Navigating the Evolving HR Landscape: Diversity, Talent, and the Future Outlook

The HR landscape has witnessed changes and challenges in recent years, and professionals in the field have had to adapt and innovate to keep up with the evolving demands of talent management.

“Diversity has been a conversation for as long as we can remember, and it should be. Quitely, it’s demonstrating why it’s important to make sure employees are part of the process” — a compelling statement from Ellen McMahon, the Vice President of HR from AstraZeneca.

During rockbird media’s HR Leaders event, Ellen McMahon had a conversation with Stephanie Angelini Sr. VP and Head of HR from BioCryst Pharmaceutical regarding building a diverse pipeline of talent, especially with the evolving HR sphere.

Ellen emphasized the importance of understanding the organization’s culture and acceptance of diverse thinking and views. HR professionals must asses the headwinds and tailwinds associated with the culture and align talent strategies accordingly. It’s important to have a workforce strategic planning, which connects strategy, culture, capabilities, and talent under a common umbrella.

“Diversity means different things for different people” Ellen stated, suggesting that companies, especially those that are just beginning to implement DEI initiatives should first establish a common understanding of what diversity means in their specific context and how it can contribute to the business. 

HR professionals should ensure that the top leaders understand and support the diversity initiative thus, it should have a clear value proposition. Leader accountability is one of the key factors in driving progress.

It is the role of HR to educate leaders about principles and approaches to foster development. Therefore, it is important to engage in coaching conversations.  She suggested facilitating small group discussions where leaders learn from each other and encourage a lifelong learning ambition among managers.

Furthermore, HR professionals should set expectations regarding diversity standards and encourage both employees and leaders to take accountability in delivering them. Addressing the employer’s reputation, resolving issues, and keeping the qualitative and quantitative pulse on metrics, culture, engagement, and feedback are vital in attracting, retaining, and developing diverse talent effectively.

“Soul over process” resonated deeply with Ellen. She believes that leading with empathy and from the heart is pivotal when advocating for meaningful change.

In people’s management, being comfortable having conversations with talents is crucial.  HR practitioners must take into account the role digital plays in the future of business operations. 

Ellen looked back on the situation during the emergence of the pandemic. She stated, “Don’t let the crisis go to waste”, focusing on digital agenda and technology— making it the center of HR strategies. Through this, HR practitioners can streamline their practices and make evidence-based decisions supported by data and insights. 

“HR organizations should focus on the future,” said Ellen. This approach allows HR practitioners to anticipate and adapt to changes in the business environment including evolving workforce dynamics, emerging technologies, and shifting market conditions. Moreover, focusing on the future encourages HR to embrace innovation and stay ahead of industry trends.

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About Rockbird Media

Rockbird media is an international business media company that produces B2B events and offers business solutions.