The Future HR Trends Watch List

We are witnessing a rise in leaders and organizations adopting new perspectives and technologies that impact work, workforces and workplaces. In light of this, HR professionals across the world face the challenge of leading these organizational transformations. This article is not a list of predictions but rather a watch list of ideas, technologies and sectors that are right now making waves in theirs and, in some cases, others’ industries. Some of these trends will have short term, immediate impacts, while others will require a long term perspective. You will notice, as in most of my writing, and that of others, there are three themes underlying most, if not all, trends, predictions and prescriptions. They are people, technology and data. Now see if you can pick up on all three themes in this article.

1. Diversity In Most Things

From diverse peoples and thought to diverse work arrangements and structures to diverse benefits; diversity has gone from being a compliance requirement to a competitive advantage, and rightly so. To be clear, it is only after we have established equal pay and equal opportunity, and after we have created a thoughtful, inclusive and safe workplace for all, that we can begin to leverage diversity. Companies who have, though, are beginning to harness the potential benefits of individuality. Then our diverse internal workforce and external prospective talent pool can self-select their personal preferences. This may look like a choice of when and where they want to work, or how and with whom they want to work, or what benefits meet their personal needs. In fact, many companies’ employee value proportions today are shaped much more by decisions workers are making about what they want for themselves, than any other time in history. This has caused another trend because HR functions now have to rethink how, where and when we source and recruit talent, and how we manage and communicate with them.

2. Adaptive and Differentiated Work Environments

One of the causes of this trend, as mentioned above, is workers deciding how, where, when and with whom they want to work. With technology having made it possible to work from anywhere, people are choosing to do just that. This has created what we know as the ‘gig economy’. Employers are left to vie for talent by creating work environments that resemble the gig economy. Another cause of this trend is that companies are designing new ways of working in order to compete in an ever disruptive market and ever changing economy. Employers are creating much more adaptive and differentiated work arrangements that allow for their workers and teams to move with greater speed, agility and flexibility than ever before. This has been made possible by technologies that support and even augment workers behaviors with to-the-moment data and analytics, intuitive work systems, and on-demand learning opportunities.

3. Information Architecture

Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain all have incredible applications for Human Resources. AI is currently used in HR to reduce bias in recruitment, in chatbots to improve employee experience and engagement, and, generally, to automate repetitive tasks. This is just the beginning. One technology company is developing an AI laid over video, which, if successful, will revolutionize not only recruitment, but any part of the business where interactions can be captured on video. Blockchain is a distributed, decentralized ledger or database currently used for cryptocurrency. Where else have we seen terms like distributed, decentralized, diversified, and differentiated? Maybe, in articles about the future of work. The blockchain tracks transaction details (eg. events, experiences, participants, time) but protects personal information (ie. identity). While the blockchain is public, identifying formation is not. Sounds like the future of resumes. Ok, blockchain is not yet perfect — it would be almost impossible to customize your professional details to a specific role as a applicant, view an individuals’ development and contributions as a manager — but the future applications for HR are pretty great. The Internet of Things is a system of interrelated devices provided with unique ID’s that are able to transfer data across the network, eliminating the need for direct contact. From an HR perspective, this technology would support remote workers, as well as, support HR in their management of logistics for talent in its many diverse, differentiated, distributed and decentralized forms. Individually, each of these trends provides a competitive advantage for forward thinking companies. Together, though, you would have an ‘Information Architecture’ that enabled HR leaders to truly own talent management where ever it exists.

4. Data Governance

With all these new data points and pieces of information, we are left with the challenge of what to do with this data that doesn’t violate the trust of our employees or break laws. It’s the fine line between transparency and protection. In general, we see companies sharing their data internally with their employees, while protecting it from external forces. These companies often have governance committees that create strategies and mandates to determine what data they will collect, how they will collect it, and for what purpose its collected. These companies set up internal structures, policies and practices that their people follow to ensure their data is used ethically and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. I imagine a future version of blockchain, with greater privacy, protections and security protocols, just may be a solution. If you want to learn more about these trends, contact us at HumInt Labs. We work with our clients to create strategic human-intelligent solutions for their organizations.

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