As we prepare for the biggest HR technology conference in the world next week in Chicago, USA; I thought I would give us all something to think about as we pack our bags and prepare for the journey. Even if you are not going to be in attendance, thinking about the future is more important than ever related to HR/workforce technology and in today’s world of social media, be sure to follow the conference on hashtag #HRTECHCONF for news and commentary live from the event.
One of the things that I have been thinking a ton about lately is “what is HR’s rallying cry” to truly transform the things they are doing and how they are working. I think that we all know that through generations and generations of technology; mainframe to DOS to Windows to Client/Server to Internet 1.0 – most of all HR technology implementations have taken what we have done in previous generations of technology and “played them forward”. We are still storing name. We are still storing department. We are still storing organizational hierarchy as finance needs it, not as how HR needs it and we are still storing our biggest competitive weapon, our talent data, in silos and subsystems instead of pulling it all together. Well guess what, all protests need a mission and all revolutions need a rallying cry; I would say for HR that painting the picture of Workforce 2020 and how “ill prepared” the enterprise is for this picture of 2020 is the rallying cry that HR needs to create and execute a technology strategy for 2020, not for 2013.
Workforce 2020 will be one that will only be mobile – the age of the desktop/laptop will be past us and we will be connecting to real-time processes and technologies from wherever we are, whenever we want instead of still thinking about VPN’s, company issued hardware and being “on-premise” to use tools. We will have replaced our company intranets with internal social networks and we will have realized that “the cloud” isn’t a trend or a fad, but truly a tool to transform business forever. Will we have all done this, no. Should we all be thinking this today, NO DOUBT!
A few other interesting things to think about:
- Workforce 2020 will include 5 generations of people working together for the first time ever. This will create massive “change management” and “adoption” challenges for HR and the business going forward related to HR technology.
- Workforce 2020 will not “take part” in HR processes just to comply with the business. If a process is to be performed by the workforce, it will need to be integrated into their daily work, not a separate, discrete activity to support an internal function.
- Cloud, mobile and social will be the only way – the concepts that we are thinking are “way out there” and too early for us will be the only way that we work and will not be called out as categories, trends, fads, etc as they are today. Just think about that, very exciting for all of us and the earlier we start thinking that way the better.
- The future of HR’s role will continue to shift from transactional to talent. From transaction to interaction and from inward to outward focus. Think about the competencies you have in your organization today, in your brain today and what you will need going forward.
- The business will move faster and in a more agile, fluid way then even today. Many of the companies that exist today will be gone because they haven’t begun to think in the ways I have spoken about above and a new age of companies will be pushing our path forward. Where will you be? Hmm
As many of you know, I speak 3-4 times per week with CHRO’s, CIO’s, CEO’s from companies around the world. These are not really predictions above but guarantees and the question I have is, are you prepared and acting today to prepare for tomorrow.
Lets go back to the premise of the blog. Workforce 2020 is HR’s Y2K. We need a rallying cry. We need a future to look towards. Why not Workforce 2020. Remember Y2K? There were books about it.
- The world was going to blow up
- Payroll wasn’t going to work
- Electricity was going to be gone
- We all waited for calls about our systems not working knowing there was nothing we could do about it
Guess what, we all survived and in most cases, we used the rallying cry of Y2K to create a better infrastructure for our organizations going forward. We need that same level of investment today in HR, talent, and social/collaborative technologies that we had back in the mid-late 90′s. You see, the reason none of the tragedies stated above happened is because we planned. We planned. We planned.
Workforce 2020, or if your organization is ready, Workforce 2015 is a rallying cry for HR to think different and from this point forward, realize that the mission is different, the audience is different, the role of technology is different and how we work will be different. You don’t start preparing in 2018, in 2016, you start preparing today. Those that are ready soonest will have a tremendous competitive advantage that others will not be able to catch up to.
Are you ready? Join me on our journey forward together to change how people work forever.
Another infusion of knowledge…