Work is a defining part of our lives, but the meaning of ‘going to work’ is undergoing a profound change. This brings opportunities and challenges for HR.
Four P Bottom Line
Embracing change and adapting an inclusive mindset is vital in order to attract and retain tomorrow’s talent. To navigate the future requires a system. I use trend mapping to gain deeper insights into what motivates people. Looking at the evolution of needs, we see a redefinition of value sets. We face a global shift, where People, Planet, Pleasure as in wellbeing and then Profit will be essential to any successful business strategy because people are embracing new lifestyle preferences where meaning will set the agenda.
Fast vs Slow
Meaningful experiences have become a universal goal, as people ask: “How can I get more out of life?” This presents huge opportunities in helping people achieve higher levels of personal fulfilment. However, contrast and diversity rule today’s world and we are bombarded with contradictory data about Fast vs Slow lifestyles.
The Whole Brain Organisation
Organisations balance these contrasts by applying ‘Whole Brain Thinking”. For too long, society has focused on left-brain (analytical) thinking, to the detriment of right-brain (visionary) approaches. To effect positive change it is essential to adopt a holistic approach. The ‘Whole Brain Method’ is a foundation for trend mapping – a shortcut to decode cultural contexts in society. Trend Mapping enables us to see the whole picture and identify the most meaningful trends impacting HR. Individually important, they are also closely connected.
Be Part of the Conversation
The first trend is Total Transparency, which is a requirement for openness and caring values. Trust is a cornerstone of attracting and retaining talent, and people will actively seek out employers’ whose behaviour reflects their own personal values. Cloud Culture & Collaboration enables new networks and resources – and also brings increased mobility and remote working capacity. HR teams must be part of the conversation, recognising and harnessing the right social media in order to attract and retain talent.
Social Media by Gender also comes into play. Women are the main users of social media sites and it is crucial to engage with social networks in order to attract them. All this contributes to Female Empowerment – which is reshaping society, leadership and 21st-century organisations. Not only will this bring more fluidity to business, it will also drive more empathic values and innovation. To attract female leaders it is essential to be a demonstrably diverse and inclusive organisation.
Diversity also attracts the Global Citizen and Gen D – this independent-minded and ‘digital fluent’ group has much to offer, but they demand flexible working, global opportunities and interesting work. Similarly, the 4G (four-generation) workforce is a new reality. A positive corporate attitude towards ageing, and recognising the experience and knowledge senior employees bring, will reap rich rewards – especially when organisations foster cross-collaboration among the 4G workforce and ensure a flexible work setting.
Global Mindset Leaders
Organisations tap into a wealth of opportunities by developing Cultural Capital. Globalisation profoundly impacts markets, so creating a cultural legacy is vital to attracting and retaining a global workforce. Employer branding must focus on local knowledge and tune into people’s cultures and passions, especially if they want to attract ‘Global Mindset Leaders’ – the group that will undoubtedly shape tomorrow’s most successful companies.
Better World Citizens
All these trends lead on to A Better World, which is a universal desire for social participation and value related self-expression. This is already indicated by a growth in global philanthropy and good causes. This can be enabled by fostering a culture of Volunteering – a corporate activity that works for employers and employees. Organisations attract ‘Better World Citizens’ who want to make a difference and create a more emotional brand. And it has been shown that people who volunteer live longer, healthier lives.
This, in turn, assists Intelligent Health, a new approach to Authentic Wellbeing. Holistic approaches that incorporate positive health schemes and focus on work/life balance ensure a happier, more productive and more progressive workforce – as well as impacting on the bottom line by reducing health-related absences.
Society drivers are closely linked to the value sets of tomorrow’s people – reflecting lifestyle choices. We live in Patchwork Communities, with two distinct contrasting mindsets. Hunters are Me-oriented people focusing on life according to them. Gatherers are We-oriented people focusing on collective ideals and values. The four Archetypes of Tomorrow’s People below present a simplified vision of what is required to attract talent in the workforce.
• On a Rational Level we have the Urban Pragmatic, demanding Openness and Total Transparency and motivated by Mobility. The Creative Class wants Social Media and Collaboration and look for Dialogue.
• On an Emotional Level we have Global Sustainers, who expect Cultural Capital and Better World values and are motivated by Community. The No Age Citizen – our 4G workforce – require Intelligent Health and Authentic Happiness and seek Engagement.
Positive Change Agents
We must recognise that people are no longer passive participants, but active networkers and positive change agents. The challenge for organisations is to harness new talent and also create more interesting jobs to meet people’s real needs. This means creating a ‘people-centric’ focus at the centre of the organisation – after all, they are our biggest asset.
Diversity and High Performance
The link between diversity and high performance is clear – and is set to grow even stronger in the century ahead. We are experiencing a paradigm shift and it is crucial to reconsider societal values. To lead we must have perspective and engage in honest dialogue. That is the way to create a relevant, authentic and caring organisational culture.
The Future of Success
In short, ‘Think from the outside in’ and ‘Feel from the inside out’ because connecting with people is about empathy. It is having the ability to engage with them to inspire and empower their lives. This is the best way to ensure the strength, relevance and continued success of your organisation.