Thought Leaders Forecast 2020 Workplace

By Nancy Davis Oct 10, 2012

PALM SPRINGS, CALIF.—Five generations in the workplace—and resulting conflict—plus continuing globalization and expanding business use of social media will all mark the 2020 workplace, predicted Mark Dollins, a partner at research consortium Future Workplace. Dollins, along with other senior HR leaders and experts, addressed the 2012 SHRM Foundation Thought Leaders Retreat here Oct. 3.

He said members of the Millennial generation will increase their demands for workplace flexibility in ways older employees and managers may find surprising, with questions such as “Must I show up to work every day?”

Meanwhile, companies of all sizes diligently seek new markets. Corporate leaders will reach out to the developing world, particularly the four countries that Dollins said are “poised” for economic growth: Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey.

Despite some companies’ self-imposed barriers to social media, early-adopter businesses report productivity gains of 20 percent to 25 percent after fully engaging social media, Dollins reported.

During a panel discussion on redefining the role of the chief HR officer, Laurie Siegel, former senior vice president of human resources and internal communications at Tyco International, reflected on her decade in that role. In the candid session, she advised HR peers to “know your way around executive compensation and governance.”

When she first arrived at Tyco, she was charged with sorting these out, as the company was recovering from a scandal regarding both issues that landed some executives in prison. Eventually, the entire board was replaced; Siegel helped create five new publicly held organizations out of the former Tyco—and worked her way out of a job. She resigned Oct. 1, 2012.

Panelist Mark Stewart, a consultant with Management and Personnel Systems, reported on the results of a four-year study about how chief HR officers spent their time. He said early findings from the 2012 survey of 153 respondents show that these HR leaders do indeed have shifting roles, now spending a “significant amount of time with key people.” Researchers at Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies measured time spent on the following roles: strategic advisor, coach, liaison to the board, talent architect, leader of the HR function, workforce sensor and representative of the company. The researchers identified differences in the ways male and female HR leaders spent their time, with men serving “more time as strategic advisors and counselors or coaches.”

Nancy Davis is editor of HR Magazine.

Related Articles:

Aaron Dignan: Games Can Engage, Educate Employees, Business Leadership Discipline, October 2012

Connect with Employees: Tell Your Story, Business Leadership Discipline, October 2012

Here’s What You, Too, Can Do with a Floppy Chicken, Business Leadership Discipline, October 2012

Corporate Leaders Urged to Be ‘Intrapreneurs,’ Business Leadership Discipline, October 2012

Thought Leaders Focus on Managing a Global Workforce, Business Leadership Discipline, October 2012

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