HR used to be simple. In the early years, teams were tasked with basic functions like recruiting, completing new hire paperwork, and handling the uncomfortable responsibility of offboarding terminated or exiting employees.
Then came benefits administration, followed closely by corporate training, dispute resolution, and a host of other important responsibilities. Today, HR teams provide end-to-end support for their respective businesses, handling everything from workforce planning and recruitment to managing payroll and benefits administration, continuing education, and even corporate giving and volunteership.
If the evolution of HR over the generations has taught us anything, it’s that what HR looks like today won’t necessarily be how it looks in the future. In the age of digital transformation, remote and hybrid workforces, and a more dynamic job market, HR teams of all sizes must embrace using the tried-and-true SWOT Analysis — Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Threats — model to begin projecting what their business might look like in the future and begin laying the groundwork for building a team, workflows, and processes to meet the demands of their business today, tomorrow, and years into the future.
Strong now, stronger tomorrow
Our default position as humans is to accentuate — and often overvalue — our strengths to make ourselves more attractive to prospective employers, partners, or even mates.
HR teams aren’t immune to inflated evaluations of their skills and capabilities. But preparing for success today and tomorrow demands that HR teams take an honest look at their skills and expertise to determine how they can support today’s workforce as well as the workforce of the future.
Critically evaluate which tactical areas like process creation or interviewing in which your team excels and determine how those strengths will support future operations. At the same time, identify “softer” skills like training development, conflict resolution, or analytics and reporting that sets your team apart from the average HR organization and devise plans for maximizing those skills and competencies in the future.
Weak, but not for long
No one wants to talk about their weaknesses, but HR teams willing to identify, address, and examine their own deficiencies will find greater success in the future than teams that choose to ignore them.
Specifically, evaluate daily functions that seem to be stuck in the past such as manual data entry and records reconciliation, paper-based employee onboarding, annual performance reviews, or other artifacts of a bygone era that risk your team’s productivity, efficiency, and profitability as the business world continues to evolve. Now and in the future those inefficient, ineffective, and error-prone workflows should be replaced with tools and technologies that can automate and simplify those processes and convert them from weaknesses to strengths.
Carpe the opportunities
“Evolve or die” is a common phrase among business visionaries. It may be hyperbolic and a bit dramatic, but there’s also an essential truth in there too: organizations must be willing to find opportunities to reinvent themselves over time.
For HR teams, there’s an opportunity to transform from a support-oriented role and cost center to a strategic business partner that can help chart a new course for the company by empowering people and optimizing processes that help increase employee retention, productivity, and overall value to the company.
To accomplish that, HR leaders should zoom out for a broader look at the business as a whole, spanning all its current functions — marketing, sales, finance, and other crucial teams. Look for trends in employee churn, sales production, or training completion metrics that indicate potential future issues for the business if they’re not adequately addressed.
Try to identify aspects of the organization that are underutilized or underperforming such as how mature your career roadmapping capabilities are, how frequent job performance evaluations and coaching occurs, or how your compensation models stack up against industry norms that could represent a new competitive advantage.
Deal with threats
No matter your current business posture, your company — and by extension, your HR team — will certainly face new and evolving threats to your culture, your operations, and your bottom line.
Immediate threats could include things like the talent arms race, in which you’re recruiting against other companies that offer more attractive benefits — unlimited PTO, stronger health and mental health care, work from home options, and more. Meanwhile, long-term threats may come from an evolving technology landscape that will eventually require a whole new set of skills to operate.
Addressing those challenges requires strong data and reporting around each of those items so you’re making data-driven decisions instead of just gut feelings. Human capital management (HCM) systems like SyncHR empower business leaders and team managers to critically evaluate their business operations from every angle, providing the real-time, accurate, and actionable insights they need to future-proof both their HR organization and the company as a whole.
Learn more about how SyncHR HCM can drive impactful SWOT analysis and meaningful business changes to compete today, tomorrow, and for years to come.