60 HR Predictions for 2008
January 1, 1998
- Collaborative cultures will be the workplace model.
- Creative employment contracts will support more time off, flexibility in hours and work location, technological job aids and more pay at risk with significant upside potential.
- Company intranets will become a major tool for communication, training and benefits administration; HR will play a leading role in developing this important tool.
- Intelligence through knowledge transfer capability will separate the best employees from the rest.
- Employees will have more and more choices about work arrangements, allowing them to meet their individual needs.
- Work hours scheduling will become less important as organizations focus on performance and results.
- Company facilities will become "virtual" through work-at-home, telecommuting and outsourcing.
- The workweek will be less structured—employees will still work 40-plus hours, but at varied times and places other than the office.
- Legislation will lead to greater portability of health, welfare and retirement benefits.
- Free-lance teams of generic problem solvers will market themselves as alternatives to permanent workers or individual temps.
- The role of corporate HR will change to that of creator of overall values and direction, and will be implemented by local HR departments in different countries.
- Technology, especially the Internet, will enable more businesses to enter the global marketplace.
- HR professionals will have advanced acumen in international business practices, international labor laws, multicultural sensitivities and multiple languages.
- HR professionals will need to be knowledgeable of other cultures, languages and business practices to help their companies find and enter more markets.
- HR people will have to understand other cultures and help people work with, and transfer among, various cultures.
- Megaglobal business alliances will grow in number and scope, requiring great finesse on the part of the HR professional.
- There will be an explosive growth of companies doing business across borders, and it will be the most significant change for the economy in modern times.
- Cultural understanding and sensitivity will become much more important for the HR professional of the future, whereas multiple language ability isn’t going to become a necessary competency.
- The continued emergence of a world marketplace will require development of an international workforce.
- Small teams of HR professionals will focus on providing performance improvement consulting services to a variety of locations around the world.
Work and Society
- Family and life interests will play a more prevalent role in people’s lives and a greater factor in people’s choices about work—there will be more of a "work to live" than a "live to work" mentality.
- Employees will demand increases in workplace flexibility to pursue life interests.
- Dual-career couples will refuse to make the sacrifices required today in their family lives and more people (not just women) will opt out of traditional careers.
- Families will return to the center of society; work will serve as a source of cultural connections and peripheral friendships.
- Workers will continue to struggle with their need for work/ life balance, and it will get worse.
- Integration of work with quality-of-life initiatives will create solutions to problems formerly seen as the responsibility of government.
- Community involvement and social responsibility will become part of an organization’s business vision.
- "Cocooning" will become more popular as workers look to their homes for refuge from the pressures of a more competitive workplace and depersonalized society.
- Just as defined-contribution plans have begun to take over from Social Security, companies will take on responsibility for elder care, long-term care and other social needs through cafeteria-style benefits programs.
- Those people who refuse or are unable to adapt to new technologies will find they’re working harder and accomplishing less.
- Lifelong learning will be a requirement.
- The focus of training/learning activities will be on performance improvement and not just on skill building.
- Employees with varied skills and competencies will be valued more highly than those with a depth of expertise in a single area.
- Problem solving and decision making will become a required curriculum with practical work problems as the training medium.
- Training will be delivered "just in time," wherever people need it, using a variety of technologies.
- Companies will demand constant personal growth, and employees will respond positively to higher expectations.
- It will not be possible to survive in the workplace without basic computer skills.
- People who can learn new skills/competencies quickly will be highly valued in a faster changing world.
- Team projects and special assignments will be a major factor in personal development.
- As the computer-savvy generation is more assimilated into the workforce, employees will become much more productive in complex tasks and less dependent on other people and departments.
Definition of Jobs
- Organizations won’t pay for the value of the job but for the value of the person.
- Versatility will be the key factor in determining employee value with strategic thinking, leadership, problem solving, technology and people skills close behind.
- Compensation systems will be linked to business outcomes.
- All jobs will require higher levels of computer skills.
- Positions will be organized in teams focused on a task, not organized around a hierarchy.
- Positions will be defined by the competencies needed to be performed.
- Employees will be more independent, moving from project to project within their organizations.
- Many jobs will be redesigned to be much broader in scope, especially in management positions, resulting in leaner head counts.
- Employees will be increasingly measured by how much value they contribute to the business, not by whether they fulfilled predetermined objectives.
- Work will be more challenging, and jobs will become increasingly complex.
Strategic Role of HR
- Successful HR departments will focus on organizational performance.
- HR’s value will be to have the right people ready at the right time: recruiting leaders to join the company’s mix of talent and keeping the "bench" full of enabled, competent workers.
- The focus of the HR function will be human capital development and organizational productivity; HR may be renamed to reflect this.
- HR will evolve from strategic business partnership to strategic business leadership (driving change and results, not just monitoring them).
- A key HR role in the future will be multidisciplinary consulting around individual, team, business unit and corporate performance.
- Managers will grow to depend more and more on HR professionals as they realize that good people management can be the strategic advantage in the next decade.
- Leading change will become HR’s greatest contribution to the corporation.
- More and more businesses will use HR as a strategic partner.
- HR will have a "seat at the table" as part of the top management team and report directly to the CEO in most companies.
- A key HR role will be managing increasingly scarce human and intellectual capital.
Workforce, January 1998, Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 50-51.