February 4, 2014 in Events (live blogging), HR Directors Business Summit 2014

The TIDES of change for HR: Five disruptive forces shaping the world of work in the next decade

#HRevent14 – Dr. Graeme Coddington

Graeme Codrington opened by talking about how the whole economy has experienced turbulent times and, despite the fact that we might be hoping that things return to ‘normal’, we appear to be on the verge of a period of deep structural change. He suggested that we’re in a period of 30 – 40 years where everything changes and we experience significant structural shifts. A key skill is to anticipate what might happen next. Whereas this used to mean looking 40 years in the future, things are changing so fast that we can only really look at the next 5 years. We can be blindsided by mahoosive changes that we don’t spot. We can’t outsource the process of watching out for these challenges and HR can play a big role in stepping up and preparing for change.


There are five drivers of disruption (the TIDES of change):


(1) Technology

The fact that many washing machines have more powerful computing power than NASA used to put man on the moon illustrates the pace of change. Does HR make the most of these opportunities?


(2) Institutional Change

All the orthodoxies in the world are experiencing deep, structural change. The way we used to do things isn’t the way we will do things. Change is becoming the new normal.


(3) Demographics

The shifts are amazing and rapid.


(4) Environment & Ethics

Everything is being reshaped.


(5) Shifting social values

The way people think about their lives are changing, as are people’s expectations of the world around them.


Rather than have a burst of thinking on an occasional basis, we need to make thinking about (and anticipating) the future a regular habit. One way of doing this is to have a regular item on team agendas so that future-watching (and responding) becomes a habit.


Google’s driverless car was cited as an example of change (and the fact that it is now legal in Las Vegas and might soon be in the UK). We were challenged to think about what our cars could do if they could ‘do their own thing’ after we got out of them. Driverless cars change everything. Once every car is driverless, then the cars can communicate with each other which presents new ways of managing traffic which, again, changes everything. This affects transport haulage, train travel, enables collaborative consumption (sharing) and has a knock-on effect across many industries.


As HR professionals, what is your ‘driverless car’? What is the shift that will change everything?


IT policies were cited as hugely damaging for employee engagement and were referred to as more HR issues than IT. The ageing workforce now has different demands and HR policies need to reflect this. Digital natives do things differently, MOOCs are starting to have a big impact.


We can’t just react and respond. We need to anticipate business trends. We need to keep the Human in Human Resources!

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