What does the future of HR look like: Elanie Kruger, Tsebo Solutions Group

As organisations increasingly set strategies and objectives for growth and profitability, HR will play a more active and not reactive role in the future.

Although there seems to be recognition that HR is of the utmost value to organisations, there is still a stigma that its function is limited to making sure that employees adhere to policy. But the consensus at the HR Indaba is that the future of HR is shaping up to be dramatically different than its current look and function. As organisations increasingly set strategies and objectives for growth and profitability, HR will play a more active and not reactive role in the future.


This is the view of Elanie Kruger, the group organisational effectiveness director at Tsebo Solutions Group, who added that HR will increasingly influence an organisation's decision-making process.  

“HR should be an extension of a business leader and role model what business stands for. HR is moving away from the stigma of being an administrative function but to being a key business function,” Elanie told the audience attending the HR Indaba on October 4. 

Arguably, employees are the most important asset of an organisation. And without committed and supportive employees, any strategy or objective embarked by an organisation has the potential to be stillborn.

“The future of HR will be around guiding and supporting leadership at the top compared with making employees adhere to company policy. It’s focused more on performance and consulting on business strategy,” she said. 

Data and technology
Mastering the use of data, technology and artificial intelligence will also disrupt the HR function. More HR professionals are recognising that it’s not about having generic data, analytics and technology at disposal, but how the tools can be used for better business decisions. 

After all, HR professionals already have exposure to data - related to recruitment, productivity, training, absenteeism, career progression, competency profiles and more - by the virtue of their line of work. 

“Data is exciting, but it is not going to be a driver of growth or change unless you know how to use it and understand how it will improve the business,” said Elanie. “You have to ask yourself why you need the data as it can be a nice to have. You must have good data, so you can do your analytics. You can’t have data for the sake of it.”

One of the important themes to come out of the HR Indaba was that industry professionals don’t have the ear of CEOs or the ability to engage with individuals at the helm of organisations. 

On how CEOs and HR professionals can better collaborate, the CEO of Tsebo Solutions Group Clive Smith said it’s about professionals taking risks and delivering financial rewards. 

“As an HR practitioner, you need to identify what is important to a CEO. Find initiatives that are important to CEOs that can create financial rewards,” said Clive. “Once you have created a financial reward, you can then build trust with a CEO and then you can discuss what is important to you.”

Tsebo Solutions Group employs 40, 000 people and has a presence in 27 countries in the rest of Africa and the Middle East. It has a strategy of having 100,000 employees and operating in more than 30 countries by 2025. Clive said the HR function will play a key role in achieving Tsebo Solutions Group’s strategy.