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The Futurist: HR goes beyond business partner

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Derek Wu, executive vice president, global human resources, Lee Kum Kee shares his ideas on how HR professionals should develop new policies and procedures that will align with new employment arrangements.

Employment and management are fundamentally changing to adapt to emerging technological trends and to cater to theneeds of our future generations. HR practitioners will need to manage a blended workforce through devising appropriate business strategies to drive business growth.

Intelligent manufacturing will shape the future through the application of innovation and digital technologies to production under the initiatives of “China Manufacturing 2025” as well as “Industry 4.0”. Automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will significantly impact theworkplace and how people interact with each other.

For example, imagine information that can be exchanged and shared anytime, anywhere and between any device. Like your refrigerator that is able to automatically reorder condiments, fruits and meat for you after consumption.

With the upcoming technological evolution, there is little surprise that HR transactional services will be advanced with automation technologies and AI to deliver real-time services. Enquiries will be answered by machines with a shortened response time. Higher efficiency and accuracy will create a desirable candidate and employee experience.

With the increasing proportion of Millennials taking up senior management roles and as baby boomers and Generation Xers retire, not only will demographics be affected, but the expectations, values and behaviours about work will also be altered.

With new approaches to work, HR practitioners need to reshape how employees work, how managers lead and how organisations are structured.

Some food for thought for harnessing future opportunities and bracing for the challenges: provide more opportunities for the ageing workforce to serve the company longer as advisors or consultants; reshape employee engagement, create cross functional and geographical collaborative platforms within an organisation to facilitate intrapreneurship to iron out problems with innovative ideas in projects and tasks. With the rise of freelancer economy, HR professionals should develop new policies and procedures that will align with new employment arrangements.

Technology and business demands will continue to provide new directions for HR. Without a doubt, HR should be part of the business instead of just a business “partner” and deploy strategies through the creation of talent values and workforce experience.

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