By 2020, human resources departments will have to deal with challenges unique to all previous generations, suggest the authors of a ground-breaking view of the future of the workplace.
Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd, authors of “The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today,” remind us that never before in history have we experienced four or even five generations in the workplace, as is happening now.
The challenge is that each generation has its own unique set of beliefs, values and expectations.
There are other aspects that make the next four years precedent-setting as well.
For example, we are witnessing for the first time generations of workers showing up in the workplace who are used to using technology that is far more advanced than what is offered in their workplace.
We are also being challenged and finding it possible to assemble work teams from all around the globe, and to build collaborative work teams from a variety of different geographic locations, all working simultaneously on one project.
If that’s not enough to cope with, we have also entered an era where there is a tremendous amount of pressure on corporations to add value to the world and be socially responsible.
Human resources professionals coping with this new world will have to find innovative ways to blend their generations and their teams of onsite and off-site workers. They will also have to recruit with new technology to ensure they reach the labor pool they need.
How will companies cope?
Expect to see a broader use of social media and technology that could range from using YouTube for orientation contests or Twitter for sourcing good candidates.
Expect a greater emphasis on blending generations and encouraging a climate of respect where they all learn from each other. It will not be unusual in the next five years to see a 70-year-old and a 20-year-old teamed on a project, each working collaboratively to ensure completion.
The mobile phone is expected to become the tool of choice for just about everything from accepting employment contracts to checking schedules and benefits. But if this suggests a further blurring of the work/life line, that is true. Look to millennials to lead in the revolution of making a more seamless integration between work time and personal time as employees accept that flexibility needs to be a reality.
For the workers, there will be changes too. Look for renewed emphasis on personal branding and the slow and inevitable demise of the “company” worker. The new free agent worker in the gig economy will be a human Geiger counter, seeking the well of pay and bonuses, and moving from source to source when one dries up.
Companies who are aware of these trends and are planning on strategies now to function effectively within them will be the benefactors of the future.