HR future leader of the month: Kevin Lyons


The use of evidence is important. We must also use intuition and experience, mixing these to develop experience and wisdom, political skills and emotional intelligence. The future is about change in ...

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HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the function about what they think will shape it

What are your main concerns in HR today?

Focusing on doing the important things well, and understanding the nuances involved in our profession to be effective business partners.

I believe HR professionals must adopt an increasingly evidence-based approach, as this is fundamental to increasing our ability to shape the success of the organisations we serve. We need to find the best available evidence to support our HR strategy and business decision-making. This will guide us on the best path possible as a function.

What will become more important for HR over the next five years?

Over the coming years the success of companies will increasingly be determined by their successful utilisation of data. In turn the success of HR will increasingly depend on effective use of data.

In addition, diversity is an important issue for HR as companies are adapting to represent the richly diverse societies we live in. In this area HR needs to display leadership. We need to make diversity and inclusion relevant to business leaders, seeking to be thoughtful and evaluative in our approach, and linking diversity and inclusion to business success and stakeholder values.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

Artificial intelligence will be having a major impact in both our business and personal lives by this time, with clear implications for HR professionals. Robotics, automation and cloud solutions will be capable of routine work with great accuracy, and able to synthesise huge amounts of data, but humans will still have a key role. Human talent will be more important in areas like strategic insight, emotional intelligence and social skills.

HR will continue to have a leading role to shape both artificial and human talent. And through the automation of basic tasks artificial intelligence could give HR the opportunity to be more strategic, creative and intuitive.

What do you plan to do to change HR for the better?

My aim is to be a champion for evidence-based HR. I would like to join the debate as to where HR can add the most value, to help shape our future in every way I can, and help us as a function to focus on what is important.

I also believe passionately that learning continues throughout our lives. With the immense potential of apprenticeships, in addition to online learning and digital technology, there is an exciting future for constant learning that I can help drive.


The use of evidence is important. We must also use intuition and experience, mixing these to develop experience and wisdom, political skills and emotional intelligence. The future is about change in a very turbulent changing world. HR will have to understand the organisation and business sector in depth and learn how to interact with teams of managers to get the best from employees. However HR must also be at the forefront of strategy and tactics to understand the future recruitment and development needs from Board Directors, Senior executive managers to everyone else at their different functional levels and cross-functional teams. It will be a big ask along with the vital transactional functions.


The evidence-based approach to HR has the positive impact on the business efficiency, like ensuring the smart investment of resources, right projects, right balance.


I completely agree about the requirement for evidence based HR and would go further to say that it is empirical evidence that needs to play a key part in the welfare of all staff. For too long, anecdotal evidence or archaic methodology has ruled the roost, ultimately, having an overall negative effect on the workforce. When HR are able to implement (like every other department within a company), the necessary proven, positive and measurable results that will take them forward, everyone will see an overall benefit.

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