The Future of Work

Andrew Kouba,
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At this year’s SilkRoad Connections User Conference, Sharlyn Lauby, author, writer, speaker, consultant – ‎HR Bartender, led the HR 2025 expert panel on the future of work. While HR will have many challenges in the next ten years, there are a few changes that HR can look forward to and really shine.

Advancements in HR Tech and Analytics

Technology has vastly improved the way HR strategists work, and has allowed HR to collect vast amounts of data, but in the future, knowing how to analyze and use that data is going to be key. While some HR practitioners fear that technology is taking the “human” out of human resources, Sharlyn has a more positive outlook. “The more technology that you can effectively bring into your organization, and allocate your resources properly, you’re putting the human back in to human resources.” Technology can free additional resources such as time and money, allowing HR to focus on transformation changes in the workplace. The key of which is transforming the role of the middle manager.

Focus on Succession Planning

Sharlyn Lauby states, “One of the key factors in organizational success is the success of the middle managers. Middle managers have a huge impact on employees, they bring new talent into the organization, they’re a key player in onboarding individuals, they are a part of training and development, and they handle performance appraisals.” HR really needs to give managers the tools they need in order to become successful. In the future HR will need to train managers on how to identify and train their replacements by putting a renewed focus on succession planning, as it becomes mandatory.

Blended workplace environment

However, a big challenge HR faces, will be the emergence of the “blended” work environment, where employees will have the ability to work from anywhere at any time. With technology advancing, employees don’t have to work from the same office. Advances in communication technology will allow organizations to operate beyond their physical location. HR’s biggest task will be to step up as an “Architect of Work” designing an environment and culture to create opportunities that allow employees to work from anywhere.

The world of work is changing rapidly, and HR is going to play a big role in how that world looks. With improvements in technology, a renewed focus on succession planning, and designing opportunities to create a blended work environment HR has a bright future.

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