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What Will Human Resources Look Like in the Near Future?

April 3, 2013

Dear Looking Backward and Forward:

Many people believe that futurists have crystal balls. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are new technologies appearing every month to help or engage us. What futurists do is look for trends and extrapolate from their lines. As a futurist what I look for are glints and glimmers of trends to catch them at the very beginning, then I look for their implications.

Clearly, what's in store depends on how long we are looking out into the future. In the near- to long-term future, you may expect intensifying shortages of skilled workers. Way too many companies have decimated or eliminated their training departments and now they are trying to find already skilled workers, which are in limited supply. The long-term problem is that many organizations---those that are not employee-centered ---will be unable to recruit the people they are looking for, at any cost. Some of them will literally go out of business.

This skills shortage has other clear implications for your department: your time-to-fill will increase; your luxury of taking weeks or even month to hire will evaporate. You snooze; you lose, so you will be forced to make sure you streamline your hiring process to get the best possible candidates.

Looking out somewhat longer term, HR will be responsible for the candidate and employee experience. Yes, you read it correctly: engagement and retention will center on the experience of what it's like to work for your company or your client's company. Actually, to a degree, it already is. And this fact leads me to discuss "gamification," which is the application of game elements, game mechanics, and game design to non-game systems and processes.

The younger (and future) generations will expect work to be really fun. That will lead to companies "gamifying" many aspects of their processes and systems. If you want to engage and retain employees, for example, you will gamify their jobs. That means gamifying their onboading, their training and development, and even their everyday work. It will be expected. Companies like Bunchball, Badgeville, and Gamify are even now on the scene to help companies with this emerging shift. Unmistakably, we see gamification as the "next big thing" in human resources.

SOURCE: Joyce L. Gioia, The Herman Group, Austin, Texas, January 29, 2013

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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.