Data detectives and home working facilitators among future HR roles

By Ashleigh Webber on 29 Jun 2020 | Personnel Today

HR data detective, work-from-home facilitator and algorithm bias auditor are among some of the new HR roles that are expected to emerge over the next decade, as technology continues to advance and the workplace is rethought.

Digital solutions company Cognizant has identified 21 HR jobs that would likely develop as the function shifts its focus towards wellbeing, organisational trust, creativity, data literacy and teams made up of both humans and machines.

Some of the new roles, such as “human-machine teaming managers” and “VR immersion counsellors” that Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work believed would emerge over the next 10 years, would be heavily driven by technological advancements, whereas others such as “distraction prevention coaches” and “chief purpose planner” would likely focus on the softer, more human side of the future workplace.

“As HR leaders are often consumed with handling impending disruption to jobs due to automation, changing workforce demographics or multi-generational workforces, they have less time to address the key issue of how these massive transformations will impact the organisation – and fundamentally change the role of HR professionals,” said Robert Hoyle Brown, vice president of the Cognizant Centre for the Future of Work.

“As workforces continue to change in their composition, habits and tools, HR departments need to adapt to their employees’ changing needs. This ultimately presents opportunities within the HR function itself to both reflect and then drive this progression.

“This is HR’s ’moment of truth’ – the opportunity to lead organisations in navigating the future of work and prepare workers for the next decade. Emerging roles such as the ones outlined in our report are integral to the future success of chief HR officers, their teams, and to driving employee engagement.”

The “HR data detective” role is likely to be required by organisations first, within the next five years. It says people in this role would be required to source, sift and investigate people data from multiple sources, including human capital management and HR information system data; employee surveys; time-tracking and learning management systems; benefits portals; compensation; and succession planning.

The second role Cognizant’s 21 HR Jobs of the Future report predicts will emerge is the “Work from home facilitator”, who would be required to oversee the integration and engagement of the remote workforces that many organisations would likely adopt following the Covid-19 pandemic. This would probably involve the use of virtual reality (VR) technology and these staff would be responsible for evaluating and introducing digital collaboration tools.

The third role organisations would need to recruit for is “Head of business behaviour” to look at how employees behave, paying particular attention to building trust, satisfaction and motivation. Again, this will be significantly data-led, but will involve cross-company collaboration and a focus on employee satisfaction and job personalisation.

The report concludes: “The future of work gets closer for most of us, every day. The time has come for a wide
renaissance among CHROs, to once again put people first by being a vanguard in the alignment of strategy to execution.

“The job of HR, today and in the future, will be to get that balance just right to catalyse the future of work for the companies they serve.”

The roles revealed in Cognizant’s 21 HR jobs of the future report include:

  1. Human-machine teaming manager
  2. Gig economy manager
  3. Algorithm bias auditor
  4. Chatbot and human facilitator
  5. HR data detective
  6. Strategic HR business continuity director
  7. Human bias officer
  8. Workplace environment architect
  9. Future of work leader
  10. WFH facilitator
  11. Second-act coach
  12. Uni4life coordinator
  13. Head of business behaviour
  14. Chief purpose planner
  15. Distraction prevention coach
  16. VR immersion counsellor
  17. Human network analyst
  18. Genetic diversity officer
  19. Employee enablement coach
  20. Director of wellbeing
  21. Chief climate response leader