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HR Director’s job : evolution in progress

The HR Director’s job is undergoing a major change. Its role, which used to be technical and administrative, is becoming more and more strategic. Faced with an economy in full digital transformation, the HR must have a better understanding of business issues. The anticipation of skills, the development of talents and internal mobility are at the heart of these concerns. Our article offers an overview of a job in motion.

The HR Director’s job : a true business partner


Reporting to the general management, the HR is a real conductor who manages all the HR services of a company. These services include recruitment, payroll, training and internal mobility. His/her mission is to define the company’s HR strategy according to its objectives and needs. They must also manage HR teams and implement HR projects with them.

In its job description, APEC provides a very good analysis of the evolution of the HR Director’s job (1). The site indicates that the role of the HR goes beyond personnel administration. He/she now manages human capital, which plays a key role in the company’s competitiveness. To face all these challenges, the HR has become a real business partner within the management committee. This means that he must :

Participate in the company’s strategy
Adapt human resources management to the diversity of profiles and cultures that evolve within the company;
Anticipate market changes that have an impact on the company’s organization and particularly on the business lines;
To be as close as possible to the operational professions in order to know the company’s professions and their evolution;
Measure the ROI of its actions.
(1) Source: Human Resources Director – https://www.apec.fr/tous-nos-metiers/ressources-humaines/directeur-des-ressources-humaines.html

HR Director’s job : an opening towards new profiles?


The evolution of the HR’s missions has repercussions on the expected skills and on the profiles sought. According to the APEC website: “The HR must now have a financial culture and be able to measure the added value of human capital. We are seeing more and more diversification in the profiles recruited. The HR does not necessarily come from a human resources background, but may come from a functional (financial) or operational (sales, production) department. “Thus, new employees can apply for this position in the company, which encourages internal mobility and the acquisition of new skills, which in turn are at the heart of the company’s HR challenges.

HR Director’s job : its key missions


Currently, the main concerns of the HR are the following:

Encouraging internal mobility


81% (2) of HRs see it as a strategic issue. Today, faced with the reduction of external recruitment plans, internal mobility is accelerating and becoming a major concern for HRs. Internal mobility consists of moving employees already working for the company to positions for which they were not initially recruited. It allows employees’ career paths to be adjusted in order to respond to the company’s economic and strategic development. Encouraging internal mobility allows the company to draw the skills it needs directly from existing employees without going through a recruitment agency. This reduces the costs associated with the search and the time spent prospecting. Internal mobility is also a means of retaining and engaging employees, which are two major concerns of HR departments. By moving them to new jobs or new responsibilities, employees feel recognized and taken into consideration by the company.

Developing talent and anticipating tomorrow’s skills


The jobs that will be decisive tomorrow do not yet exist today. However, companies are obliged to anticipate as much as possible the skills they will need to remain competitive on their market. On the one hand, employees’ skills are becoming more and more “perishable” as a result of the accelerated digitalization of the economy. As a result, employees are increasingly demanding to develop their knowledge: “93% of the people surveyed in the “Generation Y and Career” study consider that skills development occupies an integral place in their professional life (3). “

Thus, HRs are faced with a double challenge. They must maintain the employability of employees and give them the means to acquire new skills. When companies can develop skills internally, they are no longer obliged to seek them externally. The company wins on two levels. Recruiting has a cost and developing skills internally reduces it. Finally, there are shortages of profiles in various professions, such as data analysts, for example. In the past, when companies did not have the skills in-house, they would go out and find them on the market.

Today, the HR department must increasingly encourage the acquisition of these skills internally with adequate training plans to meet the company’s needs. This is a real paradigm shift for the company, but also for the HR profession.

Attracting talent


The interest of the position alone is no longer enough to attract the right candidates. From now on, the candidate needs to quickly understand who you are and what you promise before applying. To do this, the company must be able to make your culture, your values and your vision accessible and to bring meaning to the proposed mission. A well-prepared employer brand will allow you to do this. This work is essential to help candidates project themselves in your company. The HR director must define the employer brand strategy with management. He/she must ensure that this strategy is consistently applied to all of the company’s internal and external communication tools (career site, job offers, institutional campaigns, etc.) and that it is integrated into the managers’ discourse, particularly during interviews.

Responding to social issues


According to APEC (4): “The HR is now faced with a certain number of social issues (new expectations of employees at work, etc.) in addition to regulatory changes affecting labor relations. It is up to the HR to implement the necessary policies on issues such as diversity (gender equality, seniors, disabilities, etc.), prevention of psychosocial risks, etc., all of which are part of the company’s social responsibility approach. “The HR must also deal with the new expectations of employees, which have profoundly changed in 2020, as we mentioned in our article on post-confinement. HRs will be faced with multiple questions in 2021!


(1) ManpowerGroup study: “Generation Y and careers: vision to 2020” conducted with 19,000 young people from Generation Y in 25 countries

(2) 2017 HR Online study

(3) ManpowerGroup study: “Generation Y and Careers: Vision 2020” conducted with 19,000 Gen Yers in 25 countries

(4) Source: Human Resources Director – https://www.apec.fr/tous-nos-metiers/ressources-humaines/directeur-des-ressources-humaines.html

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