How can HR survive and thrive through disruption?


There are a number of challenges HR professionals are facing in 2018, according to Natalie Thomson, HR director – ANZ at Merlin Entertainment.

“For me, the variety of challenge makes the career I’ve chosen so varied and so exciting. If I was to choose one, it would have to be disruption,” said Thomson.

“Disruption exists in most industries and most businesses these days, and is critical in order for businesses to stay ahead or even actually just keep up in their industries.”

Thomson said the challenge this creates for HR professionals is being able to offer your team members an “element of stability” through a period of disruption.

“It’s about being agile enough and giving your team members a level of comfort and assurance that they’ll be consistent,” she said.

In terms of addressing this, Thomson suggests to look at the business and understand what it is that is consistent that you can offer your team members.

“Generally, I would suggest that this stability that you’re able to offer your team members links to your business values and links to what makes people want to work for you as an employer.”

Thomson added that technology has greatly impacted her role over the past few years and that HR should be aware of misconceptions around automation.

“Technology really forces us to have a think about how we approach our roles and change the way we approach our roles,” said Thomson.

For Thomson, one of the age – old challenges in HR and for any business is around communication.

“I see a lot of good practices out there, but I’m yet to find a business who has really nailed communication with their team members,” she said.

“Technology, I believe, has assisted us in this space and will continue to assist in this space. However, as technology becomes stronger, team members’ expectations around how we communicate also grows.

Thomson said the other area technology’s going to have a huge impact on is the “inevitable area of automation”.

“I think there’s maybe a slight misconception out there that automation is mainly going to impact blue collar workers or front line employees,” said Thomson.

“I actually think the impact from a white collar perspective is going to be quite big as well.

“It’s about having the right attitude and the right approach to be optimal within the business and industry that you’re in.”

Thomson added that the time has come to take a more strategic and creative approach to HR.

“It’s about understanding as we move further away from processing, what value we can add to a business and how we can ensure we can change, shift and adapt to ensure we continue to add value to our businesses moving forward.”


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