People’s expectations of work and the organisations they work with are changing rapidly. This is influenced by important global factors, including advances in technology and artificial intelligence, societal and demographic changes, increasing economic and political uncertainty, and changing consumer behaviour. This has culminated in fundamental questions being asked about the future of our organisations, how they should be structured, and what constitutes ‘work’. There are seismic shifts happening around the future of work and workplaces, redefining what people want and expect from their experience working with organisations.
Without doubt, the general trend is that people are demanding more choice and freedom in the way they work, and they are thinking much more about why they choose to work for an organisation in the first place.
What does this mean for the future of HR?
It is time to reconnect with what it means to be human and to be fully alive at work. If our organisations are to thrive and people are to flourish, it will be an experience which caters for our humanness which will ultimately succeed.
We believe HR needs to change and adapt quickly with this context in mind. Our world is increasingly uncertain, volatile and complex. HR cannot afford to be reactive and be on the periphery of this debate, it needs to be brave and rethink approaches to embrace the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. These opportunities are centred in a desire for human connection and belonging. It is time to reconnect with what it means to be human and to be fully alive at work. If our organisations are to thrive and people are to flourish, it will be an experience which caters for our humanness which will ultimately succeed. In order to achieve this, HR is going to have to work hard to change established norms and fixed leadership mindsets. Instead of thinking ‘how can we get the best out of our employees?’, we need to be thinking ‘how do we give our best for our employees?’.
HR is also going to have to work in some radically different ways which it has historically not been conditioned and equipped to do. Again, all of this represents an exciting opportunity to do things differently, and much better from a human perspective. It is essential that HR leads by example by moving away from a traditional and outdated mindset rooted in compliance and enforcement of internal rules and corporate bureaucracy.
HR should be the catalyst to lead and embrace this change to humanise workplaces. Workplace communities anchored with a clear purpose, where people come together and feel safe to do their best work for all their stakeholders is the future. The old rigid hierarchies and fixed working patterns are already disappearing for many organisations.
Lots of HR teams have already started this journey of positive change. Increasing numbers of organisations focus on the ’employee experience’. This is a huge step in the right direction. But we can go further, we need to be talking about the ‘human experience’ at work, and to reflect the blurring of boundaries between work and the rest of our lives. We are human beings first, employees second. It is the ‘Human’ not the resources bit of HR which really matters when it comes to people at work.