HR future leader of the month: Michele Lewis

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HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the function about what they think will shape it

What are your main concerns in HR today?

Traditional ways of working are no longer compatible with today’s lifestyles. Organisations must adapt and offer a greater level of flexibility.

There is also a need to focus on attracting, developing and retaining a wider variety of people. This is critical for growth and necessitates strategies that address issues such as women in leadership, diversity, engagement, reward, performance management and leadership development.

At Deloitte people want to work in a flexible and innovative environment that gives them a clear sense of purpose. To enable this, strong leadership and flexible HR practices are key. This allows us to move away from conventional ways of working and meet the needs of our increasingly diverse workforce. For HR this means understanding what our employees need and challenging the status quo.

What will become more important for HR over the next five years?

New technologies open up a host of opportunities to challenge how we build a high-performance HR function. From robotics through to real-time analytics and greater use of mobile technologies. These can all help to drive efficiency and scale in operations, deliver insight more quickly to the business, and improve the employee experience.

Also, as we start thinking about developing talent strategies for an increasingly global and complex workforce, a strong culture of leadership throughout the organisation is crucial.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

I think we will always be looking at how we can engage and retain top talent. Importantly, we will always need to be great innovators to meet such challenges head on. The world of work and what people expect from their employer will continue to evolve and will in turn keep us all on our toes for decades to come.

What do you plan to do to change HR for the better?

For me that is about developing the next generation of business-focused, commercially-savvy and people-centric HR leaders within my team. It’s important that this next generation are coached, mentored and provided with a range of opportunities so they can form solid partnerships with the organisation. It’s also vital so that our HR function can continue to keep pace with the rest of the business.

Michele Lewis is senior HR business partner at Deloitte

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