Chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) Peter Cheese believes the HR industry is at a crossroads.
Ahead of the organisation's annual conference, he stated that the world of business is transforming, mainly because of the huge impact the economic crisis has had on companies across the globe.
Mr Cheese outlined some of the challenges facing HR departments in 2013.
These include: "How to restore trust; build employee engagement; tackle skills shortages and help solve economic and societal problems like youth unemployment and issues surrounding fairness in pay and reward."
Such problems, Mr Cheese added, will not be solved with a quick fix, which is why HR professionals might need to change the way they do things.
The CIPD has launched a new framework for HR and people development and the body believes this could help businesses to thrive.
"Our framework positions HR and people development as better focused on understanding and adding value, with insight on the trends that are shaping the organisation of the future," Mr Cheese added.
One issue that some HR specialists are finding hard to deal with is big data.
In a separate report, the CIPD stated that companies have a great opportunity to use big data to make more informed decisions throughout their business, especially during the recruitment process.
However, many HR departments are reluctant to utilise the reams of information that falls into their laps every single day because of fears surrounding data sharing processes and a lack of capability.
A lot of firms are currently being held back because their employees lack analytical skills. This is something that HR professionals will need to address as a matter of urgency in the coming years.
Head of CIPD Scotland John McGurk said HR's people analytics ability is "patchy" and even those few companies that are using big data for hiring purposes are failing to make the most of its huge potential.
He added that plenty of organisations are still sceptical about the benefits of using big data.