8 new HR Roles For a Digital Age

New HR Roles

What skills will HR professionals need in the near future?
In order to answer this question, it makes sense to look at the new roles that arise within HR as a result of digitisation and new technology. The speed of change brings unique challenges to the HR function, which can only be met if HR succeeds in reinventing itself.


Big data, AI, blockchain, security, cloud computing, VR, AR, IoT and all the new technology that will come have an impact on organisations. Not only should new skills be developed (or attracted) in these areas, but as an HR professional you will also need to understand what this technology means and what impact it could have on your company or team.

We deliberately use the word ‘strategyzer’ instead of ‘strategist’ to emphasize the active form of this role. After all, a long erm, fixed is outdated. As a manager, you will regularly have to adjust your strategy and use tools that support these rapid adjustments, such as the use of the Business Model Canvas.

As an HR professional, you will have to be able to think along about business models and how digital solutions can be used to improve the productivity of the organisation.


If you want to play a role in the digital transformation of your organisation and place HR high on the agenda, the role of designer will be crucial. After all, digitisation means something different for every organisation and will be used differently, in other words it does not yet exist in concrete terms for your company. There is not just any copy paste of another company possible.

As an organisation, you will have to design it yourself on the basis of the vision and strategy. The organisation will have to be redesigned, the processes will have to be designed with the customer and the employee in mind, the office environment will have to be adapted to the new needs and the culture will have to be more innovative.

Creating an employee experience and a customer experience is your top priority as a designer. Whether you can really understand and incorporate the needs of the employee and customer into your solutions will determine the success of your transformation. Design Thinking skills thus become crucial for HR.


There is a multitude of blogs, books, training, methods and tools available online and offline. The HR curator will have to be a filter for employees in order to extract and offer relevant content.

The same is true for the multitude of HR-software available on the market. Who offers what and what are the best solutions for us is a question that every HR curator asks himself.

He or she is also the curator of the development of employees. As a designer, the HR professional will create a good experience in talent development for the employee, after which the HR curator will ensure that the program is continuously fed and not just a one-time experience. Lifelong learning is already partly put into practice in this way.


Communication is often an important part of the HR activities. However, the role of HR often stops here. Instead of just communicating the vision, strategy and changes, the HR professional will also have to take on the role of co-creator if he wants to keep a seat on the board of directors.

Creating support within an organisation is one of the most difficult tasks managers have. HR can play an important role in this by setting up and supervising the process of co-creation, i.e. letting employees think along and letting them lead solutions to implementation. If HR is not fast, this important role is picked up by others within the organisation. And let’s be honest, those processes give the most human energy -the core of the motivation of many HR people. It would be a shame not to fulfil this role.


Agile, a big buzz word, but an important mindset and attitude in the digital age. After all, we need innovation in the way that people want to be supported in their work and the role that HR can play in this is.

The role of agilist means on the one hand knowing how to deal with your own work in a more agile way, but also concretely supporting teams in your organisation to work more autonomously. There will be a greater need to anticipate change by studying the environment and generating feedback and taking action, rather than devising a complete change management plan that is already outdated before it is ready.

This starts with embracing the philosophy and experimenting with new ways of working. After that, it is important to take a close look at the HR tools, such as annual plans, appraisal interviews, job descriptions, recruitment, training, etc. These tools must support autonomous teams, which often means that innovating the processes and tools is needed.


Insights from behavioural economics and other evidence-based practices form the basis of many new HR strategies. More and more HR programmes, like all business programmes, will have to be tested and validated.

To take this step, HR will have to take on the role of behaviourist, or at least seek advice and insights from scientific research into behaviour and psychology. Data-driven HR is the basis on which the HR-behaviorist bases his or her guidance of teams and people within the organisation.

In order to be truly effective, the HR professional will also draw his own learnings from ‘experiments’ that take place in the organisation. Not all interventions are successful and on the other hand some are simple ánd very impactful. Analyzing these differences and drawing lessons from them is the task of the HR-behaviorist, as well as encouraging HR colleagues to carry out small (realistic) experiments, rather than to develop complete plans that should change the entire organisation at once, the so called Big Bang.

Two behavioral psychologists meet on the street. One says to the other:’Hello, you feel good; how do I feel?


The HR professional not only has to connect with the employees by being present (and not in a separate department), but also has the role of linking people with each other, internally and externally. After all, the strength of an organisation lies in its network.

The connector has tools such as LunchPool (which conveniently invites people for lunch at 4) or organises internal Ted-Talks to connect people and ideas.

The HR connector also regularly goes outside and networks, not only within the world of HR, but also in other functional areas in order to learn from others. The connector knows better than anyone that the best ideas arise at the intersection of areas that at first glance are not related.


HR needs a portion of marketing within its activities.

​For years, marketers have been using Design Thinking tools such as customer journey mapping, touchpoint analysis and personas to better understand their customers and devise better solutions. HR can use the same methods for employees.

The HR marketer identifies what most inspires and motivates people in their daily work and then looks for creative ways to stimulate this among more people in the company. The HR marketer works closely with the HR designer and behaviorist to help create an exciting work environment.

Employer Branding no longer really fits the glove when it comes to creating a working environment in which employees want to come and work and not just a place where they need to come and work. A good employer branding should be the result of a good employee experience, which is then authentically put into the market.

I’m a Behavioral Change Designer @ the Change Designers (.eu). I write about #OrganisationalChange #EX #CX #UserAdoption #essentialism #Nederlandsefictie

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store