Resources: Blog Post

  
April 17, 2015

The future is coming – and we’re not ready

Contributed by SCNetwork’s Mark Edgar, SVP of Human Resources at RSA Canada

It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “the best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” When it comes to the future of work (FoW), this could well be a good thing for HR professionals because we clearly need more time to prepare for an exponential change in the pace of our work.

I recently attended a conference in Las Vegas about the FoW where, in addition to hearing some of the latest thinking on the topic, I was able to share my own experiences around building a more “futureproof” people strategy at RSA Canada. For those of you who don’t know (and I expect there are many!) RSA is an international property and casualty insurer with 3,800 people in its Canadian business. What makes RSA unique when it comes to the future is its long and colourful past, which dates back to 1710.

There are many trends shaping the FoW. A model that resonates with me came from one of the keynote speakers Jacob Morgan (@jacobm), who identifies five trends shaping the FoW:

The Five Trends Shaping the Future of Work

The trends range from the impact of new technology – including collaboration software, wearables and robots – to the challenges of a multi-generational workforce. There is also the impact of global talent pools and increasing employee demand for more flexibility in work patterns. Individually these trends have significant and far-reaching implications for HR departments, but when you consider they are all happening at the same time, the collective disruption is unparalleled.

So, how prepared are you for the FoW? Well, my research suggests not very! To prepare for the conference, I surveyed 70 HR professionals and 60 per cent of them said they were unprepared for the FoW.

Respondents identified all of Jacob’s trends to be relevant to their organizations, although technology was considered to have slightly more impact, and globalization had slightly less. This makes sense to me because technology represents so much tangible change that impacts our lives beyond work. But I also think it’s important that this doesn’t distract us from those other less tangible trends.

In 50 per cent of the organizations I looked at, HR takes the lead in preparing them for the FoW, and in another 22 per cent, it’s HR partnering with another function – typically IT.

It’s encouraging to see our profession taking responsibility for the FoW, but we all know how hard it can be to drive change in organizations. So, what can we do to ensure we’re successful when it comes to the FoW?

I have three thoughts.

Educate yourself

First, we need to educate ourselves about the future of work. I accept the level of disruption to organizations is difficult to predict, but we can all be certain tomorrow will be different to today so raising your own awareness about the FoW will be critical. There is a lot of great content out there so make it a priority to get yourself up to speed.

Build a plan

Secondly, use your newfound knowledge to build a plan. Working with a group of millennials is a great way to audit your current people practices and prioritize your efforts. They will help identify what you do already that is futureproof and what needs to change. You don’t need to do everything at the same time but having a plan and making some small changes is a great start.

Leverage talent

Finally, make sure you leverage your talent agenda to drive change in the organization. This could be through acquiring more future minded talent so you have allies in driving the change, using your high potential talent to work with you on creating new ways of working or developing specific skills or behaviors in your talent pools that help futureproof your organization such as collaboration and innovation.

The future is coming so let’s get ready.

Do you worry about the future of HR?

Join the conversation on LinkedIn here

Photo of Mark Edgar

Mark Edgar joined RSA in January 2011 in the role of Vice President, Human Resources with overall responsibility for HR across all companies within RSA Canada. Previously Mark was based in the UK as Head of Human Resources within Centrica Plc; a major energy company operating in the UK under the British Gas brand. Mark has also worked for BSkyB, a TV, broadband and phone company, in an HR role responsible for their operational business units and customer facing teams. Mark holds a BSc (Hons) in Management Sciences from the University of Warwick and is a member of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Contact Mark at mark.edgar@rsagroup.ca
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkEdgarHR
Connect with Mark on LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/pub/mark-edgar/1/460/89/en


Filed under: Uncategorized

Contributed by SCNetwork’s Mark Edgar, SVP of Human Resources at RSA Canada

It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “the best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” When it comes to the future of work (FoW), this could well be a good thing for HR professionals because we clearly need more time to prepare for an exponential change in the pace of our work.

I recently attended a conference in Las Vegas about the FoW where, in addition to hearing some of the latest thinking on the topic, I was able to share my own experiences around building a more “futureproof” people strategy at RSA Canada. For those of you who don’t know (and I expect there are many!) RSA is an international property and casualty insurer with 3,800 people in its Canadian business. What makes RSA unique when it comes to the future is its long and colourful past, which dates back to 1710.

There are many trends shaping the FoW. A model that resonates with me came from one of the keynote speakers Jacob Morgan (@jacobm), who identifies five trends shaping the FoW:

The Five Trends Shaping the Future of Work

The trends range from the impact of new technology – including collaboration software, wearables and robots – to the challenges of a multi-generational workforce. There is also the impact of global talent pools and increasing employee demand for more flexibility in work patterns. Individually these trends have significant and far-reaching implications for HR departments, but when you consider they are all happening at the same time, the collective disruption is unparalleled.

So, how prepared are you for the FoW? Well, my research suggests not very! To prepare for the conference, I surveyed 70 HR professionals and 60 per cent of them said they were unprepared for the FoW.

Respondents identified all of Jacob’s trends to be relevant to their organizations, although technology was considered to have slightly more impact, and globalization had slightly less. This makes sense to me because technology represents so much tangible change that impacts our lives beyond work. But I also think it’s important that this doesn’t distract us from those other less tangible trends.

In 50 per cent of the organizations I looked at, HR takes the lead in preparing them for the FoW, and in another 22 per cent, it’s HR partnering with another function – typically IT.

It’s encouraging to see our profession taking responsibility for the FoW, but we all know how hard it can be to drive change in organizations. So, what can we do to ensure we’re successful when it comes to the FoW?

I have three thoughts.

Educate yourself

First, we need to educate ourselves about the future of work. I accept the level of disruption to organizations is difficult to predict, but we can all be certain tomorrow will be different to today so raising your own awareness about the FoW will be critical. There is a lot of great content out there so make it a priority to get yourself up to speed.

Build a plan

Secondly, use your newfound knowledge to build a plan. Working with a group of millennials is a great way to audit your current people practices and prioritize your efforts. They will help identify what you do already that is futureproof and what needs to change. You don’t need to do everything at the same time but having a plan and making some small changes is a great start.

Leverage talent

Finally, make sure you leverage your talent agenda to drive change in the organization. This could be through acquiring more future minded talent so you have allies in driving the change, using your high potential talent to work with you on creating new ways of working or developing specific skills or behaviors in your talent pools that help futureproof your organization such as collaboration and innovation.

The future is coming so let’s get ready.

Do you worry about the future of HR?

Join the conversation on LinkedIn here

Photo of Mark Edgar

Mark Edgar joined RSA in January 2011 in the role of Vice President, Human Resources with overall responsibility for HR across all companies within RSA Canada. Previously Mark was based in the UK as Head of Human Resources within Centrica Plc; a major energy company operating in the UK under the British Gas brand. Mark has also worked for BSkyB, a TV, broadband and phone company, in an HR role responsible for their operational business units and customer facing teams. Mark holds a BSc (Hons) in Management Sciences from the University of Warwick and is a member of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Contact Mark at mark.edgar@rsagroup.ca
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkEdgarHR
Connect with Mark on LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/pub/mark-edgar/1/460/89/en


Filed under: Uncategorized
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