By Raheem Akingbolu

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has challenged organisations in the private and public sectors to see strategic investment in human capital as the right thing to do in a precision of recession, as currently being faced by Nigeria.

SHRM, which is the world’s largest association, devoted to human resource management, representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, made the call during the 7th Future-Ready Human Resource Conference organised by SHRM, Nigeria in Lagos recently.

The conference was attended by many SHRM members in Nigeria and professionals from different organisations including KPMG, PwC, who shared evidence-based perspectives on the changing landscape of HR profession as well as best practices that should be upheld by the practitioners.

Speaking at the event, SHRM President for Middle East and Africa (MEA), Mr. Brad Boyson, during his presentation entitled: ‘Business and Human Capital Challenges Now and in the Future’, said “around the world, when economic times are difficult, the first activity organisations cut is actually training or investing in people.”

He, however, said that business history has shown that the organisation that goes against the trend to take the opportunity when other organisations are not investing in people, are always the ones ahead of the industry.

“So, the significance of an event such as this holding in Nigeria at this time is that, as HR people, we need to be the advocates for growing the organisations in the area of talent in difficult times.”

Explaining the future-readiness of HR professionals, Boyson said: “At SHRM, we believe that the foundation to be an HR professional is to hold that professional qualifications because with that, you are proving to your global peers that you understand the necessary knowledge of HR and that you understand the best practices of HR. Not everyone that works in HR department or unit of an organisation is an HR person.

“What it means to be an HR in today is different from what you need in the past. To be an HR of today and future you need to have some unique qualifications, you need to understand technology; you need to understand cultural changes in talent and dynamics of people generally.

“HR people around the world are notoriously bad at sharing best practices in terms of information because they see that attitude as their job security. New professionals don’t act like that. New professionals share and try to improve globally. That is what we stand for at SHRM and that is why we are global as the most versed HR association in the world.

“So, we are taking advantage of our widest coverage in terms of membership globally to grow HR professionalism in terms training, public policy and the overall advancement of the professionals through advancing HR professionals. With these, we are confident that we would be able to develop a pool of HR professionals that globally relevant and future-ready.

He stressed the need for HR professionals collaboration with HR professionals towards formulating and implementing economic policies bordering on developing the nation’s human capital.to be proactive in adapting to the changing landscape of current and future-based HR practices where technology is playing a key role not only on the organisations but also on the existing and prospective talent.

“So, as SHRM, we advocate for the professionals and we try to prepare our members to be ready for the changing landscape in HR practice. We advocate from HR point of view. If our members need knowledge, we provide it. Though there are a number of issues in an organisations such as talent, the organisation itself,  the Information Technology, among others, to ensure all these are well managed, SHRM makes HR practitioners its domain of proactive decisions to achieve organisational goals.”

President, SHRM, Nigeria, Mr. Oliver Nnona, emphasised the need for a practical approach to be adopted in setting up a HR analytics function, saying this will depend on the current structural capacity and leadership within the organisation.

He tasked government to work in