By Claire West

The future generation of HR leaders and the shape of things to come in 20 years time will be shaped by the changes HR professionals make over the next two years. There is a requirement for the sector to strive towards an insight driven future, building capability, adaptability and agility into the offering going forward.

These claims were made by Jackie Orme, Chief Executive Officer of the CIPD, speaking at Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s first annual European HR Conference last week. With the central theme of the three day event looking to the ‘Future of HR’ Ms Orme’s opening speech started the debate.

Speaking on the challenges facing HR professionals over the next few years, Ms Orme explained that the sector will need to become more ambidextrous; “being able to cut costs while maintaining growth, having the ability to deal with today and tomorrow equally and being able to look both inside and outside an organisation.”

To create the next generation of HR leaders, Ms Orme also highlighted the necessary evolution of HR professionals to be not only business and organisational savvy but also context savvy; “from a predominantly service driven practice of the past to today’s process driven practice which has created effectiveness and consistency, HR now needs to move its focus towards insight”.

In conclusion, Ms Orme highlighted the need for inquisitive and creative HR leaders who are able to apply practices without boundaries, which can feed into both the strategic and future health of organisations going forward.

Looking to the future of HR within its own organisation, Donna Miller, European HR Director for Enterprise Rent-A-Car added;

“HR cannot afford to become complacent. With multiple, and at first glance, potentially conflicting, priorities for companies emerging out of recession, HR professionals have a vital role to play in balancing necessary cost efficiencies while raising performance and productivity to benefit the organisation as a whole.

“HR has to remain fluid - as new ideas, practices and strategies emerge (e.g. the use of social media) HR needs to be open to adopt these practices.

“Enterprise has always placed HR at the heart of business strategy. We are a customer service organisation and our success is built on the people who deliver this service to our customers. Going into 2011 it is now more important than ever for us to retain HR as a key business focus which provides not only process but insight that will help drive the future sustainable performance of the organisation.”