One Day, a HR Exec. Will be a Company's CEO

by CXOtoday Staff    Dec 31, 2008

 To find out what will human resources look like a decade from now, Workforce Management conducted a survey among distinguished HR executives and thought leaders where they had been asked to make their best predictions in this regard.


The forecasts envision a quite different workplace and HR profession from those of today.  According to the panelists, the labor market will look more like eBay than Monster or Yahoo HotJobs. In 2018, work will consist of transient teams made up of internal and external workers; Millennials will redefine jobs, doing work at home and taking home to work; HR officials will assume many more seats on corporate boards, and leaders increasingly will be held accountable for their talent management decisions.


Some of the key forecasts include:


There will be an increased focus on infrastructures-such as social networks and wikis-to support building strong relationships and collaboration. The structure of work will become more adaptive, more informal and less focused on formal structure and static design solutions.


An expanded use of virtual teams of employees who communicate extensively through videoconferencing, e-mail and text messaging is expected to take place.


Companies will require balancing the need for a unified global culture with local strategic and cultural differences and making core global values locally relevant and easily understandable for all employees.


The corporate social responsibility movement will grow stronger. Societies throughout the world will focus on work as a more important crucible for social progress and values.


The memory of today’s financial crisis will leave a legacy of greater scrutiny and regulation of issues such as fairness, pay differentials and ethics, particularly in traditional Western economies.


At the same time, decisions about hiring and training will be tied more carefully to the bottom line. Recruitment and development will increasingly be seen as part of an integrated workforce-supply optimization process. Both will become virtual, global and just-in-time, but they will also be transformed through an increasing emphasis on optimization, differentiation and return on investment.


Leadership development is going to be one of the areas on top of the corporate agenda. A continued shift away from a pure "command and control" leadership style to a more "matrixed, collaborative" approach will put the onus on an organization to develop different types of capabilities in their leaders.


HR executives will face tough scrutiny of the way they recruit, manage and retain people. The strategic role of decisions about talent and how it is organized will increasingly be recognized as pivotal to sustainable strategic success. Leaders will be held accountable for the quality of those decisions.


Continued labor shortages, particularly in leadership positions along with the need for constant learning and updating of skills will be the most important workforce management issue in the next 10 years.


Companies will need to offer tailored benefits to meet diverse needs and attract talent and the benefits world of the future will be customized and creative, with offerings that could include elder care, pet care, and concierge services, etc.


A decision science for talent markets will advance significantly by 2018 and will increasingly be seen as equally important for business leadership as finance, marketing and supply chain.


Panelists generally gave good odds that an HR executive will advance to become CEO of a Fortune 100 firm by 2018. With many HR people moving to operations or from operations and having strong business acumen, this is likely to happen more often.


The field has started to race forward, thanks to such factors as globalization, increased attention to talent and a greater focus on inclusive workplaces, said the panelists in the survey report.

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