When people talk about HR trends they tend to look at what we do today and discuss ways it can be done better in the future. Applications and tools for recruiting, training, on-boarding, etc. are being developed at dizzying rates. Problem is – these new HR innovations are going to have a short half life.

Another way to look at HR trends is to look at the way business is changing.

The changes in technology, employee motivation, globalism, and resource mobility, just to name a few dynamics, will dramatically affect the way companies work in the future, which will mean that a lot of the things human resource professionals spend time on today won’t even be a part of the equation in the future.


The 5 trends that will radically change recruiting in the future are:

  1. No one will want to work for you: When you look out over that vast forest of cubicles they will be either empty or they will be populated with people you've never seen before because the majority of your resources will be “just in time” contractors and consultants brought in to get a project done.
  2. Resources will be for sale in a giant resource bazaar: When you need to find someone you don’t post a job you surf a network.
  3. You won’t just hire a person, you’ll hire their network: People will be much more comfortable working together to solve problems. The best resources don’t just show up with good individual skills, they show up with a network of resources that can help get the job done. (Think that is far fetched – talk to a Director, Producer or Editor in the entertainment industry!)
  4. Middle management will (finally) go away: Middle management was created because people couldn't manage 100 direct reports. In the future, 100 direct reports won’t be a problem anymore. Work will be done in work units naturally structured around projects and work clusters. Everyone will follow the rules because they will be built into the project workflow application.
  5. No one will get benefits from their employer: Because people will stop working full time for only one company, people will get their insurance through co-ops and exchanges. Companies are lousy at benefits anyway!

In this new world HR will serve as a resource coordinator. HR will be like a grand orchestra leader, making sure that all the moving parts are there when you need them, can play to the same sheet of music and can come in on the right beat. Think in terms of the Player Personnel function on sports teams.


And such beautiful music it will be. Play on maestros! 


Views: 1543

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on November 26, 2012 at 7:16pm
Sounds interesting, but not sure how this could be applied to traditional sales roles, and many operational/support functions. And certainly not in a union shop.
Comment by Will Thomson on November 26, 2012 at 11:30pm

Interesting and thought provoking post.  Thanks for the read.  I was observing a lot of #1 today.  I never thought I would see a day when more people prefered to be contractors over a FTE, but you may be on to something.

Comment by Lee on November 27, 2012 at 9:19am

I think there may a grain of truth to some of what you are writing, especially #3, but only in the narrow field of office work. When the careers we are recruiting do not have "sitting in a chair" as a major component of the work day, this does not apply. Whether it is direct service, program delivery, healthcare, transportation or education, cubicles are not where people work.

Teams are very important and every team needs leaders, which you may be calling middle management. In my sector, I see the loss of middle management as a huge downfall. There is little strategic direction, almost no institutional memory and the weakest link can become the office hero.

This, combined with a desire for higher accountability with lower budgets mean mistakes will become mountains because no one is taking care of the molehills.

You number 1 is a symptom of the other 4. Perhaps we will go down the road you have mapped out, but it will be a short-lived trend as well, or maybe I just hope so.

Comment by Christopher Perez on November 27, 2012 at 9:21am

Will, I actually have that conversation with selected candidates on a fairly regular basis. As I'm teasing out their motivations and aspirations, some people will come across as natural freelancers or entrepreneurs. It's kind of fun to ask "this may sound crazy coming from a recruiter, but have you ever thought about going into business for yourself?" The reactions are always interesting and instructive. Most people seem to appreciate the chance to openly discuss it with an objective sounding board (me). They will lay out their enthusiasm, their reservations, their questions about timing, feasibility, etc. It is satisfying to encourage people while evaluating what it is they're really looking for, which I then apply to my clients' needs. I learn a lot this way.

Sorry if this was a bit tangential but it does speak to Jerry's #1 prognostication...

Comment by Todd Oldfield on November 27, 2012 at 9:21am

Personally, I dont we are near to the point that a hiring authority will consider hiring a team, over an individual. Heck, a lot of companies have problems picking 1 person... but to pick a whole team that come together as a package deal... I cannot imagine their hiring "committee" getting on the same page there.

Comment by Todd Lempicke on November 27, 2012 at 9:24am

HR seems to be one of the more likely functions to be outsourced, so my guess is that we will need stronger and more agile middle management to make sure the operational and business goals are met. Imagine trying to develop a product with a bunch of JIT contractors that are not well managed.

Comment by Christopher Perez on November 27, 2012 at 9:54am

Todd O., in my industry (continuing medical education) I'm seeing a few attempts to pilot test this team-hire approach. The prevailing business model in CME is to rely on industry grants to fund each project. Some companies are reluctant to overcommit to FTE resources as the grant pipeline ebbs and flows. One company is openly seeking a "team in a box" to pursue and deliver projects in a very narrow subject area. It will be interesting to see if this takes hold, and it gives me some ideas about adjusting my efforts accordingly. Either way, I'll be watching closely. But to your point, this is an isolated example and is specific to the vagaries of my field.

Comment by Will Thomson on November 27, 2012 at 12:31pm

Chris- I like the spin.  I tend to ask the same kind of question. The post about Gen Y was interesting to me, and then this post.  A different generation is here to stay & it will take some creativeness on the recruiters part to convince candidates that the career they are looking for is with a specific company.  Not that it can't be done.  Candidates want to gain as much experience as possible to make them more marketable, and being non-commital is an easy out if another opportunity arises that interests them.

Comment by stephenbooth.uk on November 27, 2012 at 12:37pm

Todd O.  I read that bit as when you hire one person there is an expectation that when handed a task they will reach out to their contacts for information and assistance, not that you hire someone and they bring their own team with them.  There's a saying, unfortunately mostly associated with Network Marketing, about having 1% of 100 people's effort rather than 100% of 1 person's effort.  I think that applies here.

For that to happen I think we'd need big changes in how companies operate and probably the suicide of most corporate security managers and their directors.  Companies will have to get used to the idea of company information going outside that company.  This already happens to a degree 'under the radar' now, but it would have to grow massively and be much more overt.  One necessary result of this would be that development lead times would have to shrink as any remotely savvy competitor would pick up these discussions in their environmental scanning and be able to deduce what a company may be planning.

Comment by stephenbooth.uk on November 27, 2012 at 12:41pm

We're just coming out of a 5 year recession.  I wonder how much of this is based on that fact. More people are ready to go contracting rather than be employees, probably because that's the only type of work they can find because employers won't commit to perm as easily as they did in better economies?  I'm wary of extrapolating too much from the trends of recent years.


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