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HR Departments Lacking in Technological Skills

The Josh Bersin Company, the world’s most trusted human capital advisory firm, announces the release of its long-awaited Systemic HR research.  

Over the last few years, organizations have faced complex “post-Industrial Age” challenges: designing hybrid work, building a skills meritocracy, modernizing the approach to hiring, and redesigning jobs, roles, and pay policies in a world of AI.  

In the social context, HR practitioners must also help their organizations deal with diversity and inclusion debates, improve productivity, and retain and engage a highly stressed workforce.  

Amid these pressures, more than two-thirds of HR teams are primarily administrative functions. The Systemic HR Initiative, including a new study, The Definitive Guide to Human Resources: Systemic HR from The Josh Bersin Company, is designed to help CHROs address these issues.  

The new Systemic HR research, developed in partnership with LinkedIn, shows how HR teams can instead operate in a coordinated, problem-solving way, moving beyond the “HR as a service center” model of the 1980s. The research identifies that 68% of HR organizations are far behind in their skills, operating models, and technologies and only 11% implement Systemic HR practices today.  

“Level 4” organizations that fully implement Systemic HR are 12 times more likely to accomplish high workforce productivity, seven times more likely to adapt to change, six times more likely to innovate effectively, and nine times more likely to engage and retain the workforce effectively than their peers. They are also twice as likely to exceed financial targets and to delight their customers.  

The study also highlights the fact that only 7% of companies have professional development for HR, only 17% have a process to prioritize resources to problems, and just 4% have a defined strategy for AI in HR. 

While many HR transformation projects focus on technology, the research finds that technology is an important but not sufficient tool for success. The most successful companies go far beyond implementing new systems and are dynamic, skills-based, consultive HR teams, organized in a way that brings the expertise together to drive transformation and growth in their companies.  

“As AI continues to usher in a new era of work, the role of the HR function is becoming more important than ever,” says Teuila Hanson, chief people officer of LinkedIn. “A major shift is happening across the HR industry, and this study is an invaluable resource to help talent leaders transform to a new, systemic model.”  

Companies that fully implement Systemic HR include LEGO, Mastercard, New York-Presbyterian, LinkedIn, IBM, Telstra, ING, REA Group, Advocate Health, SAP, and Unilever. The framework is made up of 18 practice areas organized into five key themes: HR strategy and measurement, the Systemic HR operating model, the Four R Framework, how to build full-stack HR capabilities among every member of an HR team, and a modern, employee-first HR technology architecture, leveraging AI, talent intelligence, and systemic people analytics.  

The Systemic HR Initiative is based on the largest-ever compiled HR data set. The two-year study included an analysis of 107 HR strategies and practices from over 1,000 companies across all industries and geographies, covering 26 million employees, and more than 50 in-depth interviews with CHROs of the world’s most successful companies.  

“As companies transform to new business models and work feverishly to take advantage of AI, HR teams have been left behind, hampered by outdated operating models and staff that are often improperly skilled or misaligned,” says Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company. “To help, our new Systemic HR Initiative will show every HR team, regardless of their current skill state, how to evolve into a highly skilled, consultative, value-add organization that will help their company evolve, transform, and grow.”  

Systemic HR research deliverables include a comprehensive research study, an organizational maturity model, Systemic HR Framework, specific action steps to move to Systemic HR, and a series of in-depth case studies describing the journey towards Systemic HR. More details are available in the full report. 

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