HR Strategy of the Future

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A recurring theme at the SHRM conference is that the world is rapidly changing, and it’s essential that HR professionals adapt accordingly. And Gary Kushner, President and CEO of Kushner & Company, an HR strategy and employee benefits consulting firm based in Portage, Mich., held a session Monday morning that was right in line with that concept.

He spoke about five global trends that impact how work is performed in organizations today and tomorrow, and how leaders need to rethink many of their HR strategies in light of these new realities.

The first reality is technological advancement. Twenty-four seven connectivity has changed the way many of us work, said Kushner. People respond to work emails at all hours. Organizations now expect faster responses. As technology continues to evolve, he argued, organizations will need to have a clear view of the kind of expectations they have of their staff.

Second, Kushner addressed outsourcing. He said that in the “old days,” organizations only outsourced non-core capabilities. But over time, some began to outsource core capabilities, and a few have taken it too far. He referenced a major U.S. computer maker that had to pull back on its decision to have some of its call-center support, which most would consider a core competency, based in North America rather than abroad.

Senior leaders and HR professionals, said Kushner, “will have to think about the proper balance of how, and where and who does our work.”

He then looked at demographics and diversity, stating that soon, there will be five generations in the workforce at the same time, where in the past, there were only three. Kushner said companies will need to reexamine their whole HR planning process to determine “how you will grow and develop folks when that pyramid isn’t moving people out so younger people can move up,” he said. “This will be an HR challenge around the world.”

The fourth global trend Kushner mentioned is changing worker values and attitudes. Employees now work to live instead of live to work. And if they are no longer defining themselves by the work they do, companies will need to come up with new and interesting ways to keep employees engaged.

Globalization was the fifth global trend. Kushner discussed how one fast food company used resources in other locations to take orders at their drive-through windows, leading to a savings of ten seconds per transaction. So companies will need to consider globalization when devising HR strategies that drive organizational effectiveness.

He wrapped his discussion by saying these five trends mean that work is going to be conducted in geographically disparate locations; that there will be a need for a reexamination of how work gets done; and that there should be new leadership communication paradigms explaining these global, technological, organizational and generational shifts to staff.

Kushner then concluded his discussion by stating that an organization’s competitive advantage will be getting the right people at the right place at the right time. “Your organization wants you to figure out the HR strategy of the future,” he told the audience. And when they do that, “your organizations will be wildly successful into the future.”

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