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10 roles for HR in 2014

28th, December 2013
0 Comment
by Tom Haak
in  Blog


In December 2012 I posted an article “13 roles for HR in 2013“. I hope you have been able to play some or most of these roles last year. For 2014 they are all still valid, but to keep you stretched I would like to add another 10.

  1. The Cleaner
    Your organization is full with things that are actually no longer needed. Forms. Processes. People. HR can play the role of the cleaner. Start with a clean sheet, and determine what you really need.
  2. The Gamer
    2014 will be the year of gamification. HR can benefit from gamification. There are many HR processes where gamification can help to improve effectiveness (and attractiveness): recruitment, selection, training, performance management.
  3. The Guardian of the Values
    Organizations become more and more values driven. In my organization the published values are integrity, client focus, collaboration and sustainability. Strong values, that need to be nourished and defended. HR leaders should be role models that through their behaviors show that they are living the values.
  4. The Story Teller
    2014 will also be the year of story telling. Through stories we can learn about the ambitions of the company. Through stories we can learn what living the values really means. Through stories we can connect the organization to the surrounding world. HR could be the master of story telling.
  5. The Challenger
    We need people who dare to challenge at the top. Group think is observed too often. The plans are always ambitious and will result in more growth. Nobody wants to be the party pooper. Nobody wants to be perceived as a blocker. This is where HR can show its independency, and challenge where others choose to be followers.
  6. The King of Sustainability
    Sustainability is still hot. HR can play a leading role. What can HR do to make the organization more sustainable? Get rid of lease cars. Hire people who live close to the office. Teach people how to manage virtual meetings in an effective way etc. etc.
  7. The Breaker
    Everything has to go fast fast fast. Tomorrow? No, today! Someone has to use the brakes (now and then), and that is a good role for HR. Not a blocker, but a breaker.
  8. The Innovator
    HR is not often associated with innovation. Alas. There is much room for renewal and innovation in HR. Are you happy with your selection methods? Are you happy with your development programs and the way you track progress? With your incentive program? Take a step back, put on your hat as innovator and see how you can come up with something new.
  9. The Risk Taker Does HR dare to take some risks? Do you advocate hiring the candidate that does not fit the profile, but brings something extra? Do you propose to give the senior position to the high potential who is not totally ready? Do you develop a training program that is different from what benchmark companies do? Are you happy to pay salaries below the median, because your company has so much else to offer?
  10. The Reflector There is never enough time for reflection. At the end of the annual team session people say “we should do this more often” but back in the office it does not happen. HR can promote reflection. Take daily time for personal reflection; take time for reflection at the beginning and end of your team sessions. Propose time for reflection in the management team, and not just at the end of the meeting when everybody wants to go home.


HR Trend Institute

The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organisations, and also in adjacent areas.
Tom has a keen interest in organisations and service providers that use trends in a creative and innovative way. He advices organisations on how to get more focus in their HR interventions and how use trends to increase the impact of HR.

He can be followed on Twitter (@tomwhaak and @hrtrendinst) and on Instagram @tomwhaak.
The HR Trend Institute also has a Pinterest page.

Tom Haak can conduct inspiring presentations and workshops about trends in HR and how organisations can benefit. The HR Trend Institute can also conduct the HR Trend Scan.

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About the Author: Tom Haak


Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.