HR 2020 a look into the future

With us rapidly coming to the end of the first decade of the 21st century I thought it might be fun to look forward another 10 years to see what a day in the life of an HR manager might be like.

(First I am not a fiction writer so bear with me. Second while 2020 might seem a long way away, in 2000 so did 2010 so I have not radically changed the overall work undertaken by HR. While this decision might upset some in the HR profession that things have not changed a lot I felt a conservative approach was warranted.)

Our hero today is Paul, Senior HR Manager for a mid sized organisation of about 2,500 employees. Paul has a small team of 3 covering all HR functions. He uses limited external providers for services such as training and recruitment, his team can complete most tasks with the help of their software agents.

On with the story!

Over your morning coffee you begin reviewing the ahead day on your iDigi 2020 (think iPhone in 10 years), several employee training courses are taking place, new policies are to begin being drafted on the Intranet, and you are informed by that the workforce planning meeting scheduled for tomorrow is today at 11am.

On arrival at your office you request your workforce planning digital agent to begin preparing the information that will be required during the meeting. You set the agent a task of summarizing current employee demographics, education, competencies, and job tenure information. You need this information compared against the top 3 universities, your top 3 competitors, the last 5 years retirees and turnover. This information will develop a real time understanding as to your current bench strength, the strength lost through retirements and turnover, of your future employees and the marketplace in general.

Your next task is to publish the performance management policy on the Intranet. You publish the existing document which contains links to the relevant workplaces laws, trade union agreements and organisational policies. However you turn on the Edit/Collaborate function now allowing all employees in the organisation access to edit, comment and discuss. A flag is now sent to all employees in the organisation that the policy is ready for review; however you decide you need special input from the CEO, Legal and the rest of the HR team. You directly message each using the organisation’s internal news stream service (think Twitter/Yammer).

Employees can edit, comment and vote on all attributes of the document. Comments can be made on how practical the current implementation has been, impacts on work productivity and other general feedback. As the document is linked to related documents any recommended changes are flagged if they reference these documents so that a more detailed review can take place. Employees can vote on other recommendations and changes providing you and the management team a real time understanding as to the organisation’s views on the document.

After the workforce planning meeting you are informed by your iDigi2020 that an employee in Marketing has resigned. The intelligent recruiting agent has prepared a short list of candidates from the pre-validated talent pool and sent them to the hiring manager. You are provided a quick summary of the candidates and their competencies. After a quick review you realise the marketing competency profiles have not been updated with the organisation’s new focus. With a quick “flick” of your finger across the screen you increase the requirements around “Interpersonal Relationships based on Public Trust and Reputation”.

This change dynamically removes candidates from the managers list and starts another talent pool search to find replacement candidates. During the search the agent determines that your talent pool does not have enough potential candidates and notifies you to ask if you want to initiate a broader Internet search or advertise a job online. You decide to give the agent 6 hours to complete a deep Internet search and if it does not reach the require threshold to post a job online and inform you of the results.

After lunch your iDigi 2020 alerts you that a manager needs assistance finalising an offer to a new employee in the R&D department. The package being proposed is outside of the organisational boundaries however so is the employee’s skills and experience. You review the summary prepared by the manager along with real time information from the market as to what similar individuals are being paid. After full review you approve the 50% increase in short term bonuses based on market data over the last 2 months.

Following your workforce planning meeting you review the outcomes with your team. The development programs for 30% of the employees need to be adjusted so that to organisation can meet its 5 year targets. You task the Learning & Development Manager to review how the organisation can further leverage collaborative based learning augmented with real time information from the Internet. You task your assistant to update the master development framework, which in turn will inform employees that they need to review their development activities to ensure they are delivering the highest level of value to the organisation. Each employee will then need to accept of review the revised plans with their managers.

Your Learning & Development Manager then provides to team real-time feedback on the training courses that have been run today. She presents a dashboard showing relevant organisation metrics and how the training aligns with the organisations goals. Several of the web based sessions are still taking place so the dashboard is updating in real time as employees move through the assessment phases of each course.

You get another alert from your iDigi 2020 has found through watching the real-time web that someone is complaining online about your graduate recruitment processes. A review of the summary it seems the person complaining did not do very well during the assessment process and has been rejected. Time to address the issue before it impacts your attraction programs. You make a quick comment clarifying your process, providing a link to your documented process. Just to make sure this does not continue you notify 3 of the organisation’s top graduates to monitor the situation. With that you tell your iDigi 2020 to mute this alert unless negative sentiment rises above a level pre-agreed with PR.

Finally as you are leaving for the day you receive an update on the hiring of a replacement employee in Marketing. It seems that while a search of the Internet has found some potential candidates the recruitment agent has found they do not meet the automated requirements as such the agent has placed a job ad on the internal job board. The agent has also informed all employees in the Marketing department about the opening and reminding them of the referral program benefits. One employee Joe received a slightly different notification. Joe is not in the Marketing department but the agent found he is connected to a potential candidate who based on the online information just does not meet the requirements. The agent has recommended that Joe reach out and contact his colleague and discuss the job opportunity. If Joe feels they are a good fit for the position he can recommend them for the job, and still qualify for the referral bonus.

That ends the day in the life of an HR Manager in 2020.

9 thoughts on “HR 2020 a look into the future

  1. And then there will be plenty of companies who still hire people they just happened to run into by chance…

    Love the bit about “mute this alert unless negative sentiment rises above a level pre-agreed with PR”!

  2. Michael –

    I’ll buy right now – are you in beta with this or past beta? Ha… Have a great start to 2010 with 2020 in mind…


  3. Interesting post. I understand the reluctance to change the HR job function and rather focus on future state technology. Your vision could very well be the future of HR, but if that is the case, I would have viewed this as a disappointment. I believe HR has a much more expansive and critical role in the future corporation. However, it will need to decouple itself from many of the functions are run counter to the express purpose of what HR should be; to help employees perform better in their jobs.
    I also have to correct the focus on competencies, which have failed to yield any useful insight into the employee and human performance. The future state HR organization will need to be much more detailed, precise and fair in regards to how it measures the capability of workers.

  4. I’m suprised that even 10 years from now that Paul still hadn’t learnt to post a job on the internal job board before conducting an external search!
    Recruiting from inside the organisation (or at least through a referral from an employee) should surely be the preferred approach?

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