HR has always been more than a back-office function—it is a core piece of the organizational fabric, able to influence any organization’s most powerful asset: its people.

Our survey respondents agree that HR has made progress over the past decade. But despite the growing importance of the human element at work, there is a continued gap in preparedness to address HR's evolving role. There is no doubt that change is coming, but we believe it needs to be more than transformation, reinvention or even revolution - it needs to be foundational.

Organizations are being challenged to rethink and establish a new set of truths for the social enterprise at work. Work is in a continuous state of reimagination, jobs have become increasingly fluid and dynamic, and employees are being progressively seen as individuals with unique and disparate experiences, thoughts, attitudes, needs, and - ultimately - value. This means that, in this new world of work, HR's foundation needs to be one of expanded focus and extended influence.

Therefore, we can talk about an expansion of HR's accountability. This expansion needs to be centered around two distinct dimensions: scope of influence and areas of focus. Meaning, extending HR's scope of influence beyond its traditional lines to the enterprise and ecosystem as a whole, as well as broadening its focus from employees alone to the organization at large and, ultimately, to the work and workforce itself.

We call this shift "exponential HR". Amongst the numerous change affecting HR, one of the biggest is the increase of new capabilities that are broadening HR organization design to incorporate more agile and team-based work, increasing the efficiency of HR activities through automation, and expanding the expectations and stature of HR leaders.

Where there is change there are also challenges, resistance and critical gaps. Nevertheless, the shift to exponential HR is already underway in several organizations. In the coming decade, HR has the opportunity to embrance the future, expand its reach and focus, and assume the leading role at the vanguard of work, the workplace, and the workforce for the enterprise. In this expanded role, HR becomes a vital enabler of an organization's ability to thrive in a world where the old rules of work no longer apply, and the new ones are evolving rapidly. Exponential HR, focused on humanizing the world of work, is a key source of strength for the future-focused organization seeking to make the most of human capital in today's dynamic environment.


In this series of articles, we will introduce you to each of the 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital trends and show how organizations can work within an environment shaped by the fusion of technology and people to embed purpose, potential and perspective into the DNA of how they operate.


If you would like more information on A memo to HR - Expand focus and extend influence, please contact the Deloitte Banking and Human Capital Leader, Pascal Martino (

And if you would like to view the full 2020 Human Capital Trends report, please download it here:


Look for our next article “Belonging: From comfort to connection to contribution” to learn how organizations can forge a stronger link between belonging and organizational performance by strengthening workers’ connections with their teams and fostering their sense of contribution to meaningful shared goals.


Communicated by Deloitte Luxembourg

Publié le 06 juillet 2020