Client perspective - foresight
People make up the organisation, but we live by our clients. They are our mission – why we are here. As their supplier, we need to understand how we support them (business drivers) to generate business with their clients (generates value for their company/shareholders). To understand the client's future demands, HR must engage with a strategic client perspective and take a front seat approach (along with the CEO, Sales, Marketing etc.).
Yes, it is an HR responsibility to understand our clients and how their business environment changes. After all, HR is at the helm aligning the future organisational capability (and competencies accordingly). Our perspective should focus on the day after tomorrow;
Innovation: we need to be market drivers, not market driven (i.e. only adapting to 'change'), achieved through an innovation culture, new products, services, new ways or working and business models. HR is equally accountable for identifying opportunities, as HR drives capability 'design'.
Time: 30-40+% of HR Leadership time should be allocated to identifying (and adapting to, in time!) the future market opportunities and changes. Our perspective should be the day after tomorrow – and we can’t afford to fail.
Scope: to understand a shift in demand we need to study our clients' value chains, business drivers, their clients (and their clients), markets, suppliers, other exogenous variables – and influencing factors. This information will not be found internally (in an HR office) but externally.
I strongly argue that HR can’t stretch far enough to understand our clients' future business needs, and to design the future organisational capability accordingly before changes occur. The issue at hand is our clients' needs – not our own.
Data analytics: datas are important. HR need to apply predictive analytics to understand and make meaningful decisions, and to study local, continental and global market and economy trends and forecasts. HR simply needs to apply an extroverted approach.
Finance: It is always imperative for HR to have a good relationship with Finance, which holds valuable and historic business information, as well as analytical skills to support 'ROI' and various analysis.
Today, business drivers are increasingly disrupted. Surprisingly enough, (too) many continue as before. Did we 10 years ago foresee vinyl records reviving? When did camera manufacturers grasp that mobile phone cameras had taken over? What did Leica understand which made them team up with Huawei? And, going digital doesn't necessarily mean you make money.
It is all about foresight. HR need to understand the changes and adapt company capabilities accordingly - prior to changes occurring (the reverse Kodak Moment). If not, soon we will be out of business.