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The Future of Human Resource Management: Challenges and Preparation

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization. 

By Courtney Haun
February 15, 2019

Human resource management is the strategic approach to effectively managing an organization’s workers so that they help the business gain a competitive advantage. HR is also another term commonly referred to. HR is designed to maximize employee performance in service of an employer’s strategic objectives. What does the future of HR look like and what does that mean for managers? Additionally, what are the issues organizations should be preparing for, and how will these issues impact future personnel offices? Let’s take a look.

The Future of HR: What to Prepare For

The future of HR will be met with a variety of challenges. Part of this future is continuing diversification in the workforce, as well as the services rendered by the organization to meet the needs of the population/constituents. At the same time, this will come with an administration’s responsibility to provide new management strategies. In recent years, this has become known as diversity management. This is the practice of addressing multiple lifestyles and personal characteristics within defined groups. Diversity management can be applied to all organizational types. Diversity in the workplace is a central issue for contemporary organizational management. One study provided evidence regarding the benefits to organizations who can effectively manage diversity, including higher organizational performance.

Supporting this claim further, a 2009 study by Pitts found that diversity management is strongly linked to both employee-group performance and overall job satisfaction. Other studies have revealed that the effect of diversity management on employees can be further explained by observing the organization’s inclusiveness and culture. The impact is influenced through the transformational leadership and administrators who are actually implementing diversity management skills.

Another broad HR challenge for organizations includes how leaders manage collaboration and contracting with other organizations. Networks can add value to organizations. However, doing so is not a simple process. Instead, administrators must be aware of the skill sets needed to successfully collaborate. Strategic thinking and strategic management are a couple of skills that help administrators collaborate ethically and effectively. When collaborating, intergovernmental relationships may form and extend organizational dynamics beyond an organization’s immediate circle. With that said, collaboration calls for administrators to be able to manage off of their isolated island. These capabilities should take into consideration the goals, missions and values of the other organizations that one is networking with.

In addition, including technology as a tool for communication, connection and evaluation holds the possibility of being an HR challenge. Although technology has the ability to help organizations improve and communicate more effectively, this also comes with the need for more regulations and monitoring. Technology can be a contingency factor within organizations. This contingency is on the organizational design relating to formalizations, centralizations, complexity, configuration, coordination, control and incentives. Technology could serve as a tool for transparency. However, it should be controlled and regulated by administrators.

Impact on Future Personnel Offices

If an office can make long-standing, proactive efforts internally and externally towards diversity management, cultural competency may be enhanced. In turn, this can lead to higher outcomes in the organization. When it comes to collaboration, this component can reap positive outcomes for an organization if managed appropriately. According to a 2004 study by Page, effective networks can lead to innovation, learning and a higher amount of accountability. Also, the increase in technology allows for new communication channels internally and externally. Personnel offices should be highly aware that technology can be used as a tool leading to improvement for the organization. However, technology comes at a monetary cost as well as a learning cost. For example, if an office decides to implement a new payment processing system, the organization has to pay for more than the new technology. It also needs to pay for the time employees take to learn how to correctly use the technology. If they do not correctly learn how to use the technology, this could lead to poorer outcomes.


By being aware of these coming changes in HR, offices can have a solid strategic plan and be prepared to mitigate issues as much as possible. The organization could prepare by creating a Gantt Chart with a timeline of projected changes, when they will occur and whose primary responsibility the change will be. Other offices may find it more beneficial to restructure their organizational chart. By doing so, the office could organize based on who could effective carry out the needed changes in the organization. It would be important for the office to consult their budget and financial plan to forecast what changes can be made in a given timeline. The future of HR is a bright one so long as offices are prepared for the challenges that come with it.

Courtney Haun, MPH
Ph.D. Student
Auburn University
[email protected]

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