Peter Cheese took to the floor to discuss “megatrends” that are influencing changes in work and what capabilities HR needs to develop for the future. “This is the time to step up,” he told delegates.
Economic uncertainty, technology and changing workforce demographics are some of the megatrends workplaces are grappling with. Against this backdrop, productivity is at the heart of HR’s role, said Cheese. “Has your workforce got the right skills? Are they doing the right jobs? Can they be more productive?” he asked.
In his view, HR has to better support line managers and help them talk about wellbeing. “Stress is the biggest source of absenteeism. One in four will suffer mental health issues in their working lives. We need to train managers to understand how to support people.”
Key to this is HR’s ability to engage with the analytics agenda. “HR’s trouble is it brings too much PowerPoint and not enough Excel,” he said. “We can keep saying we need to do something but what are we going to do?”
For Cheese, analytics and meaningful data is not just an HR issue, but a business one as the real value of a business comes from people – how they work together. “We’ve said “This is the time for HR to step up” for years HR doesn’t speak the language of business, but we don’t have a common business language of HR.”