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What’s ahead for an evolving HR?
External Research

The Cognizant Center for Future of Work and futureworkplace jointly embarked in 2020 on a nine-month initiative to determine what the future of HR will look like.

In 2020 the Cognizant Center for Future of Work and Future Workplace jointly embarked on a nine-month initiative to determine what the future of HR will look like.

“We’ve been well on the road to the future of work for a while, and there’s no getting around it: The path we take has to travel straight through the human resources function to come to pass. And new HR roles of the future are key to making it real.”

By bringing together 100 CHROs, CLOs, an VPs of talent and workforce transformation, the research explores how the role of HR may evolve over the decade following the Covid pandemic (published May 2020) and has identified 21 HR jobs of the future.

“The common thread among all these jobs is making good – at long last – on HR’s promise to connect people and business strategy to the new, exciting and lasting frontiers of the future of work, all while amplifying what the greatest asset of any business (people) does best: be human.”

These new roles will be:

  • Employee Enablement Coach
  • Director of Well-being
  • Head of Business Behavior
  • Chief Purpose Planner
  • Distraction Prevention Coach
  • University for Life Coordinator
  • Human-Machine Teaming Manager
  • Second Art Coach
  • Gig Economy Manager
  • Climate Change Response Leader
  • Future of Work Leader
  • WFH (Work from Home) Facilitator
  • Human Bias Officer
  • Workplace Environment Architect
  • Algorithm Bias Auditor
  • Human Network Analyst
  • HR Data Detective
  • VR Immersion Counsellor
  • Genetic Diversity Officer
  • Chatbot and Human Facilitator
  • Strategic HR Business Continuity Director


All 21 jobs embody five core themes, which are detailed in the whitepaper:

Individual and organisational resilience

The challenges of remote work and the ‘always on’ culture have propelled the importance of employee-health, wellness, and work-life balance. For HR, this means the future of work will require a stronger focus and more holistic view of employees’ wellbeing encompassing emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

Organisational trust and safety

The need for data privacy in the age of digitalization and algorithms has amplified the requirement for more systems with humans in the loop to ensure trust, fairness, explainability, and accountability. As organizations invest in digital transformation and establish a ‘data culture’ the authors believe, the responsibility of HR to be the guardians and models of an ethical and responsible workplace will increase.

Creativity and innovation

Business leaders will envision and implement new ways to grow and shape the organisation. HR will play a new role at the intersections of business strategy, people, and organisation. It will be responsible for analysing what skills would be most essential as the workforce continues to evolve. It will focus both, on setting the organisation’s strategy for the future of work, as well as on proposing and promoting reskilling and upskilling efforts.

Data literacy

Only a few HR functions are building analytical capabilities into their teams to meet expectations and solve key challenges. In the future, the authors believe more HR teams will follow in the footsteps of other departments such as customer experience and finance and create a more data driven function. Companies which have begun building data literacy into the HR function have a competitive advantage.

Human machine partnership

The use of machines and robots will continue to increase. Robots are good at the ‘science’ of jobs, especially when reliance on computational capabilities. They decide or propose the most appropriate action based on the analysis of data and the recognition of patterns. In contrast humans are good at assessing situations, or the ‘art’ of the job, making a judgement on the right thing to do in any given situation. Sorting out the balance of the science and the art may result in the creation of new HR roles focused on the collaboration of the two.

Quotes and details are taken from the research, which can be accessed and read on the Cognizant website.

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