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theHRDIRECTOR – May 2018 – Issue 163

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Independence is our strength – covering the issues that directly impact on those with the duty of directing human resources

Synopsis – Issue 163 – May 2018

Employment law and a review of legislative change
There is little doubt that the next few years promise a good deal of significant and subtle change in employment law, above and beyond the headliners; Gender pay gap reporting, new regulations in General Data Protection (GDPR), new statutory rates of pay, and taxation of termination payments – the latter now earmarked for next year. To top that, Brexit sits like the last beleaguered tank of the battalion, threatening to pummel the legal edifice that has formed after years of EU directives. Meanwhile, the gig economy, once considered the panacea to modern working, is proving to be a slow, work-in-progress, fraught with red tape, legal greyness and no doubt, in the course of time, the subject of much change in employee status. Speaking of which, the spotlight remains on workers’ rights in the wake of the Taylor Review. So, any hopes of a cessation of bureaucratic meddling is a pipe dream, as Brexit promises wholesale adjustment and re-calibration. We will gratefully receive your learned guidance and opinion.

Adding value to HR service and provision
Of all disciplines in the corporate world, HR has been changing and evolving more than most, and ever-eager to attract more roles and responsibilities, like catching moonbeams in a jar. Once again, HR is re-defining itself for the future and, in order to have a grip on its wide and varied roster, digital technology is the keystone in its intricate and elaborate arch, and data and analytics is the mortar holding it all together. There lies crisis, as it is becoming patently clear that there is a severe shortage of the right HR skills in the market, namely digital and analytical capabilities. Worse still, in the race to be all things to all people, the practise is now suffering an identity crisis, to the point that it is barely a vague blip on the potential career radar for students and graduates, the very demographic that holds the key to the digital future. There is no doubt that HR may be higher profile today than 20 years ago, but as the human touch becomes fainter and the reach further, the void between will be filled with data and analytics and, in the absence of necessary skills to sustain and support all stakeholders, the sector is in crisis. As the workplace becomes automated, self-service and remote working becomes the norm, HR must respond and adapt to bring new capability and intelligence to the workforce, and digital is the conduit to that outcome. But can the sector muster the new generation cohorts to consider HR as a cutting edge tech sector career option? That is the challenge ahead. Your visions and opinion on how HR must, once again, demonstrate its value will be considered with great interest.

Future strategy and forward planning
In days of old, FS and FP were fairly linear and repetitious, requiring, say, an annual meeting to decide upon a framework for future development, align that with the direction of growth, and agree and implement policies and resources in order to achieve business objectives. Leaders felt confident to sign off a forwardlooking map that would deviate very little on the route to objective. But in today’s turbulent, unchartered waters, that would render any business about as manoeuvrable as a super tanker. Now businesses of any size need to be able to turn on a dime, respond to change, disruptors and disruption instantly. Everything and anything is liable to change without notice, so a rigid plan is about as useful a business aid as a straightjacket is to a contortionist. Technology is the constant game changer and it is changing everything for everyone. You only need to look at car manufacturing to see how change is impacting, and the infamous Kodak scenario could happen to any organisation in any sector. According to Sharplin; “Strategic Management is defined as the formulation and implementation of plans and carrying out of activities relating to the matters which are of vital, pervasive or contusing importance to the total organisation”. That definition makes no mention of the necessity to respond immediately to change. So what does future strategy and forward planning look like now, and how can businesses plan with some element of accuracy and meaning?

Leaders for 2022 and beyond
Donald Trump became the most powerful leader on Earth because of deep-seated frustration and mistrust of the establishment and those that represented it. On the 4th January 2018, the news headlines reported that many FTSE 100 CEOs had already earned the equivalent of the average annual UK salary. President Trump was a seismic result and a catalyst for change, any change, and the disparity of salary of those at the top and the rank and file continues to perniciously destroy the leadership brand. In the workplace, we are witnessing a revolution as the traditional career ladder disappears, the aspiration of leadership diminishes, and skills, experience and knowledge become the driving ambition. The future workforce bears little resemblance to the past, as teams are being calibrated for collaboration and collective responsibility. So where does that leave future leadership planning? As we look forth to 2022 and beyond, we are already experiencing the impacts of the flatter workforce, where the traditional, hierarchical framework is rapidly eroding, peer-to- peer teams are being developed to focus on projects, with a mix iterant gig specialists, remote workers and coordinators. The question is, does this framework even require leaders? Your opinions, predictions and experiences will be gratefully received and reviewed.

As for all the topics we are covering in this issue, your expertise and insight will be gratefully received in the form of briefs outlining your proposed articles.

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