We recently sat down with Tammy Erickson, Adjunct Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London School of Business, and asked her to give us some advice on keeping up with recent HR trends and disruptions. Her four trends to keep an eye on are:
One of the first and most important trends reveals itself just by looking at the type of work that differentiates companies these days. Much of that has to do with mobilizing intelligence, about innovation and collaboration, and sensing new trends and forming new relationships. These are so different from the old industrial tasks, which some still have to do in places, but they won’t be a differentiating factor.
The question is; how do you create an organization that is really good at innovation and collaboration?
Then you have astonishing new technology that makes it basically free to contact anyone, anywhere anytime. The cost of communication has gone to virtually zero. Also, the fact that we can coordinate, don’t have to have as much planning, we can find people when we need them. All of those things make a very different work environment. Then you add the workforce that we have, that is so different today, so many older people, as a percentage of the workforce, we are becoming an inverted pyramid, with relatively few youths and lots of older individuals.
And that has a couple of implications. Older people still want to work, but not full time. So they want to have project-based assignments. Younger people want to be sure that with this huge horde of older individuals blocking every conceivable traditional career path they are going to have enough variety of challenges.
If we are thinking of leaders broadly I think we have 4 competencies lined up: have an open mind (be disruptive), be able to ask questions (this will pull people in rather than giving directions, which often turn them off), make it easy for people to share ideas and connect, and to be able to engage people (to have something that really touches their passion).
Meaning is the new money! You have to offer meaning in the workplace if you want to connect people to your organization.
The theory says that every time the cost of communication falls, you have to own less, and you can afford to rent more. We are going to have fewer full-time employees and more people on a tap with an as-needed basis.
For HR, this makes the job even bigger. Rather than focusing on a fixed pool of permanent employees, they have to look at a broad network of people that can be available on demand. They probably need to have relationships with 5-10 times more people, than they have today. They have to stay in touch with them much like a marketing person does with the customers, need to pre-qualify, make arrangements to make it easier to tap them quickly. HR has to take a much broader perspective on the talent needs and pools of the organization.
A lot of people want flexible arrangements, the reason they want it might differ significantly. Many people in their 60s want to something besides their work, charity. So flexible work arrangements make sense. People in mid-career, with very demanding parenting roles, so they want to have more time with their kids. With so much change at work, new competencies in HR need to acquire, not just to stay relevant, but to drive organizations forward.
You will need a good understanding of marketing. HR is becoming parallel to marketing, you have to understand segmentation and what do different groups of employees want, targeting, messaging, branding, all of those things becoming very important in the HR world. Secondly, financial skills. We have to be able to speak in terms of ROI. Advice: Talk to your Finance people, talk to your Marketing people, and build on those relationships.
Do you agree with her predictions?
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