Claire Richardson: 2018 is the year for HR to stand out


With productivity firmly in the spotlight in 2018, the next 12 months is a critical time in the world of workforce management and HR. While most businesses will be keen to boost productivity and profitability, this will manifest itself in many different ways.

The Workforce Institute Europe has collaborated with the leading experts of workforce management to identify three key themes we will see take shape in 2018.

Firstly, the elusive holy grail of employee engagement has been a distant dream for thousands of organisations and businesses of all sizes for decades. Despite billions in investment, return on investment (ROI) is still yet to be completely convincing for the c-suite. This year it is paramount that HR builds a deeper connection with how their projects and actions solve business challenges, using workforce data to drive conversations around and comprehensively demonstrate the positive impact that investments in recruiting, on-boarding, professional development, manager training, retention, and smarter scheduling can have on an organisation’s bottom line.

Secondly, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are revolutionising the workplace, and making the partnership between HR and operations more strategic. New, innovative workforce management and HR software simplifies the way data intelligence can be used to help solve problems that affect the day-to-day activities of all employees. If this trend of automating time-consuming everyday tasks is embraced, HR professionals can use the time freed up by such technology to make a more strategic impact on the business.

Lastly, as automation takes over administrative tasks, organisations will be compelled to embrace the human side of professional development and productivity. People managers are the number one drivers of employee experience, so this year it is vital that organisations invest in training programmes that help its managers build relationships and develop teams. While in the past managers have been buried in mountains of admin tasks, time card exceptions, and time off approvals, while communicating primarily through email, chat, and text, they can no longer escape the human side of people management. Many will need training to acquire the different skills this new environment demands.

Claire Richardson is chair at The Workforce Institute Europe