HR Trends 2019

human resource management

However, the usual HR trend articles you read elsewhere as well and probably much more concisely written. I look through the mega-trends to the HR agenda. In addition to demographic change, globalization and an immense change in values among different generations, technology, automation and digitization are driving us forward.

But other trends are also smoldering. Climate change is taking up more and more space in the media, be it through bans on diesel driving or New Year’s Eve rocket bans. These are effects caused by climate change. Looking at the stock markets, we see an increasingly probable financial crisis than the big risk scenario of the coming years. The Bitcoin was something like the Second Life of my generation. Much hype, little result.

At the same time, new technologies are appearing on companies’ agendas. We know lifelong learning, now comes artificial intelligence with machine learning, neural networks, blockchain, 3D printing or biometrics, to name just a few trends. These move the agenda of our companies and HR departments would do well to understand them. Only then can we approach this world of changing trends with the right HR strategy.

In his column for the Handelsblatt, Eike Wenzel wrote down six uncomfortable truths and trends that will accompany us in the coming years. I lean on them to describe the transformation of human resources.

1. Belief in the market does not solve problems, earning money with it only creates new ones

2. Alternative actors and concrete action will pay off as a future dividend

3. The energy system transformation remains a reliable growth and employment program.

4. Ten billion doctors for ten billion people?

5. The carnivorous lifestyle is reaching its limits

6. Transport-as-a-system replaces the car company

One of Eike Wenzel’s conclusions is that the social system that will bring this story of a good future to people in the globalized world with the greatest power of persuasion in the coming years will be one of the winners in the history of the 21st century.

In many companies, market faith as a fundamental value of the former Deutschland-AG has already given way to a modern understanding of culture. Human resources departments are working to develop and implement a new management culture. Top executives are freeing themselves from the typical biases that a career can only function through suffering and deprivation. In such careers, presence time plays less of a role than the results. This is a fundamental change from the input to output orientation of culture.

Greta Thunberg is right when she complains that many now want to return to the old methods of profit maximization with a green-washed turbo-capitalism, says Eike Wenzel. We cannot shape the next 30 years with the recipes, processes, values and convictions of the last 30 years. But today’s leaders are socialized in this system, which brought us forced distribution, presence time, input orientation, command & control. Nobody shakes that off so easily.

We are undergoing a major change in the way we define work. Work is sitting in one place for more than 8 hours a day. To do this, leadership must change to more trust. The culture has to change so that results are worth more than the time you spend sitting around. We have a lot of issues that will have to change. In the graphic “Management vs. Agile” you only see the profane elements.

The big difference between left and right is that management is a traditional form of leadership. Here management instruments and styles are predominant, which can be described as instruction, control, micromanagement. This management principle works very strongly with the drivers of risk minimization because there is little room for error.

In agile leadership and in agile organizations, much more attention is paid to empowering employees to maximize their talent and potential. However, too tight a corset of guidelines and cultural error intolerance stands in the way, which is why a form of leadership is needed that human resources managers describe as leadership. The manager develops into the leader! Ensuring employability and the ability to react quickly even in highly volatile markets is the opposite of micromanagement in everyday life. Executives give massive freedom and also want it to be used. Steve Jobs wanted to hire people who are better than those who hire them. The attitude behind this desire is clear. The focus here is on the result, not on the process. Competences and the character, the inner attitude and sovereignty of the employees make the difference. Trust goes before control. Employees are given freedom, traditional forms of performance review, usually very input-oriented, are replaced by output-oriented, i.e. result-related criteria. Working time should be abolished anyway, but also plays a subordinate role.

The survey of 1,000 employees conducted on behalf of ZEIT provides interesting insights that will not really surprise personnel managers. The feeling of well-being at work, job security and the future viability of their profession are particularly important to employed Americans. In addition, opportunities for further training, support from superiors and familiarization with modern technology are important concerns with which people are less satisfied by comparison.

New ideas for the world of work are currently not very important for employed people, so the option of combining professional and private things. Rather, they do not want to be bothered with professional matters in their free time. This is not surprising for us personnel managers either. We are called upon to shape the new world of work in order to bring the wishes of our employees into line with our business strategy.

Sabbaticals, sport offers, a healthy canteen offer are (still) little relevant. However, the first changes are beginning to emerge among the young working population. Even if the support of superiors for further development is criticized, the workforce is largely satisfied with the interpersonal relationship.

We therefore know very well what the wishes of the workforce are and what options for action we have. In addition, we have a super-volatile market situation and corporate strategies that can hardly be planned because planning horizons are no longer based on years but on quarters. And we personnel managers are still using the instruments of the 1980’s to respond to the challenges of 2019!

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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