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Surfing the waves of change

HR leaders are helping organisations evolve in the face of rapid waves of change. Deakin expert Dr Justine Ferrer identifies the touchstones of HR leadership to keep organisations thriving today and into the future.

In the digital era, disruptions are the order of the day. Whole sectors and occupations can be upended with the latest technological advance, with management caught playing catch up. How do organisations prepare for these future shifts from out of the blue? This is where HR leadership comes in.

Future gazing

HR leaders of today need to be clued into tomorrow’s business and management trends before they arrive. “Talented HR leaders have their finger on the pulse; they know about the next big thing before anyone else, can guide and support their organisations in how to respond,” Dr Ferrer says.

To survive and thrive in a fast-changing environment, organisations today recognise that HR leaders need to be seated at the top table when it comes to overall strategy. HR leadership has become a lot more strategy oriented, according to Dr Ferrer, and this makes a future-focused approach more important than ever.

“HR leaders are up to speed with new and evolving factors that are shaping the workforce. They go above and beyond operational aspects of HR management,” Dr Ferrer says.

Embracing technology

Whether it’s AI, the latest social media app, or automation, technological advances are revolutionising how organisations manage work, source talent, generate innovation, and nurture happy teams. Dr Ferrer says HR practitioners with leadership ambitions cannot afford to be tech shy in such a climate.

“You don’t need to be an IT expert but keeping up to date with technological transformations and trends can only be good for your career.

“Connect with a mentor, subscribe to a blog, or attend technology-related professional development programs; whatever way you do it, aim to build your knowledge about the ways technology can advance your organisation’s strategic and functional HR management.”

Supporting positive change

Helping organisations know when and how to change, and ensuring they do it smoothly, has become a core part of HR leadership today, according to Dr Ferrer.

She says HR leaders make all the difference to how organisations handle internal and external changes by fostering agility and adaptability in management, staff and teams.

HR leaders can support positive change by asking the question ‘Why?’ question in response to change-resistant comments such as ‘That’s how it’s always been done’. In this way, today’s HR leaders are problem-solvers – always looking for new and better ways of achieving core outcomes, Dr Ferrer says.

“Organisations suffer when change is automatically resisted. HR practitioners who are prepared to explore new ways of doing things, and support positive change, are the ones who are sought after for leadership roles.”

Joining the dots

Data has become one of the most valuable of global commodities, but its true currency lies in how meaningful it is, according to Dr Ferrer.

“Meaningful decisions can only be made on the basis of meaningful data – data that provides genuine insights into the ramifications of different decisions.

“HR professionals today have more and more data at their fingertips, but they have to know how to interpret it so that it can add clarity and vision to decision-making at all levels of an organisation. HR leaders make sure they understand what the data is saying and are careful in the way they use it in their decision-making.”

Deakin University’s Master of Human Resource Management is an online, flexible degree for aspiring HR leaders. Give your career the edge and find out more today.

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