• Service: Advisory, Management Consulting
  • Type: Survey report
  • Date: 9/27/2012

Key insights from the research 

Key insights

Rethinking Human Resources in a Changing World examines the challenges facing the HR function and its future direction. These are the main findings.

HR is struggling with the challenges of managing a global, flexible workforce. The global workforce has become increasingly integrated across borders while growing more virtual and flexible.

These developments have made the retention of key talent and building workforces in new markets top priorities of HR departments. Only one in four respondents say that their HR department excels at sourcing and retaining key talent globally; supporting a virtual and flexible workforce; and contributing to the globalization of the business.

Finding ways to engage with workers will help address the challenges of a global, flexible and remote workforce. Insights from report interviewees suggest the need for improved employee engagement, fostered by creative solutions with new HR policies and approaches that have global application but local relevance.


Tim Payne

What we believe: Shifting focus to talent management strategies (MP3 508 KB) hear what KPMG HR professional Tim Payne believes about shifting focus to talent management strategies that are aligned with an organization’s value chain.


Technology has already transformed HR and data analytics will foster even more profound change. Sixty-nine percent of companies surveyed say that their HR function now provides web-based and/or mobile HR platforms (e.g., benefits, payroll), enabling HR to do basic, administrative work more efficiently, provide employees with flexible, tailored training, and create a positive culture for communication.

Data analytics - the most commonly cited area by respondents for IT investment in the next 3 years - will lead to the next technological leap for HR. For example, already 57 percent of respondents say that data analytics is helping to identify future talent gaps.

Interviewees explain that the proper application of analytics will enable a more robust understanding of employee-related needs and opportunities.


Paulette Welsing

What we believe: predictive workforce analytics (MP3 1 MB, 34sec.) hear what KPMG HR consulting professional Paulette Welsing believes about the potential for predictive workforce analytics to become as important to the CEO as the balance sheet and P&L statement.

Technological change and current workforce challenges should be catalysts for HR to transform itself into a strategic player. To reshape itself in this landscape of new challenges, emerging technologies, and heightened financial constraints, HR needs to:

  • Develop greater confidence, leadership and credibility, so that HR heads can earn a place in strategic conversations at the highest levels.
  • Use technology to shift from administrative matters towards more high-value activities.
  • Develop closer partnerships within the company, especially with line managers who will use technology-driven HR services to play a greater role in employee management.
  • Recast its strategy, beginning from a whole-business perspective and aligned with the needs of the entire company, not just the HR function.


Robert Bolton

What we believe: breaking HR's 15 year "doom loop" (MP3 1.7 MB, 55sec.) hear what KPMG HR consulting professional Robert Bolton believes about HR’s 15 year “doom loop” and how HR leaders can break free of it.



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