Shaping the Future
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Shaping the Future



In 2013, the SHRM Foundation introduced its new Thought Leadership Initiative to inform "what's next". 

The SHRM Foundation’s vision is to be “the globally recognized catalyst for shaping human resource thought leadership and research”. To achieve this vision, the Foundation has adopted a strategic initiative to shape and enable thought leadership around workforce issues for progressive organizational leaders.

The SHRM Foundation worked with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct a multi-phase program to identify and analyze critical trends likely to impact the workplace in the next 5-10 years.


Three Themes Identified 

The SHRM Foundation is promoting and supporting research on the following three critical themes identified through this initiative. Each year, our program of work is focused on one theme and new products will be added throughout the year.


To view related infographics and videos, please visit our DIGITAL HUB on the EIU site.


1. Evolution of 'Work' and the 'Worker' (2014)

Globalization of business, changing demographics and changing patterns of mobility will continue to change the nature of work and the worker over the next 5 to 10 years.

2. Engaging and Integrating a Global Workforce (2015)

 Cultural integration and clashes/unrest will continue to grow globally at both a societal and corporate level over the next 5 to 10 years. 

    - Download the EIU report, Engaging and Integrating a Global Workforce, sponsored by Randstad  
    - Download the companion piece, Engaging and Integrating a Global Workforce: Five Key Trends from SHRM's Special Expertise Panels

An executive roundtable was held at SHRM in May, 2015 to discuss these trends. 

      - Executive Summary of the discussion 

      - Cultural Intelligence: The Essential Intelligence for the 21st Century, sponsored by Ingersoll Rand

 Thought Leaders Retreat Presentations & Summary: Engaging and Integrating a Global Workforce 


3. Use of Workforce Analytics for Competitive Advantage (2016)

Talent shortages will continue to grow globally over the next 5 to 10 years requiring HR to become the provider of human capital analytics for input to strategic business decision making.

       - Download the EIU report, Use of Workforce Analytics for Competitive Advantage

An executive roundtable brought together 12 analytics experts in May to explore how analytics are being used in companies, the obstacles HR may face in implementing analytics and how to overcome those.  

       - Download the executive summary of their discussion

 Thought Leaders Retreat Presentations & Summary: Using Workforce Analytics for Competitive Advantage

Background on the Intiative 

How these themes were identified
To scan what is over the horizon, we collected and integrated trends and predictions from a variety of sources--including surveys of business leaders and panels of subject matter experts-- that reflected a wide range of disciplines. More details on this process.

Watch a video of the experts who participated in the theme identification.

We analyzed and synthesized this information to identify the key issues with implications for the future of HR and for managing the workforce in the next 5-10 years. Next steps include promoting, funding and disseminating thought-provoking research on these important human capital themes through multiple channels such as briefing papers, videos, podcasts and articles.

Expected outcomes
Through this initiative, the SHRM Foundation will add value to the HR profession by informing “what’s next” and providing forward thinking, future-oriented ideas to business leaders. This will help them identify and understand the threats and opportunities in the future global environment so they can manage their organizations more successfully. It will also give the SHRM Foundation the ability to fund research and work with partners to develop evidence-based solutions, practices, and tools for meeting the challenges and opportunities HR professionals will face alongside their business leaders.

More information
For more information on this project, or to discuss possible collaboration opportunities, please contact executive director, Mark Schmit or program director, Beth McFarland.