Preparing for “The 2020 Workplace”

board meeting

Take a moment to think back to the year 2000. How has your job changed since then? How has your HR department evolved in keeping employees productive and engaged?

In 2000, if you had known then what the workplace of 2011 would look like, what would you have done differently to prepare? How are you preparing for the next 10 years? In my book, The 2020 Workplace, there are some valuable predictions on the future workplace and ways to get ready for the inevitable changes.

  1. Global talent shortage. Even with five generations in the same workforce, there will not only be a shortage of workers, but also certain skills. Technological developments in new products and services will create a demand for new jobs requiring complex skills — skills many of the older generation won’t have. Also, the continuing presence of older workers on the job will mean an increased incidence and duration of a disability. In the end, initiatives that retain employees will be more important.
  2. Teams vs. individuals. Companies are seeing the value and success of hiring and training an entire team to tackle business problems. Team members will know each other’s strengths and will be able to more quickly identify new opportunities for the organization. Having to replace a member of the team, however — whether it’s because of a leave or another reason — is difficult to do, and can be costly. HR should always try to help get employees back to work as soon as possible to get the team running again at full efficiency.
  3. Corporate social networks. When companies see the power of extending the reach and scale of conversations, employees will start to develop new skills sets and become more innovative. This is also helpful to employees who may be out on leave. They can still communicate with colleagues and stay involved.
  4. The triple bottom line. This is the focus on profit, planet and people. While the first two are very important to a company, employers should always try to look inside their own walls first and do things for employees. Then, they can concentrate on their profits and doing good things for the community.

Ways to prepare
HR has the potential to bring about change in an organization. Here are two important ways to get started:

  1. Personalize the employee experience. Start by allowing employees to select their own desktop equipment and tools within a range of set options. Building and developing personalized workspaces helps employees remain productive, and also makes them feel valued.
  2. Create an inclusive culture. Build a welcoming corporate environment and brand that suits diversity and a range of needs and personalities. Recognize the needs of those five generations and make positive changes to accommodate them.

By adopting a proactive approach that is focused on keeping employees at work, employers can make positive changes happen within their organizations. These are changes that can attract, retain and motivate skilled individuals. Continue learning about winning strategies for HR by viewing or downloading the “Re-defining HR: Winning Strategies” webinar below.

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Jeanne Meister is a guest blogger for The Standard’s Workplace Possibilities blog. The views expressed by Jeanne are hers alone and do not state the views of Standard Insurance Company or any of its affiliates.

Jeanne Meister1
About guest blogger Jeanne Meister
Meister is an internationally recognized expert in workplace innovations and corporate learning. She is the author of two books on corporate universities, and a co-author of The 2020 Workplace and a Harvard Business Review article, “Mentoring Millennials.” Meister is a former vice president of market development at Accenture.

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