What will the workplace of the future be like? Often the predictions have been wildly off-course: Multiple careers, free agency and tele-working were predicted years ago and yet most of us still work in traditional jobs. In fact, job security is more popular than ever.
But now, it seems to me, things are changing faster. Severe budget cuts in the developed world are forcing a re-think, especially in public services. And communications technology – especially in the high-growth economies – is enabling work to be delivered anywhere.
This is no longer about fashionable working patterns or work-life balance. It is about fundamentally new ways to achieve productivity. Already talent can be sourced for certain tasks via crowdsourcing, motivated by game-based work design, and appraised online by peers. Led by the Digital Generation, we have tools that can be used to enhance relationships and cut down bureaucracy through new work habits, not simply to automate existing processes
All this is likely to have a major effect on the Human Resources function. The latest research for Google predicts the demise of HR and the advent of the ‘Human Systems Director’, whose remit centres on the human-computer interface that underpins collaborative innovation and – in turn – underpins value creation in the organisation of the future.
‘HS’ directors will also need to improve the way their organisations help people navigate this new world. At present, many people are unsure what the new ‘career deal’ means for them. What support should organisations provide? I’d welcome your thoughts.