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December 22, 2016updated 05 Jul 2022 10:23am

People Scientists and Chief People Officers – how great firms will keep their best staff in 2017

Five big changes in 2017 and beyond in how people, management and business interrelate

By James Nunns

There will be a shift from HR to People

Back in the 1990s the Personnel Department evolved into the HR department. In 2017 HR is now shifting to People in 2017 and beyond. This is far more than a name change, a transformation is taking place.  HR departments in progressive companies are shifting the focus to become people functions within organisations and paying more attention to the employee experience.

Advent of People Science 

People scientists do for people what Data Scientists do for customers.  The people in your company are your most valuable asset, and as employers you understand them through insightful analytics and make change.  This will require a different kind of person than found in ‘traditional HR’. The skillset to be a People Scientist is based on understanding analytics, data, systems and formulation of hypotheses.  According to Fairsail’s recent ‘17-70 research’, more than half of organisations admit to not understanding their people. This needs to change.

More CPOs vs HRDs

In line with the shift towards people businesses, we will see the executive function moving away from HR Director (HR Director) and towards the Chief People Officer (CPO) position. An increasing number of both traditional and next generation organisations understand continued success in the digital era is built on viewing humans as assets to the business rather than resources. The rise of the CPO and their measurable strategic impact is unstoppable.


Death of private cloud

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The majority of businesses have adopted the cloud, but it is simply not plausible for organisations, big or small, to trust private clouds anymore. The CEOs salary can’t be held securely on a data centre in Reading whether that’s in Berkshire or Pennsylvania.  There are few trusted public clouds globally; AWS, Microsoft Azure and Salesforce.  Other tech giants like IBM, HPE and Cisco have missed the boat (or got onto the boat and then disembarked rather quickly), Google has not yet demonstrated its capability.

Rise of voice recognition in busienss

People need to interact with business applications like they do with their apps and phones.  Conversations with technologies will become commonplace  in business. So for example by 2017 the advent of voice and other technologies will make it possible to tell an application: ‘Take next Tuesday off as holiday.’ You will be able to do this while travelling in your car and your holiday request will be automatically logged. You won’t even need to involve another human (whether in a car with you or back in the office!)

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