• Brad Federman

The Future of the Organization is Now

By Brad Federman

Originally Published in HR Professionals Magazine


Imagine working in an environment where the risk of a project failing is increasingly high, destructive technology is available to rogue governments and individuals at large, economic stability is in question at times, and/or a pandemic poses a global risk.  It should not be that difficult to imagine.  We are getting a taste of that at the moment.  How prepared is your organization?  How prepared is your people strategy?  How prepared are your people?

In the next ten years your world will change faster and to a greater extent than at any time in the past.  Imagine a workplace where Human Resources ceases to exist as a function because of automation, outsourcing and contracted teams.  As far-fetched as that seems you must be ready for anything, for what is around the corner will seem foreign to many and may cause you to suffer mental vertigo if not prepared. 

Admittedly it is difficult to predict the future as there are many complex forces at play and unpredictable events.  However we can share trends and there potential impact.  Below you will learn about 4 trends that will undoubtedly shape the future workplace.

The Sharing of Talent

The employer-employee contract was broken years ago, and it has been evolving ever since.  We have moved into an era, expectedly so, where talent is very focused on themselves.  There is a “me” mentality.  Employees realize that they will have to create income for up to 50 years of their life.  Their desire to be sharper and more marketable is driving their choices.  At the same time they are becoming increasingly comfortable being in the driver’s seat and contracting for work.  The gig mentality is growing.  Organizations will lose the ability to maintain the mindshare of their people as they search for the best use of their time and career.   Organizations will share talent.  Boundaries will disappear. In some ways that will benefit organizations.  They will have talent when they need it.  However they will have to compete to get the best.  Will gig workers organize?  Will they get representation?  What will that new frontier look like? Will organizations and institutions still hold the power or will it move toward individual?

The Virtual Organization

For years we have thought about organizations by location and function.  As we progress our teams will continue to become more cross-functional and lack a geographic definition.  They will be driven by three trends. 

First, growth will happen in developing countries and wealth distribution will shift towards those areas.  One reason for this will be their significant population growth that will feed the talent pool. 

The second reason for this is that talent will move to places they view as desirable, not where organizations are located.  Knowledge workers crave and will deliberately select locations that cultivate their creativity and growth. 

The third trending force will be technology and the ability to work with others regardless of location.  We are already feeling the initial effects of this change.  However in the future it will become more of the norm.  If you want creativity, insight, and talent virtual will be the name of the game.  Borders and boundaries will fade away to a large extent.   Knowledge is not contained or bound.  It exists across geographic, political or economic borders.  Think of a workplace as a space where people, global networks, meet up to share, learn and create.

Insights over Data

Data analytics.  We all know what it is and have deemed it important.  Organizations have spent exorbitant amounts of money to gather data.  Human Resources has focused on HR analytics.  But are we smarter for all that time and money spent?  Many would argue we are not.  We drown in data and yet we still lack wisdom.  Insight/Vision created from data will become the next currency.  Those with the talent to help organizations make better use of data and make sense of information will drive the next phase of economic growth.  Those insights will be spawned by people with special talents.  While workplaces will still gather data and use technology, they will be constructed around people. 

Instability and Unexpected Change

Change is inevitable.  Asia will rise in power with China eventually becoming the largest economy.  New economic partnerships and powerhouses will dwarf the European Union.  Terrorists will continue to exist and create disruptions to political structures and economies.  However, their tactics and approach change.  Terrorists will look to attack our technology infrastructures more and more.  Experts also expect more pandemics to occur over the next decade.  All of these trends will force organizations to manage security issues without harming their ability to be flexible and shift on a dime.  That will be a major challenge.  More security means difficulty communicating, working, sharing information and more.  Those two goals typically conflict with one another.  Those that can crack that nut will win. 

Regardless of how these trends play out one thing is almost certain.  We will have to build flexible teams out of contracted, gig-mentality individuals that are located across the globe in areas they deem desirable, moving faster than organizations of today and that our current regulations will allow while still making a profit in times of massive change and uncertainty.  So…how prepared are you?

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