impacts their entire lives in the forms of stress, illness, and even divorce. As the human capital hub within any organization, HR needs to understand the workforce’s needs and serve those needs through innovative resources that improve morale and health and improve productivity. A deep understanding of workforce needs is more important now than ever, as companies worldwide are transforming due to the Covid-19 pandemic. HR needs to work closely with leadership to maintain the physical and mental health of their employees.
Accepting a New Reality
The way organizations manage through a crisis sends a clear message to their employees, customers, and shareholders. Most companies have accepted the new reality of a remote workforce. Some companies are even seeing increased productivity in that workforce.
However, humans, by nature, crave interpersonal connections. So then, as more companies debate a return to the office, how do they manage the new “normal,” which could include a combination of remote and in-person work?
Understanding what employees want will be vital to achieving the right balance to regain optimal workforce productivity and satisfaction in these evolving times.
Smart companies will find ways to revitalize the organization and reimagine how they work. HR professionals should play a key role in these discussions. Ultimately, the companies that focus first on their people, and then on productivity will thrive.
About Mitch Balsam
Mitchel Balsam is a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young LLP’s People Advisory Services (PAS) Practice. With over 15 years of HR Leadership and Project Management experience, Mitch has proven success in applying strong business/technical acumen to ensure company strategies are are both customer-centric and improve operations. He has a passion for helping HR leaders identify their own and their teams’ path forward to ensure value-add to the business.
Mitch leads projects for global organizations who are fundamentally re-establishing the connection between customer and employee experience, and how it impacts the way HR must contribute across the value chain. Atop the agenda for Mitch and his team is driving actionable insights into how the workforce’s decisions, activities, and motivations can be directly correlated to business results. As we enter the roaring 2020’s, Mitch sees HR playing the lead role in opening new growth opportunities, driving innovation, and helping business units meet company goals.
As a member of EY’s PAS team, Mitch developed a breakthrough “employee-as-a-customer” framework and has identified key ways in which the HR function must continue to evolve along with the rest of the organization. Across EY’s client base, Mitch engages with business leaders and talent managers to drive the identification of new Learning and Talent solutions in a business-led way: to meet targets across time to revenue improvements, digital/commercial effectiveness, pipeline/succession planning, and population re-skilling.
Mitch joined EY from GE in 2016 and has a depth of experience across Workforce Advisory, M&A, Labor Relations, Compensation, Benefits & Employee Healthcare. He worked in the Human Resources Leadership Program, including time as an HR Business Partner supporting Commercial Product Lines, and participated in GE’s National Union Negotiations as part of management’s core team.
He also led multiple teams and projects across the Rewards space. Mitch is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Change Acceleration Process graduate. Mitch has a Bachelor’s Degree in History (Brandeis University) and holds an MBA in Finance (Fordham University). He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with his wife Daniella and their three sons.