More evidence of the rise in corporate stature of the HR function. Bersin by Deloitte recently published the Predictions for 2016 report, subtitled A Bold New World of Talent, Learning, Leadership and HR Technology Ahead. As with previous years reports, this one includes ten key predictions ranging from the arrival of digital HR, renewed focus on global leadership development, and the acceleration of people analytics and diversity and inclusion as strategic pieces of business strategy.

The breadth of topics covered in the report indicates the growing complexity of the HR function and why people management is a strategic topic. The final prediction is all about the elevation of the HR function, entitled The HR Profession Leaps Forward as a New Breed of HR Leaders Enter the Stage. Here are some relevant excerpts from that section:

PREDICTION For the first time in almost a decade, HR teams will be celebrated publicly and we will stop reading articles about “the end of HR.”

One thing has clearly come through—everywhere I go, people are openly reinventing and listening to new ideas about what HR is. I could tell you dozens of stories about innovation, breakthrough thinking, reorganization of HR teams, and bold new CHROs.

For the first time in nearly five years, I see significant movement and understanding of these changes in almost every company with which I talk. So I believe 2016 will be a year of transformation and very positive changes in all areas of HR and L&D.

Even more important than this is the emergence of more young, innovative, creative people into our profession. The function of HR has become “sexy” and “important” to business; it appears in the press almost every week; I am now talking with business school leaders who want to add strategic HR and talent topics to their curricula. I think 2016 will bring a new breed of innovative young HR and L&D leaders to the forefront—and you likely have many of them right in your own midst.    

KEY POINT Companies are investing heavily in innovation and analytics, younger HR leaders are starting to take over, organizations are sharing their creative solutions more openly, and the alignment of HR with business is improving dramatically.

Will 2016 be the year HR moves to the strategic forefront? Perhaps it already has. It seems like organizations have turned the corner in terms of recognition of the strategic importance of people. That puts the HR function squarely in the strategic conversation.


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