Systems and HR career opportunities

By Tony Hatton-Gore, Rewardhr Ltd

Last year I wrote about the importance of analytics and good systems in delivering value from reward. The scalability and relatively low costs of new cloud based HR systems mean that the capability to manage and report on data, and use it to support decision-making, is achievable by organisations of all sizes. This has implications for HR/reward careers. 

Dashboards and other reporting tools make meaningful business metrics accessible to both HR professionals and business managers.  HR has to be able to use these tools well to maintain influence and credibility. 

Since last year, in speaking with HR professionals in a range of sectors, I have observed an increasing emphasis on analytical skills and awareness of the need to back up the rationale for HR interventions with financial or other quantitative arguments.  I regard this as welcome and, if it is a real trend, then some reward professionals should have a head start compared with other specialist areas of HR.  For some in reward roles there is an opportunity to be more influential across HR as whole.

When organisations are setting up HRIS they may be bringing together for the first time all the practices relating to jobs, organisation structure, skills, performance, development and pay. Reward managers have traditionally designed and managed processes across the whole organisation (i.e. pay reviews), understanding the data, the costs and the behavioural implications of the range of potential outcomes. 

Sometimes the responsibility for HR systems and reward management are combined because reward is a heavy user of HR data.  The increasing awareness of analytics and the availability of systems that really meet the business needs of the HR function (rather than modules that are bolt-ons to financial systems) is likely to affect the demand for related skills.

Reward managers may have career broadening opportunities, if they can combine their analytic capability with the core skills to deliver strategic and integrated HR programmes. Reward management might prove to be a valuable step towards the HR Director role.   On the other hand I suspect that the competition for the job will be stronger because of the greater emphasis on analytics in all areas of HR. 

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  • I agree that the Reward Managers role is a valuable step towards the HR Director role. In my opinion Reward Managers are the strategic thinkers in HR. They look at Data across industries and make recommendations that have a direct impact on recruitment and retention.

  • Juliet, Thanks for you comment. I agree that reward is where "the rubber hits the road" in HR terms. It should draw on all the areas of HR to express the value of the employee's contribution.  But maybe I am biased?  Tony