In October, The Hot Spots Movement hosted its biggest and most popular Masterclass yet, on the Future of HR. The day began with a powerful presentation by Lynda Gratton in which she provided an overview of the core trends that are shaping the future of HR: creating simplicity, employee experience of HR practices and people analytics.

One of the key roles that is emerging for HR is managing the side effects of technology in the workplace – principally the information overload which means that employees are struggling to find the focus they need.

Workers today are typically interrupted every few minutes by emails, phone calls and social alerts and this is affecting their ability to perform the function that sets them apart from machines: thinking.

As well as reducing the burden created by technology, HR departments are also having to take on the task of simplifying the complex systems that make work onerous – many of which are HR processes in the first place. Processes such as performance management can cost large organisations millions of working hours a year, and yet are often still ineffective. It is down to HR to help redesign these processes, eliminating complexity and enhancing both productivity and performance.

“If you don’t become data savvy, other functions start answering your questions – and that’s a bad place to be.” This quote from Wharton Professor, Peter Capelli, certainly caught our attention at the Masterclass. We explored HR’s role in People Analytics, and the imperative for HR teams to understand the organisation’s people with the same precision as Marketing teams understand the company’s customers. The participating companies were keen to delve deeper into this topic and we’ll be launching cross-industry focus groups to ensure Consortium members can step confidently into this role (please contact Tina Schneidermann ( to find out more.

A growing pressure on HR is diversity in the workforce – not just gender and cultural diversity, but a diversity of working arrangements and career preferences, too. HR is having to redefine how organisations engage with employees to take into account different life stages, freelancers and contractors and people who want to progress in a manner that is more exploratory than linear.

The past few years have seen a huge surge in regulation across many industries, and this is another element that is shaping the future of HR. When we launched the Future of Work Research Consortium, compliance didn’t even figure among the topics our members wished to cover and now it is near the top of the list.

The aim of our Masterclass was to help members think about ways of adapting to these trends and rising to the challenges they create through enhanced employee experience, simplified processes and the use of analytics. To facilitate this, Lynda encouraged attendees to stop focusing on how HR is structured and start thinking about how they can redesign HR practices to accommodate these new methods and requirements. It was an informative and inspirational session and we received great feedback from attendees who left feeling energised and ready to take on their new challenges. Here at Somerset House, of course, we’re already planning the next Masterclass – which we’ll be sharing more information about soon.

Are these themes that interest you? Then it’s time your organisation joined FoW. Contact to learn more.


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