The human resources function is amidst a technological revolution and roles within the sector are evolving accordingly. Many businesses are better at harnessing the power of their data around their employees, particularly around performance. Meanwhile, the growth of AI is taking away menial admin tasks from many professionals’ day-to-day responsibilities. 

Moreover, there has been a huge shift on how the role of HR is perceived in the first half of 2021, as compared to the last half of 2020. Post the outbreak of the pandemic, many of the employers we work with have relooked at the way they recruit HR individuals and involve AI tools into their businesses. HR Managers have become very integral to the organization when it comes to WSP (Workplace Skills Planning), putting in place safety measures, reorganizing the business to allow to for work from home situations, helping businesses manage KPIs remotely and reset learning and development techniques.

The HR role has been revolving. In many businesses across Africa, HR roles are becoming more comprehensive. Kerry Morris, Business Manager – Human Resources, Michael Page Africa says, “In a bid to reduce costs, companies are hiring one HR Manager to take care of not only HR initiatives but also talent acquisition and learning and development programs. Having said that, the overall investment in technology platforms is stepping up to ramp up HR performance.”  

Given the evolving nature of the HR function, we have put together the top 10 skills in HR that employers are looking for.

1. Organisational effectiveness

Organisational effectiveness (OE) focuses on helping the leadership team to fine-tune and develop the organisation to its maximum capacity, by enabling change and enhancing performance, and capability. The significance of OE has grown over the years to become one of the most critical practices an organisation needs to embrace to maintain and increase its levels of performance within a rapidly changing environment.  

2. Talent attraction and retention

It has never been more important to communicate the full employee value proposition (EVP) when recruiting new staff. Kerry Morris, Business Manager – Human Resources, Michael Page Africa says, “Securing and retaining the best talent on the market requires a robust, multi-channel strategy and remains the bedrock under most of HR, and therefore organisational objectives.” We expect to see more investment in technology, the use of video and creativity to showcase what careers are on offer in organisations. Kerry adds, “Companies are going to rely heavily on AI and technology-based tools to monitor traffic data to the Career pages on their corporate websites.”

3. People analytics

There is now a growing movement around the philosophy that HR should be using all the data a company has on its employees to guide a board or management team to make people decisions that have a significant impact on areas such as productivity, revenue, and profits. This is not about an algorithm - this is about making people decisions with much better information. As AI takes a lot of the legwork out of collecting data, the emphasis is on having professionals who are able to analyse the information to make better decisions. 

4. Diversity and inclusion

Many businesses have made efforts to either improve or enforce a diversity and inclusion plan, and the subject’s continued growth, remains to be a key talking key point. A diverse workforce will reap benefits and a diversity expert will help steer a business in the right direction. With five generations now operating in the workplace, HR teams need adaptable strategies to ensure that everyone feels included and supported, according to their needs. The key is to use data and analytics to understand demographics, and to identify trends in the workforce and compile them into insightful reports, to enable a business to create meaningful policies and actions, is a necessity.

5. Mentoring

Mentoring has always been an important skill for HR and managers, but it has become more and more important, especially as the workforce changes. Mentoring helps individuals to better understand the ways that they can tackle problems through the experience of others. This can create a highly functioning workforce that places less reliance and strain on its management or HR teams for answers, and can also have a significant effect on reducing attrition. 

6. Programme management

Programme managers are accountable for the delivery of a project or a department's HR elements. They are the voice of HR within the business, so confidence and clear communication are essential. A strong degree of project management experience is required to design the plans relating to the employee lifecycle, and there will be an expectancy that project tasks run on time. Having a thorough grasp of popular HR systems will allow HR programme managers to better work with those at the senior management level to support the HR function.

7. Workplace Skills Planning 

With organisations having a fragmented workforce due to flex-working policies, many employers are looking for HR professionals to be creative and innovative in cementing strong company-wise cultures, creating safe and healthy workplace environments, planning purpose-driven office spaces, offering well-being support as well as implementing other employee engagement programs. Thus, workspace planning skills have come into the foray for HRs.

8. Management capability

The role of HR is more diverse than it ever has been and in the face of political and economic change, organisations need to ensure productivity and effectiveness. Many unhappy employees will cite their manager as being a reason to stay or leave an organisation. Effective management, coaching, objective setting and appraisals, are vital, even more so as more Generation Z employees enter the workplace.  

9. (Digital) Communication

With many businesses now augmenting their email and internal communications systems with tools such as Teams, Yammer, and Sametime, a clear digital communication strategy has never been so important. Clear and precise communication on a corporate level is essential to the smooth running of any business, but choosing the right platform, at the right time with the right message can be challenging. Different generations and job functions will respond better to different methods of communications. And with KPI/productivity measurement and training and development programs also going digital, HR professionals should be able to flex.

10. Proactivity

Dynamic and proactive individuals are ready and willing to overcome any obstacles that they may face at work. Being proactive in any role is important, as it will prove a willingness to go above and beyond. In a notably uncertain economic climate, where not every prediction is accurate, this is an area that organisations are increasingly scrutinising when hiring. A professional that is proactive takes it upon themselves to be forward thinking and prepared for unpredictable occurrences in the market. 

As leading recruiters with a global network, we have an extensive database of top talented professionals to take your business to the next level, helping you to stay ahead of the competition.  

For a confidential discussion on how we can help you get the best talent with the right skills, get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.

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