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The Future of HR

How HR leaders can navigate uncertainty and prepare their HR function for the future.

What is it?

Over the past several years, HR has played a critical role in guiding the organization through change and uncertainty, prioritizing HR activities that will add the most value. Several drivers of change will continue to influence the HR landscape:

  • Shifts in workforce demographics and composition are bringing more diversity to organizations.
  • Political, social, economic, and environmental developments are raising concerns around living costs, recession, global health concerns, climate change, and social movements.
  • Work itself is being reconceptualized through contingent workers, multiple-job holders, and remote and hybrid work.
  • Changes in employee sentiment are driving an increased desire for work-life balance, flexibility, and security.
  • Technological application and advancement are forcing organizations and HR functions to evolve and adapt.

Sentiments toward the HR function remain largely consistent – it has been perceived as a function that is increasing in importance, rather than one that is already important. Our Future of HR Report can serve as a powerful resource, providing a strategic lens to propel HR's transformation and drive organizational growth through informed decision-making and proactive planning.

Why does it matter?

HR's role as a strategic business partner is pivotal in helping organizations prepare for the future. While many HR functions are already operating as a strategic partner, many remain reactive and struggle to prove their strategic value. This research will help you:

  • Understand the drivers that influence HR, and build a robust affirmation for the importance of HR.
  • Prioritize HR activities that will add the most value and determine what skills are required to deliver on those activities.
  • Recognize the need for designing a customized HR structure and operating model to deliver value to the organization.

This report combines our research with a survey and detailed interviews with leaders in HR and beyond. It poses key questions to guide leaders’ reflection about the current position of HR within the organization and how it must evolve to face the challenges and changes in the future.

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.


  • Sean Barulich, Independent
  • Curtis Bonk, Professor, Indiana University
  • Tina Busch, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, ATI
  • Maureen Cahill, Managing Partner, Executive Services, McLean & Company
  • Mary Cheddie, Divisional Director, East, SHRM
  • Matthew Daniel, Principal, Guild
  • Wagner Denuzzo, HR Start Up Advisor and Former VP, Organizational Effectiveness, Prudential Financial
  • Stephen Downes, Researcher, Digital Technologies Research Centre, NRC Canada
  • Gianna Driver, Chief Human Resources Officer, Exabeam
  • Amy Edwards, Chief Human Resources Office, Diversified
  • Anne Fulton, Founder and CEO, Fuel50
  • Angela Galyean, Vice President, Human Resources, Intelsat
  • Edie Goldberg, President and Founder, E.L. Goldberg & Associates
  • Stephanie Hardman, Deputy Chief Transformation Officer, McDonald’s Corporation
  • Leanne Joffre, Vice President, People and Culture, Tridel
  • Raymond Kleeman, Chief Human Resources Officer, Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated
  • Elliott Masie, Chair, MASIE Learning Foundation & MASIE Productions
  • Kytheranialynn Montez, People Operations Director, MOVE Texas
  • Kara Morley, Senior Vice President of Human Resources/Head of HR, Lifecore Biomedical
  • Julie Murphy, Chief Human Resources Officer, ANSYS
  • Jennifer Nahrgang, Professor, University of Iowa
  • Sheila O’Neill, Leadership Coach and HR Consultant
  • Nigel Paine, Author, Director, Learning Now TV, formerly Chief Learning Officer, BBC
  • Garry Ridge, Chairman Emeritus, WD-40 Company
  • Andrew Saidy, Vice President Global Talent, Ubisoft
  • Cathy Sprague, Executive Vice President Human Resources, Bruce Power
  • Nichole Thompson, Chief People Officer, FLS Transportation Services
  • Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor, University College London
  • 2 anonymous contributors