Much is being said and written about the Future Organisation: any HR magazine you open or website you visit these days pictures a glooming time ahead for HR. Nothing will remain as we know it … ongoing change is here to stay … who doesn’t act right now is doomed for ever… Agility, Resilience, Artificial Intelligence, … never have we been hit with so many new buzz words … Much ado about nothing or should we really get worried?
IF the Organisation of Tomorrow will be so radically different, what are really the things we should be picking up TODAY? Let’s agree on one thing for sure: no one really knows what the Future will bring. But surely many have an opinion. As my grandmother wisely commented often when browsing through the newspaper: “the fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.” This vague and unknown Workplace 2050 terrifies the hell out of us because we have no idea where this is going. Much of the stuff you hear and read about is merely based on opinions, but does have an effect on our emotions, especially fear and uncertainty.
Staying informed is the only remedy against the hyped avalanche of trendy opinions. So that is what we have been doing for the past few years. These are the four really relevant things we discovered as common themes helping you staying successful when organizing for TOMORROW:
1. LEARN TO LEARN - INVEST IN BUILDING LEARNING CAPABILITY
People can deal with change. They have done so for thousands of year. But technology screwed up our natural ‘change capacity’. The amount AND the speed of information that impacts us at any time is just so overwhelming that it disrupts our brain. Some will respond with apathy, with anxiety, … hence burnouts, depressions, concentration disorders and many more new energy /psychological fallouts are on the rise. Our suggestion: as an HR expert, you could learn about our human capability to learn and absorb information as well as adapt your organisational processes and systems to pace and select information that matters and brings higher learning experiences. Find a new learning algorithm and build a learning place within the workplace. Technology might just be an excellent enabler here, whereby artificial intelligence can do all the learning preparatory work for us!
2. CONNECT WITH MIND & HART - ENGAGE PEOPLE AND TEAMS THROUGH PURPOSE
The overall quality of life in the world exponentially increased over the past decades. We can fulfil our basic needs and we even live longer than ever before. We have running water, fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year, reliable healthcare, housing … As a human race, our focus completely shifted away from a survival mode, allowing us to spend time thinking about what and who we would like to become. This era of self-realisation is driven by our civilization, but deeply confuses us: we shift away from living within a close community towards living solitary although we truly are social creatures; we discovered that each person can make its own choices, rather than following the rules and rites of a group – but as part of a herd we don’t want to miss out on what the others choose. And so we bring this confusion with us in the workplace: we want to be treated as individuals, but also want to be part of something bigger that we can relate to as a human beings. Dealing with this paradox of individual freedom within an inspiring team and company identity feeling is THE cultural challenge of HR folks for the coming decade. Connecting people through their purpose with the company’s WHY will positively impact the company’s profit, employee engagement and customer intimacy ratings. For that we need to allow people to bring not only their mind, but also their hearts to work.
3. BE REAL - LEAD THROUGH STRATEGY OF PROFIT, PEOPLE AND PLANET
In this world of plastic disposables, counterfeit, copycats and fake news, there is a movement towards real things and real people. The recent #metoo on Twitter is a perfect example of how “living values” becomes an important worldwide theme that can be applied to anybody whatever their background, income or power. This urge for authenticity is called out by many people across our globe and their voice shall become louder over time now that social media have enabled everyone to speak out. Also companies, as mini societies, will be measured against their behaviours and decisions from the inside but also the outside: how do we make Profit, how do we treat People, how do we preserve our Planet. Companies that truly place these 3 P’s at the core of their strategies, and hold their leaders personally accountable for role modelling them, will be recognised as value driven entities in the world and be successful and sustainable in their businesses. Enabling these authentic leadership capabilities becomes an important strategic challenge, not only for HR but for all involved in building a great workplace.
4. CREATE AN EXPERIENCE RATHER THAN A SERVICE OR PRODUCT - CUSTOMIZATION DRIVES INNOVATION, ENGAGEMENT & COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
If you truly want to win the hearts of your people and customers, you need to ensure that they can be heard at all stages of your design and build processes. Offering them what they want starts with really getting to know them: their dreams, their desires, their frustrations, their fears. The concept of design thinking originates from marketing, but is finding its way into the HR practice. Mixed with the concepts of Agile Working, Scrum and Co-creation, a powerful cocktail of working approaches has been created for HR and leaders to connect strongly and profoundly with internal employees AND the end customers. A simple but frequent feedback mechanism keeps all in tune with the needs of the customer, inside and outside. Allowing for local, individual, business specific customisations within a very flexible governance grid will enable your services and products to become a real engaging experience within the organisation. And an engaged workforce can fly to the moon and back. Faster than anyone else.