Are we on the verge of HR 3.0?

A leading HR author shares her views on what we can expect in HR's next big evolutionary step

“I think we’re at this really big inflexion point for HR. HR 1.0 was personnel and labour relations and HR 2.0 was the Dave Ulrich model with business partners, a strategic focus, centres of expertise and so on. I think we’re at the verge of an HR 3.0.”
While speaking with HC, Karie Willyerd, author of Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow's Workplace and workplace futurist at SAP, spoke of the next big step for the HR function as a whole.
While the actual name for this new HR hasn’t been given yet, there was a hunger by top leadership to redefine the role, she said, making a shift from admin and labour relations to providing meaningful insight into the business.
“The other thing is how do we get the functions of HR more integrated with one another? In the old Dave Ulrich model, the centres of expertise, business partners and biz ops sit in different places. There’s no integrating thread.”
This means that the voice of the employees and top management gets lost amongst these various silos as COEs focus on their individual areas.
One component of HR 3.0 is that HR will become more agile, Willyerd said, with the voice of staff and managers permeating and being integrated throughout HR instead of within standalone silos.
Part of what is driving this evolution is a “yearning for excellence in HR,” she added.
“If you look at the Millennial workforce, there are lots of indications they want to take advantage of some things that HR can bring to the table.”
By 2020, Millennials will make up more than 50% of the workforce so what this generation actually wants is essential for HR, Willyerd told HC.
She highlighted the latest SAP study of executives and employees – a 21 country survey conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics – which was probably one of the first to look at Millennial executives in the c-suite.
“The difference between Millennial and non-Millennial executives was around 30 points. This is super dramatic. What they’re saying is we’re not innovative enough. There’s a big emphasis on diversity. Millennial executives were more concerned about diversity than female executive were. They say we don’t collaborate enough.”
This means Millennial executives will end up demanding more of the HR function in the future.
“HR can step up and move to that next level or not. If we don’t, then I think we will get split up but if we step up, we could create perhaps the most important role in an organisation going forward.”


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