Back to the Future Part II

by Michael Haberman on October 14, 2008 · 0 comments


You got lucky! Yesterday I presented 5 trends from 2002 and commented on them in 2008. I said I would present another 5 today. Well I miss counted. There were only 8 to begin with so you will only have to look at 3 today. Here we go.

Trend #6 (from HRNext’s 2002 trend projection)
Acquisitions and mergers. Many companies are merging as the sluggish economy lingers, and affected HR managers will need to figure out how to merge payroll, handbooks, policies and cultures. It’s important to keep key talent during mergers, so affected HR managers will play a strategic role in the process.

This is as important today as it was in 2002. The key point to this is that HR needs to be involved in this FROM THE BEGINNING. These mergers and acquisitions are being made from a financial perspective and then HR is dragged in to help straighten out the mess of the people side. It would help if HR was involved from the get-go. Perhaps some of the issues could be avoided. Mergers to watch: Delta and Northwest, banks, and now GM and Chrysler.

Trend #7
The aging workforce. As the ‘Boomers’ get gray, more and more of the workforce will continue to go the same way. Furthermore, better health care is extending lives and many feel up to working well into their sixties and seventies. Still others have to keep working because they failed to save enough for retirement, or saw retirement assets shrink in the stock market. HR managers will need to be wary of issues related to recruiting, hiring and employing older workers without discriminating against them, or appearing to.

Well the ‘Boomers’ have not gotten any younger in the last 6 years, so all those issues of dealing with older workers still exist. Additionally, in the past six years, we have had an influx of Gen Y’ers. This age diversity in the workplace has presented HR and management a challenge and will continue to do so. Relationships, promotional tracks, reward systems and more will be challenged by this age diversity.

Trend #8
Technology. HR Departments will make better use of the Internet and intranets, to store, organize and disseminate information to employees as well as implement self-service technology to reduce HR costs. The Web will continue to become an important tool for HR Departments, but one that can be difficult to implement.

Use of the Internet and technology has increased tremendously. One of the major shifts has been in the importance of social networking sites. They are no longer just the domain of teenagers. Facebook, LinkedIn and others are now becoming sources and resources for HR departments in looking for and keeping track of employees. The use of these sites for recruitment and background checks has caused some issues of a legal natures. For example, does checking out a Facebook page or doing a Google search as a reference check violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It also causes some potential performance issues. Does your employee being connected to others on Twitter help productivity or hinder productivity? How does the manager control this? And lastly blogging has caused a number of problems in productivity and company secrecy. So Web 2.0 is a double edged sword that HR has to get a handle on before it gets out of control.

If you are in HR and these terms are unfamiliar to you then you need a lot of education. Even those of you familiar with them need to think of the ramifications of Web 2.0 in your workplace.

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