I remember speaking at a HR Conference several years back and when asked by the audience what one piece of advice I would give to HR professionals to assist their business in the future, I reflected for a moment and quietly said, “You need to throw the old rule book in the bin.
Over the last several years we have seen this play out in a variety of ways. At a macro level, businesses are moving away from the traditional hierarchies toward some version of virtual structure …. Matrix organisations, Joint Ventures, Strategic Alliances, project teams that morph from one to another across a geographic wilderness …. The list goes on. Also, at a macro level, we are seeing the clear emergence of three concentric circles of staffing; permanent, contract and casual; with contract and casual making up to 50% or more of the employee numbers in many businesses. And, finally, at a macro level, we are witnessing possibly the biggest demographic shift that we have seen in decades …. by 2020 well over 50% of the workforce will be Gen Y.
So what does all this, and more, mean for executives?
To name a few, it means that the clock-in, clock-out, rigid job description, old style performance management processes, and clearly defined boss-employee relationship no longer works. Many traditional practices in how we run organisations have, in fact, met their use-by date (or in fact are well passed it!)
Two of the emerging challenges for business is to operate in an environment of ambiguity and complexity. The two key competencies required from people working in this new environment are flexibility and learning agility.
How is your business measuring up?
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