HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Future Human Capital Trends: How to Hire 5 to 10 Years from Now

In part one of this article, I spoke with Brad Denny, Principal at Deloitte, to discuss what its “2019 Human Capital Trends Report” found about what work will look like in 5–10 years and the value of social enterprises. In the conclusion of the interview, we’ll look at the business-critical impact of the human element at work, what hiring will look like in the next 5–10 years, and some of the more surprising findings of the report.

Source: Tashatuvango / shutterstock

HR Daily Advisor: People have been talking about the importance of the human element in business for a long time. What’s different this time?

Denny: The difference this time is that there is a clear business imperative. We are well into the fourth Industrial Revolution, yet we continue to see productivity lag behind what we have witnessed in past industrial revolutions. It is not due to technology, as technology continues to improve at a tremendous pace. It is not about the individual because individuals are adopting technology rapidly in their personal lives. The reason is at the intersection of the individual and the organization. To solve this, organizations need to reinvent themselves with a human focus along the following five human principals for the social enterprise:

  • Purpose and meaning: giving organizations and individuals a sense of purpose at work and moving beyond profit to a focus on doing good things for individuals, customers, and society
  • Ethics and fairness: using data, technology, and systems in an ethical, fair, and trusted way; and creating jobs and roles to train systems and monitor decisions to make sure they are fair
  • Growth and passion: designing jobs, work, and organizational missions to nurture passion and a sense of personal growth; and affording people the opportunities to create and add their own personal touch
  • Collaboration and personal relationships: building and developing teams, focusing on personal relationships, and moving beyond digital to build human connections at work
  • Transparency and openness: sharing information openly, discussing challenges and mistakes, and leading and managing with a growth mind-set

HR Daily Advisor: How can HR and recruiters approach hiring over the next 5 or 10 years?

Denny: HR and recruiters will look toward acquiring capabilities, not necessarily full-time hires. This will involve three key changes:

  • First and foremost, organizations should look much more strategically at moving current employees into available opportunities across the enterprise. This is a key differentiator for both recruiting and talent. An internal hire need not be a “perfect” fit for a role to be afforded an opportunity for growth or skills development. A forthcoming Josh Bersin study with General Assembly will show that reskilling an internal hire (such as teaching a math major to code) may take a year or so, but it can be done for as little as one-sixth the cost of hiring an external candidate. Moving current employees into available opportunities is easier said than done. Forty-five percent of this year’s survey respondents said that their employees lack information on available roles inside their organization. Not surprisingly, 56% of our respondents told us that it was easier for people to find a new job at an outside organization than with their current employer.
  • The second source of talent is the “alternative workforce”—people who work in gig arrangements, as contractors, as contingent workers, or in other nontraditional arrangements. This tactic appears to be especially relevant for companies looking for ways to flex their workforces in response to changing business conditions. It can also be an important factor for employers in countries where strict labor laws, high severance requirements, company-specific agreements with workers’ councils, and other factors create an environment where hiring full-time employees is often less appealing due to difficulties with layoffs as business conditions change.
  • Finally, the explosion of new technology will allow HR and recruiting to use data to find, source, and select candidates more efficiently, taking a data-driven, expedited approach to hiring. It will also allow for the focus on capabilities (human traits and skills that map to the highest-performing workers in certain roles) to source talent based on those capabilities instead of job descriptions. This will open up new pools of talent that may not have expensive college degrees.

HR Daily Advisor: Did your report find anything truly surprising about the direction of HR over the next 5 or 10 years?

Denny: We found a number of things. Organizations plan to continue to invest substantially in HR technology, leveraging the cloud as a launch pad to bring in HR process and cognitive automations, AI, and even unified engagement platforms for their workers. The more we looked at HR over the next 5 to 10 years, the more we found that there are a number of open questions that organizations will want and need to ask themselves about the role of HR and its role in people and workforce management—questions such as:

  • What will the future HR organization be responsible for? Will HR redesign jobs? Organize work? Drive growth? Deploy and develop teams? Integrate learning and work?
  • What capabilities will HR require to carry out these responsibilities?
  • How will HR cultivate workforce engagement? In a future defined by multiple talent models across multiple worker types, how will HR partner with business leaders to create integrated, meaningful work and learning experiences for people whose careers may span 50 years in a 100-year life?
  • With the rise of the social enterprise, how does the organization’s talent brand relate to its corporate brand? What is the envisioned relationship among the HR, marketing, and customer experience organizations? Is there still a CHRO, CMO, and CCO, or do these executive roles morph into new ones?
  • Given that HR models and operations have historically been based on stable business processes and staffing models, how will HR operations need to be reimagined in a world of constantly shifting networks and teams?
  • How will HR operations need to change in order to access, curate, and engage a workforce that includes both traditional employees and a variety of alternative worker types?
  • How will HR use technology, including AI technology, to reinvent itself? How can this enable HR to lead the reinvention of the business?
  • Will HR continue to exist in its current form or even at all?