White Paper: How to Future-Proof HR

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”  Charles Darwin

Our world is rapidly evolving around us.  Mega trends such as shifting demographics, globalization, automation and artificial intelligence are drastically changing the business landscape and how we operate within it.  The HR industry is undeniably headed for some major changes in the years to come, but what exactly will these changes mean for HR professionals?

This article lays out how can HR professionals can survive and thrive in the changing times.

Becoming an HR Business Partner

HR needs to position the function as the core of the business to become the vehicle that enables strategy delivery through people and performance.  HR can use technology and data to their advantage to better serve and engage people and to deliver to senior management meaningful forecasts and evaluation linked to strategic business KPIs. There are some key skills that HR can adopt to become a well-rounded business partner.  These include; analytics, financial acumen (ROI calculation), marketing and communication skills (for employee experience and change management) as well as cultivating social and system intelligence (to foster high performance work cultures).


Innovation can also have a positive impact on how HR drives a business forward by developing and supporting an agile and innovation culture throughout the organization.  Innovation is not only limited to product and service creation and can be applied throughout the whole employee life-cycle.

If innovation best practice is applied to the HR function through new reward schemes, training, internal communication and recruitment, an organization can develop a real competitive advantage.  Moving forward, leadership approach and unique culture will be the key differentiators for companies and in this way, HR will be critical to creating this competitive advantage.

Corporate Social Responsibility 

HR together with Procurement and Finance can positively impact on the local SME sector by creating outsourcing and supply opportunities specifically for local SMEs.

Process Improvement

Process Improvement is also a big topic impacting the HR function moving forward.  This goes hand in hand with automation, cost improvement and creating services that better serve the employee – your internal customer. Employee Experience Management, where HR maps out the entire employee journey from the job search to the exit interview, aligns all functions to serve the employee more effectively along this journey and creates an employee brand that drives value to individual employees and the organizational performance (Employee Value Proposition “EVP”).  Advanced companies will also link their Employee Experience Management to business metrics such as customer engagement scores to measure impact and outcomes verses efforts and expenditure over time.

Employability and Career Succession

HR can also support graduates by creating fit-for-purpose internal graduate training programs to equip newcomers with skills not offered through formal education that are needed in the workplace.  This also allows the company to widen the candidate pool further. Vigorous succession planning, non-traditional career plans, alternative recruitment models, remote working and job sharing may also enable companies to create more opportunities for employment.

Capability Building

There is also a need to extend the existing workforce’s capabilities with business skills such as new media literacy, computable thinking, social intelligence, design thinking, and transdisciplinary skills. This is in addition to functional skills such as coaching, customer experience management, strategy execution, process improvement, agile project management and innovation management which will better equip leadership teams to steer a company into the new economic era of diversification and growth. In future, Learning and Development will move beyond the “one workshop” approach and instead build comprehensive and bespoke programs that run over 6-12 months.  Such programs will feature immersive learning modes such as on-the-job projects, industry peer-to-peer learning and performance coaching as well as just-in-time learning activities such as automated on-boarding, on demand in-house capability workshops and e-certifications.

If you require more insight on any of the above or have thoughts you would like to discuss around the concept, we are happy to share our international expertise.  Please contact us via [email protected] or call +968 9295 0987

About the Author 

Miriam Kugel is a versatile business consultant with over 15 years’ experience in Learning and Development, Innovation, People Experience and Change Management.  Internationally, she has headed various programs with Fortune 500 companies across Europe, South America and Asia. In Oman, as Client Director at New Metrics, she has designed and implemented cutting-edge customer experience, people engagement and bespoke learning programs for leading organisations in the Sultanate.

New Metrics Client Director Miriam Kugel