The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Megatrends in Business That Are Impacting HR


Megatrends are the forces that are economic in nature and are going to define the future of our businesses. Megatrends are global, sustained and macro economic forces of development that impact business, economy, society, culture and personal lives, thereby defining our future world and its increasing pace of change. Megatrends allow us to look at the big issues that are facing your organizations that really are 8, 12, or even 20 years out. It is critical that leadership and HR work together to understand these megatrends and address the issues facing their organizations head on.

There are many megatrends being highlighted by a noted business leaders and economists. The Earnest and Young report among others highlights issues that are most relevant to HR. In my presentation at the World HRD Congress in Mumbai in Feb 2015, I highlighted five trends that I think are most relevant to HR.

Changes in the work environment. The cubes of yesterday are being exchanged for flexible work environments and telecommuting. The advantages are countless from reduction in overhead, increased collaboration and acknowledgement of employees desire for work life balance. However, if not managed carefully a great deal can be lost and we must be diligent to manage this change.

Digital transformation is no secret, but we must be deliberate to embrace what we can not change. According to reports, the average person checks their smart phone 150 times per day. There is consistent proof that employees are more productive if we just allow them to check Facebook and twitter during the day – and trust them not to abuse the privilege. But work has to get done, and performance standards must be clear.

Aligning talent with work is an issue facing most organizations. We must change the mindset of management that their positions are so specialized that candidates have to have all the skills they want. HR must be responsible to forecast the needs of the business 3-5 years out and provide training so that our top talent of today is ready to drive the business of tomorrow. At the same time, we must look for soft skills in our candidates such as initiative, common sense, and dedication to allow them to grow into our organizations.

Demographics of the workforce goes beyond ethnicity and religion. We now have teams working on projects 24/7 around the globe. The workforce commonly includes four generations working side by side, starting younger, and staying longer. When managed well, these are all assets for our organizations.

Finally, the workforce of 2020 is going to need to come to the table with new skills. We don’t even really know what we need for the future, or how fast technology will advance. What we do know is that we need adaptable employees who can solve problems and are technologically savvy.

Human Resources must take the lead in addressing these issues for our organizations. As leaders, we have to look into the future and prepare our teams today. This is why HR must have a seat at your leadership table, to be aligned with strategy and set your organizational teams on a path for success.

Photo: Kristian Bjornard used under the following license.

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