A Crystal Ball Look at the Future of HR


Forbes Magazine says it well: “The truth is that people simply aren’t very good at predicting the future. It was only two centuries ago that we began to think we could do it at all, and we’re still learning.” If any of us knew for certain the future of HR, it might completely change our focus today. But since we don’t, it’s always fun to think about what the future might look like…

The New Face of HR

Some already say that the terms “HR” and “human resources” are dated in relation to the jobs that “HR” employees are doing. New titles such as “Director of People” and “Director of Talent Management” are popping up. According to a recent BLR article, “experts and practitioners alike agree that one of the biggest challenges facing HR professionals is the ability to change their view of the essential HR function.” (BLR/Vault.com)

The new HR professional will possess a wider range of skills and a better understanding of the company’s overall strategy according to BLR. They will have a better understanding of the company’s financials and the conditions of the market they operate in. The new HR Professional will possess leadership qualities in order to be proactive rather than reactive; anticipate the needs of the organization; challenge the way things are currently being done. They will possess management skills in order to complete projects on time, manage multiple functions at once, and manage the organization’s outsourced HR services.

According to HR Management Magazine, the new HR professional is someone who “will possess a combination of technical and interpersonal skills, who can also adapt to quick changes, who thinks with an Entrepreneurial mind.” (HR Management Magazine) They further emphasize the multitude of skills that an HR professional will possess, including “the latest business management principles, technical abilities, interpersonal skills,” and they reinforce the new HR Professional will “intuitively understand the needs of the company.” Team-building skills will also be a necessary component of an HR team’s affect on the success of the organization.

The Obama Administration and Future Legislation

How will the Obama Administration and future administrations affect the face of HR? We are already starting to see new legislation and ammendments to existing legislation that affect the HR practice in a dramatic way. According to Michael D. Haberman, SPHR, author of the HR Observations blog, here is some of the legislation that will affect HR:

  • The Employee Free Choice Act – would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a union when a majority (more than 50 percent) of employees sign union authorization cards
  • The RESPECT Act – would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to modify the definition of supervisor in order to ensure that no employee is unjustly denied his or her right to join a labor union
  • The Paycheck Fairness Act – To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes
  • The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – supersedes the Supreme Court’s decision which had required a compensation discrimination charge to be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory pay-setting decision
  • Continuing Increases to the Minimum Wage

(HR Observations blog)

The Workplace of the Future

Remember the futuristic utopia that the Jetsons lived in? Robots, holograms, flying cars… This series was actually meant to take place in the year 2062, and while that’s still decades away, it doesn’t look like we’re going to be flying to work any time soon. But there have been and continue to be significant changes in the way we work.

Workforce Magazine predicts that the workplace will become much more adaptive to its workers and much less formal and structured. (Workforce Magazine) Companies will come up with more creative incentives for employees, including concierge services, pet care, and elderly care.

The way co-workers communicate might shift to inner-office social networks and wikis rather than traditional e-mail. HR Management Magazine predicts that “more than a 100 million people will telecommute to work by 2015.” (HR Management Magazine) They also predict that virtual interaction will begin to phase out face-to-face meetings. Employees will spend a lot more time collaborating online and through their organizations intranet.

Will We Be Commuting to Work in a Flying Vehicle Any Time Soon?

Probably not. But HR is definitely changing rapidly and adapting to accomodate a changing business environment. Some of these predictions might never materialize, yet some are on the verge of fruition. One thing that BLR argues will always be true – having the right people in the right place will set your company up for future success.

Sources: Forbes.com, “The Future” (http://www.forbes.com/2007/10/13/future-prediction-history-tech-future07-cx_de_mn_1015land.html); BLR/Vault.com, “The Future of HR: Are Your Prepared?” (http://www.vault.com/nr/newsmain.jsp?nr_page=3&ch_id=402&article_id=12532896&listelement=2&cat_id=1124); HR Observations, “What the Future of HR Looks like in 2009” (http://omegahrsolutions.blogspot.com/2008/10/what-future-of-hr-looks-like-in-2009.html); Workforce Management Magazine, “HR 2018: Future View” (http://www.workforce.com/section/09/feature/26/04/79/); HR Management Magazine, “The Future of HR: How to Acheive the 2020 Workplace Today” (http://www.hrmreport.com/article/Issue-8/Staffing/The-Future-of-HR–How-to-Achieve-the-2020-Workplace-Today/)

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3 Responses to A Crystal Ball Look at the Future of HR

  1. This is very up-to-date information. I think I’ll share it on Facebook.

  2. ringers1 says:

    Some great insight into the larger outsourced hr services market. I would be interested to hear more about mid- and small-market companies and how HR outsourcing trends effect them. For instance, the Healthcare Reform act (which may, or may not still be in effect in a few months), obviously hits small businesses harder than larger businesses that are already providing “approved” healthcare coverage for their employees.

  3. hrmagazine says:

    Awesome post dude I have found some cool ideas from your post that might help me to increase comments on my blog.

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