Karen Moran headshot
Karen Moran
Reading time: 6 minutes
Share this post:

So much is demanded of HR and yet we continue to do things in quite traditional ways. We’ve summarised the four key skills that we in HR need for the future, in order to thrive in this disrupted world.  

1. Insight:

Insight is more than just numbers. This is about using a range of techniques to provide understanding about how people behave and why. For instance, using observation to watch how people do their jobs and using HR tools or focus groups and pulse surveys to understand what they need and want.

The HR person of the future will use this insight to understand and build the motivations, capabilities and impact of their leaders. For example, at Sky they encourage leaders to conduct self-assessments and build on this self-awareness to understand what their motivations are for being a leader in the first place and understanding what they might need to change about their approach.

The HR person of the future will also use this insight to develop employee persona to better understand their capabilities, how they feel and to identify their needs and wants. For example, at Heineken they ‘listen’ to how their employees are feeling through their monthly emotions questionnaire in which employees have to answer how they are feeling and try to explain what provokes those feelings. Information is processed in an agile way and, in less than 72 hours, the Board of Directors start working to provide the most adequate solutions.

2. Facilitation:

Great facilitation skills in HR is about relying less on process and more about creating an environment where you can help change behaviour and build skills. Some of the ways in which you can do this are by using your facilitation skills to help leaders create a more inclusive culture, build their confidence to tackle difficult issues and help them have great conversations with their people.  

For example, at Western Union they created clusters of senior managers and got them together one hour a month to “talk talent”. They discussed people moves and acted as a learning set to help them get better at career conversations.

3. Influence:

We can build our influence in HR through a number of different ways, such as:

  • Being passionate and knowledgeable about our business
  • Being well networked and bringing outside intelligence in
  • Being seen as someone who has bags of common sense
  • Knowing our leaders’ motivations to change (Insight)
  • Building compelling arguments – but also building great narratives

4. Design

Bring in aspects of product design into HR to help ensure that your HR products are based on data and insight. Some of the ways in which you can do this is by building in user centred design, co-creating HR products with your leaders and employees, working in sprints, developing minimum viable products and designing an overall employee experience that aligns with your brand and business strategy.  

For example, at the Co-op everything they do is based around the ‘colleague voice’ which gathers genuine insights about what their people want, how the new products will be used and how it will increase their productivity.  

Take our free HR Diagnostic to find out how you shape up against the four key skills and get some practical tips on how to develop them. Interested in keeping up to date with similar content? Check out the Disruptive HR Club for more details. 

Join the Disruptive HR Club for free and enjoy a taste of our exclusive blogs, podcasts, videos, and live events

Recent Posts


Lessons from a scandal: Should bonuses be paid for ‘just doing the right thing’?

The scandal of the Post Office, where managers are being incentivised to help with the public inquiry, begs the question - should we ever pay bonuses just 'for doing the right thing'?


Health and Wellbeing: Less Zoom Yoga, More Trust

We should question whether our healthy snacks and instructive posters are addressing the real barriers to feeling well. Should HR be the caring parent and provide the right kinds of food, exhortations and education? Or should we look to reduce the things that create the stress in the first place?


How to help your leaders be more curious

Being curious is good for us and our organisations, but some of us do it less than others. This blog explores how we can help leaders to show more curiosity.