Why HR-Partners will be soon replaced by HR-Anticipators

“What is the new role of HR?” – “Being a Strategic Business Partner, of course!” – “Good heavens, NO! Wrong answer!!!” – The below post was written by: Dr. Zoltan Buzady 

Although my primary interest is leadership and personal development, the innovative usage of emerging new simulation technologies in management training and applications of serious gaming, often necessitate that I also explain to HRM and C-level decision makers: why objectively observed leadership behavioral described in large game-play data is not “just numbers”. In fact this Big Data of leadership skills constructed on non-intrusive observations can and should be used for strategic management purposes.

For the past decades strategy was about finding out about emerging new market opportunities and growth potentials, but now know that corporate core competencies matter too and in fact we now realize that appropriate motivation, employee engagement, leadership practice and personal development are the new tokens for sustainable organizations and businesses.

So the role of HRM remains dynamic too. So far most approaches of what HRM should be about described the “classic four” such possible positions such as: Administrative Expert, Change Agent, Employee Champion or Strategic Business Partner – In fact many Business School and HR program are still stuck with that approach – in Central Europe, many leading universities and service providers make a nice living on these concepts.

Instead I propose to be aware of the new emerging trends, such as changing expectations of employees and increasingly new business challenges, to which HR must find new solutions, again. I think the currently emerging new discussion around using big data, serious games, creativity and flow-based organizations, is very helpful to create new forms of people-centered leadership systems which ensure sustainable organizational growth and (!) a meaningful life of individuals working in and with the organization.

So what is the answer to the old, evergreen – the dilemma of how to find, integrate and foster future talent in organizations?

– “HR should be a strategic business partner!’ –  well that is the now outdated answer!

Instead, think of HR as an Anticipator!

An anticipator thinks of what might come next! Just think for a second – this means that HR Anticipators will be taking on the role of classic business planning and strategic management. But in leading organizations they are already now very well equipped to fulfill this task: they posses their requisite new management techniques and tools: scenario planning & design thinking, process management and leadership development systems, simulations and serious games, measurement and big data pool, and an overarching concept for sustainable business development based on employee-centered Flow-based management theory as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihayi, the world-famous co-founder of positive psychology, Flow-theory and his unique leadership development solutions, as described in the latest book Missing Link Discovered (2016)“.


To help the reader, follow manager and leaders I have compiled a checklist of orientation questions.

 Think about your workplace and your organization and evaluate the followings:

  1. HR provides reliable data that business partners use to make strategic talent decisions.
  2. The talent plans by HR are early-on linked to strategic planning.
  3. HR uses workforce analytics and non-intrusive skills evaluation of managers to guarantee future leadership talent pool.
  4. Creativity and innovation are core features of our organizational culture and thus foster individuals’ happiness and organizational growth and sustainability.
  5. Overall human capital or talent related challenges are well understood by HR and the wider organization.
  6. Leadership systems support to explore new personal and/or business opportunities and provide the systematic development of requisite skills at all levels.
  7. Genuine feedback is an operational concept at all levels, strategic, business performance and at inter-personal level.

Interpreting your core result:

1-2: HR-Follower: HR practices merely react to business needs and try to support business strategy as good as possible, talent development only when needed

3-5: HR-Partner: HR supports the strategy process by being a competitive and cooperative business partner, constantly adjusting between current and future talent needs

6-7: HR-Anticipator: HR really drives the strategy process by having well informed insights into emerging business opportunities and ensures growth continuity by providing appropriate future talent at all times