HR's New Role: How People Leaders Are Evolving To Support Workplace Innovation



Considering the pandemic’s whiplash effect on the economy — one that is very much still in process — is it any wonder the role of Human Resources (HR) has undergone such profound change?

The pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg for HR workplace innovation: digital transformation, the shifting of entire generations in and out of the workforce, and the radical adoption of remote work have left organizations reeling from change.

Those best prepared for these changes have at least one thing in common. They have proactively adopted Human Capital Management (HCM) technology that allows their people leaders to evolve and bring an unprecedented level of adaptability and agility to how they approach these changes. 

Here are three important ways HCMs insulate companies and people leaders from feeling the most negative effects of change and capturing the most positive effects of HR workplace innovation:

The old days of HR did paperwork, innovative HR is building a bridge to the future

It took a new mountain of pandemic- and remote-work-related events to make it clear that HR’s role is more important than ever – and that HR teams have more important things to do than manual tasks, of course. In fact, according to HRExecutive, nearly 90% of businesses want to adjust their flexible work policies in the wake of the epidemic, and HR teams will probably gain a more in-depth insight into the employee experience.

In a volatile time, protecting the health and wellbeing of employees and ensuring business continuity are the highest level contributions HR can make. It’s critical companies support those activities with HCM technology that allows HR leaders to automate and simplify anything that can be taken off their plate. That’s how organizations leave room for HR to build a bridge to the future. 

Traditional HR hires, innovative HR builds careers

The original purpose of HR was to manage relations with labor and retain talent. While those are still important aspects of the role, today the demands on HR are much more big picture. For example, the people leader’s participation in the lifecycle of an employee is much more complex than “hiring and firing.” Instead, the future of HR workforce innovation looks to the people leader to proactively manage talent, build the careers of individual employees, and become a strategic partner for what the organization looks like 1, 3, 5, or even 10 years down the line.  

HR leaders without access to technology that facilitates a big picture look at talent, and especially the talent path through an organization, aren’t able to be effective in this area. HR leaders need a single-source-of-truth for human capital data, clear workflows and data captures that reduce errors, and the ability to manipulate data in flexible, accessible ways.  

Traditional HR reacts, innovative HR is agile

The nuance between reacting and responding to changes in business is slight but important. Reacting takes place when we accept information and do our best with it, and the action may be positive or negative. Responding takes place when we’ve put processes in place that take into consideration the desired outcome we’re after, and the response is engineered to be as positive as possible.  

When the pandemic first caught the world by surprise, all HR leaders reacted. It was an unpredictable event. But now that all businesses are operating in an unpredictable business environment, it’s clear that we must put effort into enabling our organizations to offer flexible, agile responses to any situation that might arise — but that’s only possible when we deploy the technology available to us and overcome common friction points in HR data like broken workflows, data silos, and overwhelmed team members. 

Change is the hallmark of HR

Strong business and people leaders embrace change. In fact, HR and people leaders have always been a focal point of change within an organization, introducing new people, policies, and technology to the teams that need it most.  

Today, you have the opportunity to embrace change. To use technology that allows you to greet it, and be agile in the face of the inevitable new challenges that come with it. And when you can do that, you’re able to take advantage of opportunities to strengthen and fortify your company’s approach to workforce management and people operations — and then you’re truly unstoppable.

If these ideas resonate, don’t miss the latest SyncHR eBook, “How the Future of HR is Changing.” Download it here. 

Be prepared for change with SyncHR

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Sarah Greesonbach

Sarah Greesonbach

Sarah Greesonbach turns cutting-edge research and data into captivating HR technology marketing content. She loves to consider the possibilities of humanizing, organizing, and minimalizing all things HR, and her writing helps HR executives and professionals develop their instincts and arrive at actionable insights for employee engagement and business performance.

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