60 HR Predictions for 2008
By Floyd Kemske
The top 10 predictions in Workplace Flexibility, Global Business, Work and Society, Workforce
Development, Definition of Jobs, and Strategic Role of
Collaborative cultures will be the workplace model.
Creative employment contracts will support more time
off, flexibility in hours and work location,
technological job aids and more pay at risk with
significant upside potential.
Company intranets will become a major tool for
communication, training and benefits administration;
HR will play a leading role in developing this
Intelligence through knowledge transfer capability
will separate the best employees from the rest.
Employees will have more and more choices about work
arrangements, allowing them to meet their individual
Work hours scheduling will become less important as
organizations focus on performance and results.
Company facilities will become “virtual” through
work-at-home, telecommuting and outsourcing.
The workweek will be less structured—employees will
still work 40-plus hours, but at varied times and
places other than the office.
Legislation will lead to greater portability of
health, welfare and retirement benefits.
Free-lance teams of generic problem solvers will
market themselves as alternatives to permanent workers
or individual temps.
The role of corporate HR will change to that of
creator of overall values and direction, and will be
implemented by local HR departments in different
HR professionals will have advanced acumen in
international business practices, international labor
laws, multicultural sensitivities and multiple
HR professionals will need to be knowledgeable of
other cultures, languages and business practices to
help their companies find and enter more markets.
HR people will have to understand other cultures and
help people work with, and transfer among, various
Megaglobal business alliances will grow in number and
scope, requiring great finesse on the part of the HR
There will be an explosive growth of companies doing
business across borders, and it will be the most
significant change for the economy in modern times.
Cultural understanding and sensitivity will become
much more important for the HR professional of the
future, whereas multiple language ability isn’t going
to become a necessary competency.
The continued emergence of a world marketplace will
require development of an international workforce.
Small teams of HR professionals will focus on
providing performance improvement consulting services
to a variety of locations around the world.
Work and Society
Family and life interests will play a more prevalent
role in people’s lives and a greater factor in
people’s choices about work—there will be more of a
“work to live” than a “live to work” mentality.
Employees will demand increases in workplace
flexibility to pursue life interests.
Dual-career couples will refuse to make the sacrifices
required today in their family lives and more people
(not just women) will opt out of traditional careers.
Families will return to the center of society; work
will serve as a source of cultural connections and
Workers will continue to struggle with their need for
work/ life balance, and it will get worse.
Integration of work with quality-of-life initiatives
will create solutions to problems formerly seen as the
responsibility of government.
Community involvement and social responsibility will
become part of an organization’s business vision.
“Cocooning” will become more popular as workers look
to their homes for refuge from the pressures of a more
competitive workplace and depersonalized society.
Just as defined-contribution plans have begun to take
over from Social Security, companies will take on
responsibility for elder care, long-term care and
other social needs through cafeteria-style benefits
Those people who refuse or are unable to adapt to new
technologies will find they’re working harder and
Lifelong learning will be a requirement.
The focus of training/learning activities will be on
performance improvement and not just on skill
Employees with varied skills and competencies will be
valued more highly than those with a depth of
expertise in a single area.
Problem solving and decision making will become a
required curriculum with practical work problems as
the training medium.
Training will be delivered “just in time,” wherever
people need it, using a variety of technologies.
Companies will demand constant personal growth, and
employees will respond positively to higher
It will not be possible to survive in the workplace
without basic computer skills.
People who can learn new skills/competencies quickly
will be highly valued in a faster changing world.
Team projects and special assignments will be a major
factor in personal development.
As the computer-savvy generation is more assimilated
into the workforce, employees will become much more
productive in complex tasks and less dependent on
other people and departments.
Definition of Jobs
Organizations won’t pay for the value of the job but
for the value of the person.
Versatility will be the key factor in determining
employee value with strategic thinking, leadership,
problem solving, technology and people skills close
Compensation systems will be linked to business
All jobs will require higher levels of computer
Positions will be organized in teams focused on a
task, not organized around a hierarchy.
Positions will be defined by the competencies needed
to be performed.
Employees will be more independent, moving from
project to project within their organizations.
Many jobs will be redesigned to be much broader in
scope, especially in management positions, resulting
in leaner head counts.
Employees will be increasingly measured by how much
value they contribute to the business, not by whether
they fulfilled predetermined objectives.
Work will be more challenging, and jobs will become
Strategic Role of HR
Successful HR departments will focus on organizational
HR’s value will be to have the right people ready at
the right time: recruiting leaders to join the
company’s mix of talent and keeping the “bench” full
of enabled, competent workers.
The focus of the HR function will be human capital
development and organizational productivity; HR may be
renamed to reflect this.
HR will evolve from strategic business partnership to
strategic business leadership (driving change and
results, not just monitoring them).
A key HR role in the future will be multidisciplinary
consulting around individual, team, business unit and
Managers will grow to depend more and more on HR
professionals as they realize that good people
management can be the strategic advantage in the next
Leading change will become HR’s greatest contribution
to the corporation.
More and more businesses will use HR as a strategic
HR will have a “seat at the table” as part of the top
management team and report directly to the CEO in most
A key HR role will be managing increasingly scarce
human and intellectual capital.