CHRO Webinar: evolving roles and challenges unveiled in 2023 Sage Report


Sage report looks at the changing role of HR and what this means for future of the profession.

In a recent webinar hosted by CHRO South Africa in partnership with Sage, titled “The Changing Face of HR”, Sakeena Adams, senior people business partner for AMEA at Sage Africa and Middle East, and Gerhard Hartman, vice president for medium business at Sage Africa and Middle East, presented the key findings from Sage’s 2023 Changing Face of HR report. The report sheds light on the evolving landscape of HR and the challenges facing HR leaders in the rapidly changing world of work.

A shifting landscape

The survey, which included responses from over 1,000 HR leaders and C-suite executives, highlighted a significant transformation in the role of HR. A staggering 91 percent of respondents acknowledged that HR's role has dramatically changed over the past five years. Moreover, 40 percent of C-suite executives believe that these changes will continue to accelerate in the foreseeable future.

Balancing act

One of the primary challenges facing HR leaders today is striking a balance between the needs of employees and the demands of the business. HR professionals are expected to not only comprehend the business strategy but also align their HR strategies accordingly. This entails navigating the diverse employee experiences within five-generation workforces and developing the skills and capabilities necessary for the organisation’s medium- and long-term success.

Resilience amid challenges

The report revealed that the last few years have been exceptionally challenging for HR leaders. Ninety-one percent of respondents expressed that they have faced tough times, with 84 percent admitting to experiencing burnout. Alarmingly, 62 percent are contemplating leaving the HR profession due to the immense workload and stress. One executive aptly noted, “HR leaders told us they feel stressed, burnt out, and are considering leaving the profession. Ninety-five percent of HR leaders say working in HR is simply too much work and stress.” However, despite these challenges, 57 percent of HR leaders expressed that they take great pleasure in their HR roles.

Pandemic-induced shifts

The Covid-19 pandemic and seismic changes in the workplace have significantly influenced the way HR operates. As per the report, 91 percent of HR and C-suite leaders agree that HR’s role has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past five years. HR has transitioned from an operational function to a strategic one, with responsibilities spanning consulting, recruitment, negotiations, and more.

Embracing change

One executive stressed that HR has no choice but to adapt and be part of the ongoing transformation. To achieve this, continuous education and staying informed about industry changes are imperative. HR professionals must anticipate and respond to transformations as effectively as possible.

According to the report, 92 percent of C-suite executives believe that a major challenge to HR’s success lies in the perceived value of HR within the organisation. HR professionals need to have more confidence and develop essential soft skills, such as understanding and empathy, to become key contributors to a company’s success.

Skills development

HR plays a critical role in skill development within organisations, as employees cannot achieve everything on their own. Leaders within the HR function can serve as mentors, coaches, and provide essential analytical insights and financial data understanding, further enhancing their value within the organisation.

In conclusion, the webinar attendees unanimously agreed that HR professionals must exude confidence and leverage their empathy and soft skills to help organisations succeed in the ever-evolving business landscape.

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