While “The Force Awakens” has definitely made headlines in the last week, the term can also be used to define the ever growing presence and need of human resource professionals.  The field of Human Resources continues to evolve.  We have seen this area go from simply employee file maintenance to a strategic business partner.  This change has pushed the need for quality HR personnel to be hired so that they can drive this area and be included on key strategic organizational decisions.  We are seeing more and more HR personnel receiving their certifications because our work places need individuals that fully understand the “ins and outs” of not only hiring but also maintaining a quality workforce.

As businesses turn their focus to scanning the environment and developing their business model and plan for 2015, HR leaders are being asked to provide their input.  Knowing attrition rates, developing succession plans, planning for promotions or providing insight on the need to increase staffing in certain areas are the types of things that HR leaders bring to the table.  These items and others are vital to a healthy bottom line, and the role of HR as a force in the organizational structure is needed for companies to have a true understanding of how hiring and staffing decisions directly impact other aspects of the business.

While the “force” of HR was awakened several years ago, we know that as we continue to move into a workforce that will include more and more millennials and technology, a strong strategy from HR must continue to be developed and listened too so that companies can continue to thrive.  It’s no secret that new thoughts and ideas will be needed as we develop new ideologies as to what makes businesses successful.

The force awakens in 2015, and HR professionals are ready for this to happen. They bring key insights into what to expect. Over the next few weeks, I will be providing some of these thoughts from HR professionals and other executives about “What HR leaders should be talking about in 2015?” Check back every Friday, or better yet, sign up for our blog updates at www.peopleg2.com to get an automatic notification when the blog is updated.

 “In 2015, HR managers are wise to consider unconventional tactics for attracting the millennial generation. What soft benefits can they offer in their job postings and hiring contracts? How can they leverage social media to reach a larger talent pool? Can they create a more flexible hiring process (i.e. Skype or casually dressed interviews) that will better reflect what younger candidates are looking for from the company?  Generating the passion for business, for progress and engendering levels of commitment to the corporate ‘cause’ over the next 10 years is going to require more creative and flexible approaches than before – and it all begins with hiring the right candidates into the right environment. Otherwise when the boss cries “jump” the response is more likely to be “why?” than “how high?””

Jo Clarkson, UK Operations Director, The Alternative Board


“Focusing on the millennials. Here’s the reality – boomers and Xers maybe in the C-Suite, but they’re not the only influencers at play. Understanding what resonates with the incoming workforce – our millennials – is critical to success. We have to spend time consciously learning about,reaching out to and connecting with this generation, knowing that engaging our millennials requires a fairly dramatic change in most large organizations. It’s time to really get curious about the methods, priorities and engagement approaches that resonate with millennials.”

Robin Woodall-Klein, Senior VP, Root Inc.

“HR Leadership – Alignment with the business on priorities and objectives.

HR Strategy – develop a strategic talent acquisition and workforce plan
that enables the business to have the top-level talent and programs in place
to achieve their goals.

Employee Engagement and Development – Attract, Retain, Motivate
Improving the candidate experience

Challenge – Staying on top of key HR trends and filtering through fads”

Kathleen Chalmers DeShields, VP, Chief People Officer, SmartBear Software


“Next year it will be important for HR to focus on Employee Experience rather than HR. You see, HR is something constantly associated with stacks of paperwork, complaints, and processes that are several decades old. Employee Experience (EX), on the other hand, is a new function we created to support and drive the overall job satisfaction of every employee. Employee Experience is foremost about employees. As millennials become the most prominent generation in today’s economy, giving them the experience they expect will go a long way. Helping employees be as happy and successful as possible ends up being good for business. Happy and engaged employees will ultimately contribute more to the overall success of the business.

In disassociating ourselves from traditional HR (that area of the office no one wants to visit), EX is able to focus on creating processes and building relationships (our door is always open) that truly benefit our greatest assets – our employees. It’s important to constantly evaluate your processes, tools, and technology to make sure your’re supporting the 3 Fs – The Fundamentals, The Fringe, and The Fun.”

Erica Johnson, Director of Employee Experience, Nitro


“Focus on improved recruiting—we will never have “enough people,” so hire for core competencies, use more assessments, better sourcing, create a true talent pipeline, and include mobile recruiting as a major tool.

Focus on succession—after years of talking about it, now comes action: more internal hiring and development, use of skills assessments and skills cataloguing, real and realistic development plans at all levels

Focus on HR alignment across large organizations—no more fiefdoms, instead we are seeing horizontal integration of services and resources

Focus on globalization and localization—more GPHR certifications, diversity certifications, more need for employees and service providers who can deliver both a global perspective and local market knowledge (See better hiring and development above).”

Nancy S. Ahlrichs, SPHR, Strategic Account Manager, FlashPoint

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