July 20, 2023

HR Insights: Our opinion: HR staff as “jack-of-all-trades" - can it work?

The role of HR professionals has continuously expanded in recent years to increasingly encompass strategic areas such as people development, recruitment, innovation, demographics and also business development. New positions such as CHRO or Chief of People Management have seen the light of day. And technology, of course, has not stood still either. This begs the question of how to manage all this. In this article, we would like to share our opinion and expertise on how we see the future of HR.

The future of HR

The answer won't take long – because we'll give it to you straight away:

HR professionals must clearly define their roles and position themselves according to the given circumstances in the company. In any case, the “jack-of-all-trades" approach does not work. Or so inadequately that it practically doesn't count. Because it is simply not sustainable if HR is supposed to take over both strategic corporate development and, for example, legally secure specialisation in tax and social security issues.

The tasks for HR staff are simply becoming more and more. We already hear the objection: "Yes, but what about remedies through automation and AI?" - Even if the technology is getting better and better at the same time, it also has to be operated and managed.

No human being can do it alone. Clear separation therefore. Distribute administrative tasks to other departments and areas - such as the finance department, which is already a reality in some companies. Or outsource them to professionals. Because the all-important added value of any organisation is its employees. We all know that. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that with CHRO positions, the HR issue has finally arrived in management.

And also ON TOP, the possibilities of automation and artificial intelligence. For this reason alone, outsourcing this part of HR makes sense, because for many companies a whole new chapter is being opened here. And so internal HR can focus on what? That's right. People.

Corporate culture meets people management

In the course of technologisation and especially the advance of AI, only one question is relevant? Where do we position ourselves as humans? And the answer is also quite obvious: namely, where humans are strongest - in being human. That means feelings, empathy and our superpower: emotional intelligence.

We are great at shaping social interactions, forming communities, reflecting on ourselves and our environment, developing ideas and having a mind of our own as well as an opinion. In other words, classic areas of people management such as:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication
  • Mentoring
  • Giving & receiving feedback
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Conflict Resolution

Commonalities of CHROs & Chief People Officers

Apropos emotional intelligence. This is what CHROs & Chief People Officers need to be particularly good at. Brief digression on the two positions - The main difference between Chief People Officers and Chief Human Resources Officers is that the latter focus more on policy, while the former focus more on people and culture. Chief People Officers are responsible for developing a company's people strategy and ensuring that employees are happy, engaged and productive. They work hard to create a positive company culture that attracts and retains top talent.

But the delineation of competencies often becomes blurred. This is because there is often only one position held by the two – and it has to keep people, culture and therefore emotional intelligence in focus.


So to provide this focus, the full range of automation in HR is desirable. Here are some suggestions for areas that can be partially or fully automated:

  • Time recording and attendance management
  • Payroll and payroll accounting
  • Holiday and absence management
  • Onboarding processes (e.g. provision of documents, setting up IT access)
  • Management of employee data and files
  • Reporting and analysis (e.g. personnel statistics)
  • Benefits and perks administration
  • Administration of training and development
  • Application process management (e.g. capturing and sorting applications)
  • Compliance and document management (e.g. tracking deadlines and procedures)

As you can see, it goes deep into the technology realm at times. And artificial intelligence takes it up a notch.

Artificial intelligence

AI is, of course, the elephant in the room. Through AI automation, you can also improve numerous processes in recruiting. These include, among others:

Talent acquisition and recruitment: Scanning CVs helps to identify the best candidates.

Staff development: Individual learning paths can be used to track employees' progress.

Employee Engagement: Regular surveys and feedback mechanisms help measure and improve employee engagement.

Predictive analytics: Identify trends and make predictions, for example on turnover rates or the need for new hires.

Workforce planning: Optimal rosters that take into account both the needs of the business and the preferences of employees.

Performance management: Workforce performance can be assessed and improved through regular feedback and coaching.

Chatbots for HR: Chatbots that answer frequently asked questions from employees relieve the HR department.

Cultural fit and team composition: The cultural fit of applicants can be assessed and thus optimal teams can be put together.

Automated interviews: Pre-employment screenings can be conducted to ultimately select the best candidates for face-to-face interviews.

All this can easily keep the whole IT department busy. That's why it makes sense to divide up or outsource these tasks in an expedient and effective way. This way, our valued human resources staff can concentrate on the following.

Change Management & Corporate Culture

Even though AI and technology offer many benefits, it is about creating a positive company culture where employees feel valued and engaged. And that is something that AI and technology cannot replace. Sure, they can be programmed to do so, but authentic feelings only emerge in the combination of human to human.

Here, corporate culture is closely linked to change management and influences each other. Corporate culture, which defines the values, norms and behaviours in an organisation, can significantly influence the success or failure of change management initiatives. As our colleagues at Paltron have also noted, change management builds the bridge to exciting topics such as New Work, where people are placed even more at the centre.

Practically all areas come together here: Change management, New Work, talent management, organisational development, corporate culture and employee experience.

HR professionals have a critical role to play in fostering workforce engagement and talent development. And it is precisely this role that they should focus on. They are often the first point of contact for employees with questions or concerns, and they play a key role in shaping the culture of the organisation. They must therefore be able to respond to employees' needs and concerns and create an environment where they feel valued and supported. In the same way, spaces must be created that make change possible in the first place. And for this, in addition to the HR managers, the recruiting managers should also have a seat at the decision-makers' table.

And this, in our opinion, is a scenario that is not only fulfilling for all involved, but will also deliver the most effective and also sustainable results overall.

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