A new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has shed light on how technology and the rise of hybrid working are driving significant changes in the world of HR and the broader landscape of the “people profession.”

The report, titled “People Profession 2023: UK and Ireland,” surveyed 1,456 people professionals across the United Kingdom, uncovering the pivotal role HR experts play in shaping the future of work.

The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has asserted that HR professionals are at the forefront of driving change, particularly when it comes to implementing novel work structures and strategies.

The survey’s findings reveal a complex web of challenges and opportunities facing those in the people profession.

According to the report, advancing technology, including the integration of generative AI, is having a profound impact on people teams and the broader business landscape.

Over 55 percent of UK people professionals believe that evolving technology is transforming the way HR teams operate and deliver their services. Furthermore, 42 percent of respondents noted that their roles have evolved significantly due to the digital transformation, suggesting that job descriptions are adapting to accommodate the technological shift.

Hybrid working: yay or nay?

Hybrid working, a hallmark of the modern workplace, has introduced both opportunities and challenges. Approximately 41 percent of people professionals found it more challenging to support employees’ mental health and well-being in the hybrid work environment, while 40 percent felt that building organisational culture and values had become a more arduous task. These challenges reflect the changing dynamics of the work environment in an increasingly remote and flexible world.

However, the CIPD also emphasised the positive aspects of these transformations. The report underscores the critical role of people professionals in providing training for line managers on supporting hybrid teams and continually reviewing hybrid working policies and organisational culture. As organisations adapt to these new norms, HR professionals play a central role in facilitating these transitions.

Is wellbeing on the rise?

One notable finding is that, despite the challenges, wellbeing within the people profession itself is more positive than in previous years. In fact, 32 percent of people professionals reported that their jobs have a positive (or very positive) impact on their mental health, compared to 31 percent in 2022. Additionally, 20 percent noted that their jobs have had a positive (or very positive) impact on their physical health, compared to 16 percent in 2022.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, commented on the report, saying, “People professionals continue to play a pivotal role in every organisation, especially as they navigate the complex and changing world of work. Rapidly evolving technology and the continued adoption of hybrid and flexible working practices are critical areas of focus, and present significant opportunities for the profession to be at the heart of business and change, supporting people and organisations to adapt and thrive.”

Teams are central to work

Furthermore, Cheese highlighted the growing recognition of the strategic importance of people teams and the central role they play in the evolving world of work. The CIPD’s survey shows that people professionals are adapting, innovating, and learning faster than ever before.

The report also offers a comparative view of the state of the profession internationally. In Ireland, 42 percent of people professionals thought their roles were changing significantly due to advancing technology, though this percentage is lower than that of their international counterparts.

In the Middle East and North Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) respondents are more likely than their counterparts in Egypt and the UAE to state that their roles are changing significantly due to advancing technology (56%). Encouragingly, hybrid working has had a very positive impact on people outcomes in all three countries involved in the survey.

In Asia-Pacific, Australian people professionals are more likely to agree that digital change and technology are transforming people operations (77%). Conversely, HR practitioners in Singapore stated that supporting employee well-being and attracting and retaining talent is more challenging in a hybrid world (39% for both).

The report underlines the dynamic nature of the people profession and the pivotal role it plays in shaping the future of work in an ever-evolving, technologically driven landscape.

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.