The Future of People Services - what’s next?

Gera Patel

Partner, Campbell Tickell

Ian Wright

CEO, Disruptive Innovators Network


Welcome to this collaborative piece of research between the Disruptive Innovators Network and Campbell Tickell to explore how leaders in people and HR services have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and what innovative approaches they are developing to help prepare their organisations for what comes next.

Never before has the world of work changed as much or as quickly as it has in the past 12 months. For some businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown has almost entirely transformed the way they operate. Within that transformation, the ‘people’, organisational development and HR functions of organisations have become critically important in a way that they perhaps have never been before. The move to working remotely is forcing us to reimagine everything from workplace culture to pay and reward structures, from wellbeing and mental health to the employee value proposition and productivity.

In this report, thought leaders and experts in the HR and people sector offer their insights into what this new landscape means for organisations and the people who manage them.

The key questions

How can organisations better manage employee wellbeing? How can we devise a fairer, more flexible reward system? Has working from home fundamentally changed the relationship between employer and worker? And what role will data play in the brave new world of 21st Century work?

This report lays out the context and attempts to answer these and other questions.

While the report is presented as a series of chapters, each subject area covered – from leadership to wellbeing to pay to diversity – has an impact on the others. In other words, when one lever is pulled at an organisational level, it has effects across the business.

That is why we believe it is more important than ever to make sure that an organisation’s people function sits at the top table with its strategic leadership team. Businesses need to ensure that their organisational infrastructure is built around people, rather than have people fit into a pre-existing structure. We think a good question leaders should be asking themselves at the moment is, how can we ensure HR/People services have a seat in the executive in setting the organisations future strategic direction?

Necessary change

For some businesses, this will represent a major cultural change. But for any that consider themselves forward looking, it is a necessary one. It is only through this change in emphasis that organisations will start thinking about their people as individuals – and start valuing them as such.

The breaking down of the barriers between home life and work life has demonstrated that this is a necessary revolution, as well as a long overdue one.

Many businesses claim to be focused on their people, but only by putting the part of the business that deals with their staff at the forefront of the decision making process can they match this rhetoric with action.

We interviewed a number of leaders and specialists as part of this research. Their quotes are intended to illustrate various points, but should not necessarily be taken as representing the views of Disruptive Innovators Network or Campbell Tickell.