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Veera Marshall


Strategic HR Partner

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The future of HR: three things companies must do to attract and retain top talent


As more and more elements of our everyday working lives become automated, nurturing the ‘human’ element in the workplace has become increasingly important.

The way we work has changed, putting a greater emphasis on how organisations interact with their employees than ever before.

With rapid developments in technology such as AI, and an increase in the numbers of millennials in the workforce, managers now need to be aware of the crucial ‘human’ element of HR.

With an eye to the most significant trends dictating the future of HR, here are three things companies should be in 2019 and beyond. 

Make it personal

The modern workforce is all about individualisation. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach no longer works, as employees want their managers to look at their individual strengths and weaknesses and give them personalised development plans to further their career.

The requirement to develop better people managers has never been stronger and today. Having a manager who has great technical skills is now just one part of the job.

A good people manager needs to have strong leadership qualities, frequent quality conversations with employees, become a mentor for their people and develop their team to work better and smarter.

Regular catch-ups and opportunities to network with the senior leadership team will augment their skills development.

There is a tangible and growing expectation that this then ‘trickles down’ to the manager’s teams and line reports. I believe this system will be absolutely key for HR in terms of engagement and retention.

Strategise for success

Organisations with a clear talent strategy will benefit and perform well on business outcomes.

A recent research study conducted by Bersin for Deloitte highlighted the challenges in understanding, creating and leveraging a robust talent strategy.

We’re almost certainly going to see organisations across the board commit to a proper review of their current business strategy and goals as a starting point to assess their talent needs for the short and long term.

The rapid proliferation of helpful technology has made the way in which HR can manage and enable the workforce almost unrecognisable from 20 years ago.

In my experience, having a dedicated HR business partner to support these initiatives has been a massive advantage. They will look at where the business is geared to go in the next three to five years, and produce a list of talent needs required to tread that path.

Depending on the skills and the availability internally, appropriate strategies will be put into place to either upskill current talent, or attract new talent, as well as developing them through robust performance management and training and then retaining them with benefits, learning opportunities and engagement initiatives.

Incorporating a learning culture as part of the talent management strategy with succession planning is the way forward.

Make proper use of AI

The emphasis should be on streamlining HR with AI. There are many operational areas of HR that can benefit from AI to increase their effectiveness and strengthen productivity.

In my opinion, companies should really focus on streamlining internal workflow processes, identifying data opportunities and increasing productivity by freeing up the HR team to do what they do best- being human and creating a connection with the right talent.

At Halian, for example, we’ve implemented some of the best tools in the areas of recruitment (sourcing the best talent, web-onboarding), day-to-day administration (payroll, leave management and expenses) and talent management (performance appraisals, surveys, learning).

AI doesn’t replace roles per se, but removes tasks that limit a human’s effectiveness in adding value. In the next five years I believe we’ll see a step change here.

The rapid proliferation of helpful technology has made the way in which HR can manage and enable the workforce almost unrecognisable from 20 years ago.

Now, combining artificial intelligence with the best of human knowledge and experience, organisations will be able to offer tailored employee experiences for the individual and more clearly understand their talent needs for the near-future, bringing HR truly to the top table.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read Transformational HR: why we need a people-centred approach

Author Profile Picture
Veera Marshall

Strategic HR Partner

Read more from Veera Marshall

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