The Future of Human Resources

The role of human resources (HR) in business has transformed over decades alongside technological advancement and changes in management thinking. For some companies, activities that used to be processed with stacks of paperwork or automated using licensed software systems, are now moving to more flexible cloud-based tools and applications. Some aspects of HR can be digitized to increase efficiency, but HR professionals are still essential to the success of any company.


A shift in business perspectives and values has created the need for a new kind of HR. In fast-paced, dynamic industries driven by technology, companies have shifted away from hierarchal management. Instead, they have implemented empowered, team-centric structures that allow for greater flexibility and innovation. To best serve these shifts, HR must work to develop a strong internal network that enables engagement within and across teams. Instead of trying to automate talent practices, today’s HR initiatives should focus on cultivating employee engagement, teamwork, innovation, and collaboration.


of employees worldwide are not engaged, but companies with highly engaged workforces outperform others by 147 percent in earnings per share


The capabilities and priorities of HR technology are moving businesses away from traditional HR software to integrated talent tools based in the cloud. Popular options range from large vendors such as Oracle1 and SAP1 to platforms like Trinet1 that specialize in servicing small and mid-sized businesses. To make life at work better, companies want HR technology solutions that are engaging, useful, and productivity-oriented. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for automation in HR. Certain administrative responsibilities – especially tasks that don’t play a significant role in company culture like payroll, benefits, scheduling, leave requests, and time sheets – should be automated for efficiency.


of all companies are working on a new enterprise HR systems strategy and 46 percent are increasing budgets


Software and tools can help speed up processes, but they can’t replace certain human experiences that are integral in maintaining a well-functioning workforce. Technology companies and startups that are focused on speed, agility, and bringing products to market should make an effort to hold onto some of the ‘traditional’ functions of HR when streamlining their organizations.

  1. Acquiring and onboarding talent – Creating and fostering company culture begins with keeping a human element in recruitment and ramp-up. Businesses need HR staff to continuously grow a network of potential talent to tap into when there is a need
  2. One-on-one conversations, especially about sensitive issues – With increased emphasis on diversity and safeguards in the workplace, having a dedicated HR professional to coach individuals and mitigate uncomfortable situations is crucial
  3. Keeping employees engaged with feedback, recognition, and development – Without people behind the strategy and execution of these processes, companies run the risk of employees feeling dissatisfied or underdeveloped


With less time spent on administrative tasks, HR professionals have the opportunity to take on a more strategic role in their organization. Their focus will shift to solving workforce challenges that will add business value. Issues such as insufficient talent or high rates of turnover can take a toll on a company financially, making it integral for executives to include HR in strategic planning.

70 percent of CEOs want their head of HR to be a key player in strategic planning, but only 28 percent of CHROs/Heads of HR have primary ownership of the workforce planning strategy.


of CHROs/Heads of HR have primary ownership of the workforce planning strategy

Business leaders who recognize their employees as their greatest asset should view HR professionals as the workforce experts. HR practices must be reevaluated and adapted to today’s tools and organizational structures, but should not be fully automated. Instead, HR needs to implement strategies and technologies that enable engagement across networks of teams and promote company culture, innovation, and collaboration.


1The discussion of specific companies in this document is not an endorsement of nor does it suggest an affiliation with these companies.

Vista Equity Partners Management, LLC (“Vista”) is an SEC registered adviser. This document is intended to provide general information regarding Vista. Under no circumstances should the information provided be considered an offer to sell, or a solicitation to buy, any security. Such offer or solicitation may only be made pursuant to the current offering documents of the relevant Vista Fund. The information provided is strictly confidential and may not be reproduced or disseminated without the written consent of Vista. The past performance of previous Vista Funds and portfolio companies is not necessarily indicative of future results. ©2018 Vista

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