Employing people

How to build the perfect HR team: 6 essential tips

Is it possible to build the perfect HR team? We explore six tips to build the perfect team in today’s changing world of work.

Diner owners inputting receipts at laptop

The 1927 New York Yankees. The Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles. Charlie’s Angels.

History and media are rich with examples of what we
might call ‘perfect’ teams.

As HR and People leaders, we want to know the secret
to building the perfect team. It can help get the most out of our employees,
make them feel happier at work and improve retention and productivity.

But there’s an even more pressing need for great teams
right now – and specifically within HR.

Goodbye HR, hello People

HR is changing. As
our research report, ‘The changing face of HR’, shows, the changes on
the horizon over the next three years are significant. To cope with this, HR
needs to move away from its traditional model to a more people-focused approach.

Where once it was once a back-office function, HR and
People departments are now strategic business partners delivering bottom-line
value for organizations. Therefore, along with the traditional skills required,
HR and People professionals also need to be a team of experts with the
abilities to:

  • think and plan
  • align HR goals
    with business goals
  • drive change
    while keeping morale high
  • evaluate, design,
    implement and adjust reward systems that help meet business goals
  • use data-driven
    approaches and insights to analyze people patterns
  • identify and
    predict employment trends
  • help create a
    flourishing company environment
  • build great
    employee experiences to improve engagement and productivity

Do you have the right people to meet these challenges?

Some of the skills outlined above will already be
covered within your HR and People team, but many of them will not.

HR and People Leaders told us the skills they felt would
be most important in three years are: communications; people analytics; creativity;
and technological abilities.

However, of these four critical skills, HR and People
leaders felt they had significant skills gaps in all but communications.

Unsurprisingly then, a massive 86% of HR and People
leaders said they believe HR skillsets need to change. So how to fill these
crucial gaps and create the perfect team?

1. Understand what the HR team of the future will look

HR is undergoing a revolution and organizations that are
People-focused are leading the charge. The perfect team will be better than ever
at understanding and analyzing their people so they can deliver excellent experiences
all the way through the employment cycle. People will be at the center of

2. Embrace change and agile working

The perfect HR and People team is agile and responsive.
This new agile way of working means teams are continuously learning and
adapting – they can get quicker feedback, implement changes faster and take
remedial action when it’s needed.

Working on cross-functional project teams is another
way to significantly improve productivity. However, agile working often
requires investment in technology…

3. Invest in technology

Cloud and mobile technologies are changing the way we
work. Yet while HR and People Leaders want to invest in new technology, 57%
told us they are held back due to resourcing restrictions.

In addition, 43% told us their organization won’t be
able to keep up with the changes in technology. This is having an impact on the
efficiency and agility of HR and People teams, and a knock-on effect on whole
organizations. A successful HR and People team is empowered to invest in
technology as well as employing people with the skills to get the best out of
the tech.

4. Use actionable insights to make smart decisions

When selecting the right people to create your perfect team, clever use of data can help you make and evaluate your people decisions – from hiring to choosing personalized rewards for your staff. In fact, our research found that 24% of People Leaders are already using AI to select the candidates who will be the best fit for the team.

However, as with tech, there needs to be investment in
data and people analytics, as well finding the right people who can get the
most out of the data.

5. Look beyond the norm

In these changing times, you need to curate your own
diverse teams that can respond to current and future business challenges. When
hiring, it’s important to look beyond traditional HR skills and find people
with something extra to offer.

For example, do you have the right mix of creatively
minded people and data-driven people? If not, are you able to find them –
either internally or externally?

6. Encourage upskilling

A great alternative to hiring new people to plug
creative, analytical or data gaps is upskilling. You equip your current team
with additional skills so they can step up. Rotational assignments are one
method of upskilling: team members get to spend time (often 3-6 months) in a
colleague’s role, and vice versa.

Finally, remember: there’s no such thing as perfect

There’s no such thing as perfect. However, that
doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim as high as possible. If you understand what’s
needed now and in the next few years across the HR and People landscape, you
should act as soon as possible.

Win senior buy-in to make the necessary changes and
investments, and you will soon be able to show the strategic value of your
happy, efficient and forward-thinking HR and People team.