Blog post

The future of HR: a new work era is upon us

Hans Janse
Hans Janse 18 October 2017

As in so many areas, changes are happening lightning fast within the HR sector. Are you ready to step aboard with us the train to the future? My name is Hans Janse, and I lead innovation and market analysis within Raet. In this series of blogs, I look ahead to sketch an image of HR in 2020. What challenges will organizations face and what will change? What are the trends and how can we prepare for them? This first blog looks at the organization of the future.

We live in a world that never stands still. Changes and technologies follow one after another faster than ever. And that means organizations need to be able to keep up. Challenges, such as the popping up of successful and nimble start-ups, need to be faced head on. Which requires that organizations look at their organizational structure and vision for employment.

Become agile

The organization of the future must be adaptable if it’s to continue anticipating and responding to opportunities and threats around it. In other words, the organization has to become agile.

Organizations that are agile respond quickly and make rapid decisions.

 This also has an impact on employees. To increase their adaptability, companies are more and more aware of the need for both permanent employees and a flexible non-core workforce. Where previously HR departments focused on permanent employees, their work domain is now expanding to include other forms of employment. We are also seeing how top-down organizations are changing, and that teams within an agile work environment are increasingly being given greater responsibility. And because these teams are given more and more responsibility, they in turn make decisions faster. Organizations that are agile respond quickly and make rapid decisions. This does call within organizations for close cooperation, trust, and a culture where taking risks is accepted and people are allowed to make mistakes.

The challenges for HR

The emphasis here lies much more on team performance, collaboration and continuous feedback, rather than individual reviews.

In an agile organization, employees want to be supported differently. This has implications for the HR domain, for example for the HR performance cycle, remuneration systems and employee development. In an agile work environment, self-governing or self-organizing teams are central and the result is the team’s responsibility. The emphasis here lies much more on team performance, collaboration and continuous feedback, rather than individual reviews. The challenges this creates for HR are around stimulating the development of self-governing teams and creating a safe environment in which employees dare to give each other feedback.

HR: strategic?

Generally speaking, the main challenge for HR — now and in the future — lies in identifying the company's personnel needs, attracting the right people, and the development of temporary and permanent staff. To allow HR to become increasingly strategic, it is vital to digitize HR administration quickly. This will give HR more time for tactical and strategic issues.

Are you ready for all this? Do you have a clear insight into your current and future (agile) organization? And how do you know whether you now have, and will have in the near future, the right people to achieve your organizational goals?

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