Your team is greater than the sum of its parts. Build the right synergies through complementary skills and it should purr like the engine of a state-of-the-art F1 race car. So make sure to fill up your HR tank and rev up your engine to tackle the new year’s challenges, as we explore which skills your team need to supercharge HR for 2023.
Before you dive in, here's a short intro of what you can expect:
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Much like a Formula 1 team, your HR team comprises experts with special skills, with each member contributing to the success of the team. For instance, a typical F1 team relies heavily on having an overview of the race track and as the principal strategist of your team, you need to know the twists and turns for the coming year. This year’s track is highlighted in a key study of the worldwide skill economy, detailing what to expect in the next 12 months. And having a plan based on the insights will put your team ahead of the pack and help you plan which skills to add to your team—either by developing them within your current team or informing your plans for HR hires in 2023.
BCG’s recent worldwide survey of businesses and their leaders, including HR, reveals the challenges to look out for in the HR space: digitalization, the war for talent and the future of work. The implications of each present a set of HR hurdles that cannot be ignored, nor overcome by one person, let alone one skillset. HR has a unique opportunity to A) step out of a support capacity and into a primary strategic partner function and B) take an active, leading role in shaping the future of work. Let’s dive in!
The future of work means that the human being in front of you—and not just HR—should be at the center of everything you do. Your goal is to explore new approaches that empower them to find their purpose, increase happiness and ultimately reach their greatest potential. In this future—tomorrow is the future too by the way—the employee has a transparent view of their career opportunities and makes the determination to follow one path over the other in order to match their identity and true calling. This in turn increases productivity and creates flexibility in how and where work gets done.
HR’s digitalization has long lagged behind other functions in business. Continuing in such a way is traveling along the race track with a Vespa. Fun, yes. Effective, no. Even at full speed, you and your team will fall woefully behind. The pace of technology and skills is so high that HR needs to upgrade, digitalize and utilize new data to benefit and empower employees. Bring your HR functions online now and your efforts will pay off manifold. Just make sure you have the right skills to get it done in the end.
The war for talent demands a true HR rethink to ensure that talent obtained is retained, and possibly even trained. Hunting, hiring, and holding onto the best talent is as big a challenge as ever, and only exacerbated by the circumstances of the past two years. An organization’s employer value proposition (EVP) needs a refresh to include more than just perks, and will require outside-the-box thinking and some serious empathy.
Fuel Up with Some Sweet Skills
Just like a stark cup of joe (or 95 Octane fuel to stick with our F1 metaphor), skills supercharge your team’s performance at work. So let’s dive into the most important HR skills for the coming year and get ready to drink it down like a hot pot of Arabica.
Moving the needle forward on the three HR challenges in 2023 will require you and your team to notch 5 skills onto your belt. Some are sure to remain relevant for years, but the hardest to master if you lack them. Meanwhile, other skills are needed now more than ever in order to push that HR needle in the right direction—and with speed.
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Let’s explore this list of human skills (or as Josh Bersin says, power skills) and technical skills. HR’s journey to better people development requires a focus on these human skills in the day to day. A team without them is like a race car without the tires. You’ll have no traction, so make sure they are part of your toolkit. Else you may be sitting on a milkcrate on the tarmac making “vroom” noises, while the rest of HR passes you by at 340 km/h.
Add in the more technical must-haves and you might just have yourself a Grand Prix winning team. VP of People at Early Bird Venture Capital, Jay Anna Harris-Theis, notes that such technical talent creates significant benefits,
“HR teams being super trained to make impactful presentations and constructive solutions on data will go a long way in ensuring an HR seat at the executive table.”
Of the top 5, Cobrainer customers report needs in 3 key HR skills, widely demanded, but distinctly human and necessary: teamwork, leadership, and adaptability. Finishing off our 2023 HR skill roundup are both technical and analytical skills. So how do each of these afford your team greater odds of setting HR up for success?
To have a high performing team, great teamwork means excellent communication, collaboration and understanding, giving your processes a buttery-smooth flow. Just like the F1 pit crew, your team needs to ensure that each person compliments the others. Set the tone for good teamwork by first role modeling it, then build it up in your team and let it radiate out to the rest of the company. After that, develop or bring on new skills from within your company or hire externally.
Making Teamwork Work for You
Good communication, aided by digitalization of employee data, results in smoother processes, plus creates more opportunities to find and hold onto great talent through a culture of trust and transparency. The future of work also means your communication game better be at its best. With colleagues working in a hybrid environment and asynchronously, we all have needed to get used to a new normal and such an opportunity to shape your team’s workstyle should not go unutilized.
More than a trend, leadership is a quality sorely missing in the workplace and needed more than ever. Every member in your team must find their way to becoming a leader and each leader will come in many shapes and sizes. Perhaps not the CHRO herself, but one of the guys or gals behind the chief. Find an HR evangelist to fight for your position, leaders to execute on projects and sprinkle in perhaps even a few outside-the-box thinkers. Those ready to rock the boat to make work better for employees will help you move the needle even more.
Building Leadership in Everyone
The evolving world of work demands more leaders that possess compassion, creativity and the ability to reflect. HR leaders, who identify with the new work movement or believe in a better way than the status quo will play a heavy part in shaping the future of work, as well as HR’s role in it.
Find and build up HR team members that are willing to stand up for and fight for employees, strategies, and progress. Working for and with great leaders is like the rising tide that lifts all boats, so encourage your team to find their voice to help HR live the leadership role and even become an inspiration to other departments, teams and colleagues.
The times are a changin’ and at this speed, your best bet is to find ways to stay agile to survive the twists and turns of the HR race track. Adaptability means your team can stay ahead of the technology curve by adopting that new software, ahead of the people curve by using new analytical methods AND ahead of the legal curve by adhering to the newest privacy guidelines. Adaptability means doing all this without having such changes flummox your team.
Why Adaptability Matters Now
The evolution of work demands that we constantly adapt to circumstances and expectations of workers. In order to win them over, satisfy them and ultimately retain them, HR teams must adjust course when necessary. Sometimes a small tweak in the steering wheel is enough to redirect your company’s trajectory.
New circumstances in work during the pandemic meant vast amounts of the working population tested their willingness to adapt. Many passed the test and plenty of organizations recognized their performances. However, these changes present new challenges in employee mental health, maintaining established trust, and ensuring those opting to work from home still get recognition for their hard work. They showed adaptability… will you?
4. HR Tech
Transform your HR tech stack for 2023 by adding technical aptitude to your team. Take the time to understand what is required to own all this software, customize and streamline the processes for your organization and ensure your team gets the maximum benefit out of it. Technical aptitude is a must in the 21st century HR team, so if you can’t learn it, hire it. This gal or guy will be the one that is proficient in technology, it’s languages, APIs, the cloud, integrations, interfaces, and data security. Finding good software that people love empowers them and should be made a priority.
Building the Right HR Techstack
Find software to measure your team's satisfaction, skill sets and skill gaps or you can forget about retaining them. Set them up for lifelong learning and career success with software that is user friendly and has a strong overview of their strengths and weaknesses, then link them directly to learning opportunities.
The way of the future is increasingly digital and to be honest, the now is digital, so that means this is a skill that you should fill, lickity split. In return, this skill will save your HR team tons of time by helping smooth over digital processes, ensure a great employee experience, plus data integrity and security, and give you peace of mind to prioritize other HR topics.
5. People Analytics
Large companies have incredible amounts of data — sometimes unknowingly — and so much of that data is increasingly about their own employees. A key part of the HR digital transformation process is doing something with it all, meaning collecting and sifting through it for transparency, harmonizing, and then analyzing the data. Better make sure that you have or develop an analytical mind on your team to avoid the pitfalls. Data-driven decision making in people analytics is not for the faint of heart, but easily manageable with the right tools.
Leveraging People Analytics
AI software as a service, to understand your team better, is growing year over year to provide user-friendly solutions and provides much needed transparency about the workforce; another example of HR catching up with the rest of the business pack. AI and ML utilized in other business spaces has finally found a home in the HR function, and the addition of an analytical skill will serve as a boon to create positive effects with all those actionable insights.
Ultimately, understanding and acting on people data will make work better for your colleagues and give you the chance to do something meaningful with data insights, like skyrocket employee satisfaction and retention. With treasure troves of people data in every aspect of work life, the future of work requires harnessing it as much as possible, staying ahead in terms of people-analytical know-how, and positively shaping the workstyle of all your employees. Avoid falling behind by ensuring that analytical skill is a part of your team.
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The last two years have expedited the many changes we are witnessing in the world of work. Many of the world’s most influential companies have taken note and are acting now. You and your team can play a key role in such actions, but that means HR will have to make room at the strategic table for itself. Kirstin Birner, Talent Manager at LEGO agrees.
“In order for HR to step out of the support function, we need to understand the business needs even more and we need to ramp up working with data, so we can take actions and measure success.”
2023 will be a big year for new work and HR departments around the world have an excellent opportunity to:
- Digitalize and streamline processes
- Flex the EVP muscle in the war for talent
- Actively shape the future of work with new concepts and data
Moreover, gone are the days when HR just served others in the company. Positioning your HR team as forward-facing and invested in pursuing the best for your company — including the bottom line — will set you up for greater sway. Enabling your crew to build these strong skills and the mental fortitude will show that you're serious about being that strategic partner. Digitalize to smooth out your processes to ensure smooth sailing. If you want to learn more about streamlining your software tech stack, check out this link here.
On the employee side, set up an attractive EVP that is more than free (nectar of the gods) coffee and offers true career transparency and advancement. With it, you will win your fair share in the war for talent. Lastly, look forward, in order to determine which future of work is best for your team and company, and most importantly, it’s employees.
With these top skills 2023 to face the three biggest challenges of the next year, your team’s well oiled machine is sure to compete for the top prize on the race track. Perhaps you will even win the greatest prize of all!
Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2021 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.