Former HR Executive turned freelance writer, Lucy Wyndham, takes a look at the evolving role of human resources in the future world of work.

In the past couple of years, the world of marketing has gone through many changes due to the rise of the Internet and social media. Society is moving towards a more digital realm, and it’s forcing businesses to comply. The trend affected marketing functions first, since they are closely tied with the consumers who are living in the digital world. However, HR functions are next. In the next 5 years, we will likely see the same shift in marketing happen to human resource roles.

Focus on the Digital World

Half of the world now has access to the Internet, two-thirds own a smartphone, and 37 percent of the world has a social media account. These statistics have forced marketers to switch from traditional marketing towards digital marketing in order to target their audiences. HR professionals are already using social media to recruit and target potential employees, but they will now need to learn how to virtualise the rest of their processes. Half of the UK’s workforce is expected work remotely by 2020, so HR professionals will have to adapt their processes towards a virtual office and target employees who are not physically in the office.

An Emphasis on the Numbers

With the rise of digital marketing came the heavy emphasis on statistics and the need to measure success. Marketers needed a way to understand exactly how social media marketing was helping promote their brand, which bred new forms of data analysis. This evolution will also likely happen in the world of HR. Although HR professionals currently use statistics such as turnover rates and employee engagement levels, there will be an increase in the tracking of metrics such as the average timeframe for an employee to become ready for promotion. HR professionals, much like marketers, will start to increase their reliance on analytics, big data, and surveys to uncover niche market ideas, leading them to drive change, and prove their value.   

Focus on the Employee Experience

The Internet has created the idea that you’re not only buying a product, but also your experience with that product. Consumers want to be able to experience the brand and therefore, marketers have created strategies that allow for this consumer experience. The same is happening in HR. Many leaders are going outside of HR functions to partner with real estate, IT, marketing, and internal communications to create one seamless employee experience. This means that HR professionals are investing more in their employees and providing them with improved work spaces, training, and benefits such as gym memberships, travel, and mobile phone discounts. HR is transcending the workplace and reaching out into every employee’s overall life.

Marketing professionals have already made the adjustments necessary to working in a digital world. HR professionals are expected to be next in the growing online trend. If you’re an HR professional, look at how marketing as evolved and try to adapt their processes to your role.


By Lucy Wyndham, a former HR Executive turned freelance writer