Niam Sinno (KPMG) on trends shaping the future of HR

08 May 2023 4 min. read
More news on

In a new global report, experts from KPMG explore the future of human resources, and how leaders in the field succeed in navigating the change. A discussion with Niam Sinno – Head of KPMG’s People & Change Advisory practice in Saudi Arabia – on some of the most notable findings.

The report identifies several themes as trends shaping the future of the HR function, including adopting a total workforce approach to talent, digitisation, talent marketplaces, new and hybrid ways of working, the shift to purpose, diversity & inclusion, workforce upskilling, data-driven ways of working, adopting emerging technologies, environmental, social, and governance, and more.

“Our interactions with experts worldwide suggest that companies are now prioritizing bold people strategies as a crucial element in achieving a competitive edge, especially during the current period of the ‘Great Reconsideration’,” said Sinno.

Niam Sinno, Head of People & Change Advisory, KPMG

One of the top trends is the transition towards a ‘total workforce’ approach to talent. “This involves becoming more employee-centric, rethinking performance management, improving digital enablement, and helping employees build the skills they need – not only for today, but also for the years to come,” explained Sinno.

With the pace of change ever increasing, so too is the skillset needed for employees to succeed in their role – and maintain lifelong employability. To bridge the skills gap, employers are ramping up their efforts for upskilling and reskilling their staff.

Citing one such example in the local market, Sinno points at the ‘HR Transformation Initiative’ by Saudi’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD).

“The initiative aims to update all HR departments in ministries into a new management style by qualifying their employees with professional certificates in the field of human resources and supporting the departments in terms of developing processes and structuring to ensure raising the level of growth. It strives to better enable HR functions to contribute to achieving the objectives of government entities.”

“Additionally, the ministry ensures that the organization is empowered to keep pace with the latest developments in the labor market,” added Sinno.

The ministry is also focused on promoting a more inclusive and diverse working environment, which also ranks among the top HR trends identified in the global report.

“Leaders in the HR landscape are embracing this shift. They recognize that diversity & inclusion brings tremendous value to the organization and its culture and, therefore, it needs to be an integral part of the strategy.”

They are not alone. According to KPMG’s latest Global CEO Outlook report, CEOs are just as committed: “They support the sentiment and agree that a truly diverse and inclusive organization helps attract talent, including Gen Z and millennials,” said Sinno.


The role of technology, as an enabler of a more effective HR function and of a broader shift in ways of working and culture, is deemed “essential” for any forward-looking HR organization, found KPMG’s report.

For starters: technology can help digitise and automate processes to improve performance and ease administrative loads. “Various manual and inefficient HR processes are already being automated, from HR operations and payroll, to report generation and 360 degrees performance management.”

“Leading-edge technology, implemented wisely, provides the foundation for more employee-centric processes and seamless experiences,” added Sinno.

Other technologies of note include artificial intelligence, cloud, and advanced data analytics.

The culmination of these technologies can help HR functions – and in its slipstream business leaders – unlock major benefits. “It gives the business the agility to adapt rapidly in response to market changes,” said Sinno.

Scenario-based workforce planning powered by predictive analytics, for instance, helps organizations make informed decisions about their future workforce. Using machine learning, HR functions can create better matches in the recruitment pipeline, enhancing cultural fit with new hires and reducing attrition.

Embracing the future of work

In conclusion, Sinno remarked: “In today’s ever-changing marketplace, leaders recognize the need to adapt to continue to survive — which is also putting an increasing focus on HR to prepare and build both the workforce and the workplace of the future.”

“Being successful in the future of work will require an employee-centric, purpose-driven culture, underpinned by ESG values and a technology backbone.”

“Now is the time organizations introspect and plan for the future, embracing the support of scientifically driven approaches while upholding their company values.”

Niam Sinno has been with KPMG since 2021. She previously worked for global consulting groups such as Korn Ferry, PwC, and Deloitte.