In Future Smart, James Canton talks about the climate change. Before you leave this post, be assured I am not writing about climate change or who or what is responsible for it. He uses climate change as a topic to talk about planning for change. I thought that applicability to HR. Too few HR departments plan for long term change. In fact too few companies in general plan for long term change. Why is that?
Reasons for a Lack of HR Planning
There are a number of reasons for a lack of planning in HR. I will discuss a few of them.
Number 1- Can’t get over yesterday
We are so grounded in the past and responding to what happened yesterday that we cannot see beyond the tip of our nose for tomorrow. When you have to find that candidate, discipline that employee, complete that enrollment, file that form, and submit that paycheck, you just do not have the time to wonder what the impact of falling school enrollment will be on your talent base.
Number 2- Technology scares us
I was reading an article just the other day about how HR needs to stop controlling process by spreadsheets. We did not get into HR to learn how to use technology. If we had that ability we would be in a technology job, probably making more money. Also, new technology costs money, for which we seldom have the budget. It also requires effort in learning something new and far too many of us get comfortable in the “our zone” seldom realizing that it is actually a rut. The problem with this is that technological changes are coming to HR and at breakneck speed.
Number 3- We are spread too thin
HR is seen primarily as a cost center in too many organizations. No case has been made for how HR contributes to the bottomline. As a result management is loath to put money into the function. Subsequently most HR departments don’t have a budget for a technology specialist, or for a fulltime strategic planner or for someone to be the department futurist. Thus we don’t pay attention to the things that are happening five or ten years down the road.
What are the consequences?
According to Canton the consequences for not planning for climate change will be disastrous. Flooding, displace people, hunger, riots, falling governments, and chaos are all potential consequences of ignoring climate change. Ignoring the future of work and the future of HR may not cause world chaos, but it could be disastrous for your company. The inability to adapt to changing business demands; the inability to find needed talent; having to displace workers because of lost revenue; the inability to retain talent; and ultimately shutting the doors of the business are all potential consequences of not planning.
Are you keeping up with changes in technology for your industry? Are you keeping up on changes in the nature of the talent pools from which you draw your employees? Are you paying attention to the quality of education in the market from which you draw your talent? Are you paying attention to the changing demands of workers? Are you paying attention to the nature of how work is being done?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions you are behind the curve. There are projected to be radical changes in all of these things by the year 2020. In case you have not looked at the calendar that is a mere 4.5 years from now! Even more changes will happen by 2025 and by 2030 we may not recognize much about how work is done.
To avert disaster in your company’s future and in your HR career, you need to start paying attention to the future and start planning on how you will change. If you don’t then don’t cry in five years that you didn’t see it coming, because I won’t be listening.