The threats and opportunities currently faced by HR departments are highlighted by the Institute for Employment Studies in its annual IES Perspectives on HR report, which aims to help HR professionals to move towards a more strategic outlook.
"The HR meta themes of personal development, organisational efficiency, organisational values and culture, leadership, etc remain constant," according to the IES. "The environment within which they present themselves varies."
It argues that its report underlines the importance of the external context in which HR operates and suggests that it should encourage HR professionals to understand their work in a holistic business-centred way rather than pursuing functional interests.
Director of HR Research and Consultancy at IES, Peter Reilly, said: "In last year's report we called for the HR function to step up a gear and get to grips with an ever-altering world, in order to be seen as a partner to the business, not simply a service function. This report re-emphasises that plea but also adds to it by demonstrating how issues that might be regarded as sitting outside HR, are areas where HR should be involved."
Among the topics covered in IES Perspectives on HR 2014 are: big data and HR analytics; crowdsourced leadership; zero-hour contracts; diversity at senior team and board level; and establishing a culture of openness.
The report is available to download from http://bit.ly/19HN8GA at a cost of £15.
From Paul Clarke, business writer for Croner