Shifting business priorities create significant opportunities for HR

Cost management, talent management and boosting productivity remain top current priorities for HR and non-HR business leaders in 2015, finds new survey. 



However, for the first time, innovation is now a leading business priority for a third of both HR (35 per cent) and other business leaders (32 per cent), according to the latest CIPD/Workday HR Outlook leaders’ survey.

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The findings highlight that new ways of working and operating is an increasing reality for organisations. However, while there is general agreement about overall strategic priorities, it seems to be less clear to the wider business how HR professionals will contribute to achieving them.

Despite nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of HR leaders saying that their current people strategy will help the organisation achieve its future priorities, just a quarter (26 per cent) of other business leaders agree.

Also, although 31 per cent of non-HR business leaders think HR should be focusing on diversity to help achieve innovation in the workplace, just 19 per cent of HR leaders said they were. To address this, the CIPD recommends that HR needs to look at ways in which it can innovate itself in order to stay relevant and more visibly demonstrate its enabling role as the workplace evolves.

Dr Jill Miller, Research Adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments: “Cost management is once again a top priority in this year’s survey, but it’s great to see innovation featuring so strongly, suggesting many organisations are thinking creatively in an environment of ongoing cost control.  At a strategic level, HR and non-HR leaders are evidently aligned on goals, but our survey highlights clear areas of opportunity for better collaboration and communication between HR and other functions.

“With people being at the heart of how businesses operate, HR has a significant role to play in wider organisational innovation. This requires business-wide systemic thinking and action to affect change but the good news is that we can see from the report that the appetite from non-HR business leaders for HR to drive this change is there.

“HR leaders need to focus on growing technological and analytical capabilities within the function, so it has the ability to meet future business requirements and really flourish in the evolving world of work.”

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