Trending Towards 2030: What HR Will Look Like

August 2, 2022
Trending Towards 2030: What HR Will Look Like

Who could have possibly predicted what the 2020s would be like? From an unprecedented presidential election to a global pandemic, so much has taken us by surprise. The working world itself has changed drastically. More people are working remotely and from home than ever before. There are always going to be new developments that no one can predict. Even in 2019 it would have been nearly impossible to know that, just a few months later, almost everyone would leave offices behind, many for good. But when it comes to trend forecasting, there’s a bit of information that we can rely on to understand what the future might hold. The 2020s are well underway already, but what might the 2030s hold? As we look towards the upcoming decade with an eye towards preparation, here are some projected human resources trends to keep an eye on.

A greater shift towards People Ops, or POPS

The pandemic showed just how much employee well-being impacts work. If people are too stressed out by the world around them, being productive at work is almost impossible. From watching kids at home to dealing with major legal changes like the strike down of Roe v. Wade, there’s a lot weighing on people’s minds. And it doesn’t seem to stop. One way to handle this inevitable stress at work is to focus on People Ops, or POPS for short. Unlike traditional HR, People Ops puts people first. A People Ops perspective is one that views an organization’s employees as the customers who POPS is charged with pleasing. Where HR used to focus on regulations and compliance, People Ops focuses on productivity through employee well-being and employee satisfaction. This means devising ways to ensure that work is exciting and engaging for employees.

Taking a People Ops perspective means understanding that a happy workforce is central to success.

People Ops will look different at every company. The success of POPS hinges on a deep understanding of your workforce’s needs. POPS efforts might mean providing the mentorship and professional development opportunities that younger generations crave. POPS might mean providing upskilling opportunities to employees who might otherwise struggle with an increasingly digital working world. The goal of POPS is to create a competitive advantage by cultivating an engaged and satisfied workforce. When people are engaged in their work, they’re productive and effective. When people are satisfied with their work, they’re not looking for opportunities to leave. Taking a People Ops perspective means understanding that a happy workforce is central to success.

Increased automation to have more time to engage with workers

Closely related to the shift towards POPS is a move towards increased HR automation. Because People Ops requires a deep understanding of your employees, data is your friend. The more data you can get, the better. But extracting information can be a time-consuming endeavor. So, let technology handle some of the work for you. The more that you can rely on HR software to automate repetitive tasks, the more you can free up your time. This allows you to focus on things that only humans can do. (Activities like data entry and reporting are excellent areas for automation!) This means more time for engaging with employees directly and really listening to what they think, feel, and want. This can mean spending more time developing impactful training material. It can also mean spending more time crafting meaningful employee experiences.

Meaningful employee experiences and good environments

Meaningful employee experiences sound like something every business should be doing, right? But how do you know if your employee experiences are meaningful? What does that look like, anyway? And what are employees hoping to get out of them? Gallup defines employee experiences as “the sum of all interactions an employee has with an employer, from pre-recruitment to post-exit. It includes everything from major milestones and personal relationships to technology and the physical work environment.” That’s a lot, right? The good thing is that you don’t have to tackle everything at once. Ensuring an excellent work environment in a remote working world can be as simple as offering a home office stipend. This lets employees get exactly what they need to work comfortably and productively from home. Meaningful employee experiences can also be mission-driven and values-related. Younger generations like Gen Z and Millennials are increasingly expecting the values of their workplace to match their own. And they don’t want to just hear about it. They want to see missions and values actually acted on — especially when it comes to social justice. Whether it’s offering social justice benefits or donating a portion of profits to causes that matter, the future is going to demand more authenticity from businesses. This is especially true for businesses that tout socially focused missions and values.

Hiring for effective people skills and power skills

Gone are the days of referring to people-focused skills like communication and emotional intelligence as soft skills. The moniker makes it sound like these skills are subordinate to hard skills. But as we march towards the future, soft skills are finally being recognized for how important they are. That’s a major reason why they’re now largely referred to as power skills. After decades and decades of hiring or promoting managers for hard skills who then fail to effectively manage people, companies are wising up. Especially as workers are demanding more meaningful experiences at work, managers and leaders who truly care and can actually connect make a difference. Everyone is an individual. An effective manager equipped with power skills understands what motivates each and every one of their contributors. Effective people management, propped up by power skills, helps create a satisfied and engaged workforce.

Organizational flexibility and change management

As the pandemic made plainly clear, it’s crucial for any business to be able to adapt to challenges. Especially when it comes to major, unforeseen events like the pandemic or major weather events that are increasing with climate change, workplace flexibility is key. Armed with data and information (thanks to a pivot towards People Ops!), you can begin to peek around corners and into the future a bit. With information in tow, you can begin experimenting with ways to meet new challenges at the outset. The faster you try something new, even if you fail, the faster you can move onto the next thing and try that. It’s all about open experimentation, constant communication, and a tolerance for failure. By keeping an eye on HR trends that look into the next decade, your HR department or employees can be an advocate for flexibility and change management at your company. Being on the cutting edge of change is never easy. But the more prepared and flexible you and your organization are, the better you can weather the challenges that almost certainly lie ahead.

Stay ahead of trends over time by setting a reminder

The thing about trends is they change. Even if you can’t start making any changes at your company now, you can keep an eye on what’s expected in the future. As new events happen, as new technologies are invented, trends will change. So, stay as up to date with them as possible. Consider setting a trend review reminder every quarter or even twice a year. That will ensure that you’re keeping up with trend forecasts as they happen. And the more information you have, the smarter the decisions you can make. No one can ever truly predict the future, but we can make informed and educated guesses about what it might hold.

This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

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