Home' HR Monthly : HRM HRM06 DecJan 2015 Contents 6
TO RECAP, THE SEVEN GLOBAL TRENDS COMBINING TO
reshape our modern workplaces are:
1. Globalisation in competition throughout all public and private workplaces.
2. Demographic changes to the workplace, especially with ageing and
female participation leading to a very comprehensive set of diversity
drivers at work.
3. The impact of technological changes on employment market restructuring.
4. The impact of technological changes on how and where work is
5. The need to quality-assure formal educational outcomes to ensu re new
workers are job ready, and also to provide continuous learning for
those on the job.
6. The domination of smart work in new employment patterns, and in
helping to fulfill demands for better work-life balance.
7. Tensions around income distribution between wages and profits, and the
need for regional fairness in how growth is managed and distributed.
So where is the role of HR headed on these seven inexorable waves of change?
The first priority focus for our profession is the newly emerging,
vastly different profile of the modern worker. Hundreds of millions of
women are pouring into the future workforce, which is also becoming
multigenerational as older workers stay on the job for longer (or seek to)
and workplaces become extraordinarily diverse and more cross-cultural.
Older male and female workers are carrying on for reasons of
engagement linked to their longevity, and also to redress under-
provisions in their retirement income, for whatever reason. Training
and retraining them to maintain and sustain application of their
corporate knowledge will be a stronger HR priority in future, as will
making their work arrangements more flexible.
New workplace youth are more mobile, and HR’s job will be to fi nd
innovative ways to keep them more highly engaged, and thereby reduce
their turnover and avoid all the costly flow-on: replacement recruitments,
inductions and unnecessary ‘repeats’ to core training efforts.
Meanwhile, the greater female participation rates will drive the need
for more flexible working arrangements, and also to search out and
secure more female mentors and role models, so the careers of younger
women can achieve their full potential.
Furthermore, our profession will need to respond to more intense
cross-cultural and workplace diversity characteristics, with innovation
in workforce planning and appropriate management. AHRI and EIU
research studies have concluded that companies need to steal the march
on these issues to pre-empt unnecessary and unhelpful government
intervention and regulation over the same sets of challenges.
The divide between qualifications obtained and the skills organisations
need will drive somewhat different skills into the HR profession itself.
Firstly, vigilance in search and recruitment has intensified – to confirm
both formal qualification validity and value, especially across an increasing
number of geographically diverse sources of formal education. H R’s learning
and development function will also increase in importance as continuous
education to maintain relevance in an organisation becomes more critical.
Worker engagement is the continuing Achilles heel of organisational
life. In a recent Gallup survey, Australia did better than most countries,
with 24 per cent engagement. But we still have 60 per cent neutral and
16 per cent turned off.
Some of the solutions are to be found in reward and incentive
systems. Active talent management programs, innovative use of new
technology, more effective workplace flexibility, and
more modern leadership management models are
other keys to success on this front.
Finally, technology and globalisation have
increased the use of multinational teams and
virtual teamwork models. The key challenges
here for H R are optimising global incentive and
performance systems, improving com munications
training for these teams, and actively managing the
risks without being heavy-handed at the same time.
Master these new challenges and you’ll
serve your organisation well,
especially with predictions that
more mergers and acquisitions,
with greater global reach, will
occur in the future. If you can
update the HR kit of skills
accordingly, you will have the
template for integrating many
co-workers into your successful
THE FUTURE STARTS NOW
Last month’s column explored the seven major workplace challenges that have emerged
over the past 10 years. But what do these challenges mean for our profession?
BY PETER WILSON AM, AHRI CHAIRMAN
To read past Perspective
columns by Peter Wilson, visit
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