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: 1540

Comment by Jerry D. Thurber on November 27, 2012 at 1:27pm

Todd O - Stephen is right - it is no that you will "hire" a group of people is is that the people you hire will be more likely (even more so than they are today) to use their network to help them solve problems. I see this happening in info tech positions all the time - I think this will expand. 

Comment by Jerry D. Thurber on November 27, 2012 at 1:30pm

Stephen - I think the trends are less driven by the recession and more by the changes in 1) enabling technologies; 2) Changing attitudes toward work; 3) Companies tendency to be less "loyal" to employees; 4) Crowd sourcing; 5) Gen Y work preferences. Guess we'll see!

Comment by stephenbooth.uk on November 27, 2012 at 2:23pm

1) Yes, enabling technologies will make for a more mobile workforce.  I see that, however, as being more about changing jobs, and even careers, more often, working non-traditional hours and being more likely to have two or more partime jobs (one of which may be casual/contract based) than being about a rejection of the perm employee status.  Over the last decade or so I've seen a lot of colleagues who have a perm job but also run a side business of an evening or weekend, write books (mostly in technical fields where there isn't scope to do that as a full time job and you need to be doing the job to have something to write about), teach or take working holidays.

2) Again from what I've seen that's more of a move towards more frequent job hopping.

3) That's a function of economic conditions, when the economy is bad and the there's lots of people unemployed company loyalty goes out the window about the same time as the training budget.  When things improve and suddenly it's harder to find people with the skills they need company loyalty (or at least the outward appearance of it) makes a big come back and employees are treated more like people and less like walking cost reduction targets.

4) Crowd sourcing is a dying beast.  It's still roaring and lashing out but it's got too many lances in it to last much longer.  There are a significant number of people who will take a long time to admit it's dead, but it's dying.  I see the future being less about crowd sourcing and nmore about targetted questioning.  When I have a problem I'm less likely to blast a question out to my network or hit a general forum web site.  I'll target my question to the 2 or 3 people in my network who might be able to help or are likely to know someone who might be able to help.

5) Sure, Gen Y.  Do not forget that those of us in Gen X still have another 25-40 years left in the work force.  I'm 42 and don't expect to retire till I'm 70 at the earliest.  Just as the Boomers and Pre-X/Post-Boomers have out numbered the Gen Xers for decades, we Gen-Xers will outnumber the Gen-Ys for a while.

We'll see.


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