A report from software company, Sage, showed the key challenges which HR leaders will face in the near future and how to address these issues and changes. The report also highlighted the differing opinions in how HR leaders view their role and priorities and how members of the C-suite see it. The report called The changing face of HR in 2024 was a result of a Sage survey which questioned more than 1,000 HR leaders and C-suite executives to uncover how HR is changing and what success looks like in today and tomorrow’s new world of work.
The report said that the last year or so has been challenging to say the least. HR leaders told Sage they feel stressed, burnt out and are considering leaving the profession. And 95% of HR leaders said working in HR is simply too much work and stress.
A huge 91% said the last couple of years have been challenging and a large proportion – 84% said they regularly feel stressed, and still high – 81% said they feel personally burnt out. Almost two third, 62%, said they are considering leaving HR.
Accelerated change in the HR function
The rate of change in HR in recent years has been dramatic, thanks to the pandemic and seismic shifts in the workplace – and the world itself. Ninety-one percent of HR and C-suite leaders said HR’s role has changed dramatically over the past five years. Around a third of HR leaders, and 41% of the C-suite said they don’t think these drastic changes will slow down anytime soon either.
Director of Human Resources, Simeio Solutions, Tushar Kad, said: “HR has no alternative but to pull up its socks and be part of the change. For us to be able to do that, we must be on our toes, to get ourselves educated and informed, so that we can anticipate the transformation to the greatest possible extent.”
Time for HR’s big re-brand
Despite this, there is widespread consensus in the HR community that the days of HR being seen as an admin function should have moved on.
Seventy-three percent of HR leader thought the term ‘Human Resources’ is outdated, and 85% of the C-suite did. While 86% of HR leaders thought HR today is organised for speed, agility and adaptability.
“I’ve shifted away from ‘Human Resources’. I use ‘People and Culture’ now because that is a truer description of who we are and our work,” said Daphne Logan, Senior VP People and Culture, Start Early.
HR leaders still have some way to go to convince organisations of their value, and the power and flexibility of the modern People function.
Sixty-three percent of C-suite leaders admit to still seeing HR’s role as administrative, and many business leaders don’t expect HR to play a leading role across key areas that would traditionally sit in their wheelhouse, such as workforce planning and company culture.
Navigating the future of HR
Ninety-one percent of HR leaders told the survey they’re excited about the future of HR. Despite this, some 66% of HR leaders said they still have some worries about what lies ahead.
Eighty-three percent of HR leaders and 85% of business leaders say employee experiences and satisfaction will continue to become more of a focus for HR, as the function moves away from admin towards a more strategic and people-focused role in the changing world of work.
HR leaders also told the survey that, in the future, their experience makes them the perfect candidate to be future CEOs and current business leaders agree. Ninety-one percent of HR leaders and 95% of C-suite execs said HR has the right skills to become heads of business.
Eszter Lantos, Head of People, TCC Global, said: “If you have the right skills and you match it up with all the good things in HR – the empathy and the humanity – that is an important combination, which, in my opinion, any CEO should have if their aspiration is to build trust and inspire their people.”
HR in 2024: Are HR and C-suite on the same page?
Are HR leaders today, however, aligned with CEOs and other C-suite execs? Our research shows talent management remains the top priority for both HR and the C-suite in 2024. However, whereas business leaders also prioritise financial growth, putting it second in their list of priorities – it is much lower on the list at tenth for HR leaders.
The financial health of companies could not be more important right now. In the immediate term, 93% of HR and business leaders say economic uncertainty will be a challenge for HR in the years ahead.
Top challenges in 2024
Ninety-two percent of HR leaders say the sheer amount of work they have to undertake is a big barrier to future success in 2024. Limited budgets, lack of resources and not having the right skills in the HR team are also barriers.
A boost in HR skills and increased investment in specialisms feature highly on HR’s list to succeed.
HR doesn’t prioritise business-focussed skillsets the research revealed, and HR leaders and CEOs don’t have the same view when it comes to the top skills needed in HR.
HR leaders top three ranked skills are leadership and management skills, teamwork skills and coaching/mentoring/training facilitation skills. While C-suite said the top skills are leadership and management, financial skills and analytical skills.
The role of performance management in light of the Great Resignation
C-suite and HR leaders told us that performance management is one of the most crucial areas of focus following the Great Resignation. Despite most companies (93%) having a formal review system and 58% of leaders thinking performance management is now even more important, 75% of HR and the C-suite don’t believe their current performance management process is fit for purpose.
Kad said: “Performance management is extremely important. A robust system is like the spinal cord for the body, it connects so many other things that go on in the organisation. Annual appraisal, however, are dead.”
There are so many tools and technologies available for HR which take away a lot of that transactional or tactical burden for them.Click below to share this article