But from the higher level perspective, you’re right that the whole landscape is changing too. That changes everything we need to know about and everything we do. For a start, HR can only use digital technologies effectively when we understand the business we are operating in, and can therefore contextualise our work. We also need to understand people. This has always been important but digitalisation makes business more human as well as more technologically enabled. So we need to be on top of key insights from psychology, sociology and anthropology. And also cognitive neuroscience, behavioural economics, design thinking and other areas.
And as I noted earlier, digitalisation also brings previously siloed functions together, and HR benefits from developing a good understanding of other closely related areas. This includes areas which are often already seen as part of HR, including organisation design, organisation development, and culture change etc. But it also includes IT, finance, marketing, procurement, property and facilities management.
But all of this, demanding as it is, is still only a start. Digitalisation also increases the speed of change. The half life of knowledge is already only about three years, ie every three years half of what we need to know becomes out of date. That’s regardless of any desire to progress in our careers. So in all of these multiple fields, there is going to be an ever increasing amount of new insight to learn. So I’d better add the abilities to learn and unlearn, both quickly and effectively, to our list!
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