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Work as We Know It: Redefined

Everything you used to know about work? Throw it out. Human resources (HR) departments today must operate in a whole new working world – a world that requires dramatic change and innovative thinking. It challenges existing practices – how leaders are developed, how teams are engaged and how work is designed. It’s all different.

How leaders are developed

Building leadership remains paramount, as organizations confront increasing skills gaps. With more millennials taking center stage and more baby boomers approaching retirement, companies are seeing a greater demand for leadership at all levels, especially among millennials.

Studies show that by 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. An increasing number of them in this new world will work with a different perspective than their predecessors. They expect quick advancement. They encourage creative work that tests their abilities and they want the means to do this. And they have a social conscience that needs to be fed; they want to contribute to a greater good.

HR departments will need to improve leadership programs to accommodate millennials’ accelerated growth – sooner rather than later, as the capability gap grows larger.

How teams are engaged

In an era of heightened corporate transparency and greater workforce technology, engagement is a pressing issue for business and HR leaders alike. According to a Bersin by Deloitte, while 87 percent believe engagement is an important issue to address; very few have the means to measure and improve their processes. The new working world will change the way we engage people.

Due to pervasive technology, employees are more connected than ever before. And with this technology comes a new power struggle, making employees more like customers than subordinates. A company’s culture will be defined by flexibility, empowerment, development and mobility in the coming years. Engagement is no longer only HR’s concern, but will become the responsibility of every leader within an organization.           

How HR operates

The role of HR is evolving – it must be agile, data-driven and skilled in attracting, retaining and developing talent. How to meet these changing demands? This new opportunity places HR at the highest level of business strategy, and with that come new responsibilities. HR must throw out the old playbook and come to the table with innovative ideas. The new focus must be on business needs and delivering value-added solutions. The right HR technology might mean all the difference in this new world.

How work is designed

There is an increase of better and more powerful software that can automate current systems, thereby challenging HR organizations to redefine the design of work. Technology advances allow us to not only do more, but do so faster and easier. To keep up with that quickened pace, businesses must tap into their most visionary people. Moving forward, HR must continue to develop employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities in order to remain valued players.

In this new world, HR will take on a whole new life. Today, HR departments are faced with increasing demands to measure and monitor the larger culture, simplify the work environment, drive greater business impact and redesign work to help people adapt; new technology features are available to help HR meet these growing demands.

Such technology comes at a price, but according to a Bersin by Deloitte study, that is a commitment HR departments are willing to make. In 2014, HR spending grew by four percent; in the next 12 to 18 months, six in 10 companies are expected to increase HR spending. That lends itself to more opportunity for improved and upgraded technologies that positively influence HR’s organizational impact. For HR, 2015 will be a critical time of redefining the practices professionals have used for years.

This is part 1 in our blog series. Stay tuned as we take a more in-depth look at the four challenges facing HR in 2015 and beyond.