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HR and The New Way of Working, according to SD Worx

Sitting in a greenhouse without wifi in Gesves, it’s difficult to remember its 2012 and this is the New World of Work. Having driven up, down and through the winding countryside under sunny skies on my Virago, this is far from the corporate village of learning + development and presentation skills training of last night.. …but what a great place to take time out with colleagues and talk about the future. Animated by SD Worx.

 

By way of introduction to this afternoon with SD, a little look back…

2011 was all about leadership, engagement, retention and integrating ICT. But in 2012 the economic situation has had a big impact on HR. Focus on cost has become more important, along with the reorganisation and fusion of companies in order to reduce size. But according to SD Worx, the future will nonetheless bring us back to the good old business of talent management and development. It is the real talent will get us through this recession. And to make this happen, we need to create a sustainable innovative workplace.. Keynote speaker Laurent Taskin from the University of Louvain La Neuve told us more…

We are in a New World of Work. Work is more global – people work in international teams on international projects that are not bound by temporal or geographic frontiers. Time and distance are still issues, but not necessarily considered as negative or obstacles to collaboration. The focus is on individualisation within the collective environment and with this there is a need for granularisation of learning, consumerisation of tools/processes and integration of teams and cultures. Add a little VUCA to the NWoW and organisations will need to be really flexible. This is the knowledge era, with new ways of working.

What does this mean for HR professionals?

  • People want to focus more on work-life balance
  • Working possibilities need to be even more flexible.. Home working, truly flexible time, consumerisation of IT…
  • Companies need to be more transparent, collaborative and democratic
  • More effort is required to streamline global collaboration, making work more effective
  • Learning and development will remain in the driver seat for innovation and organisational, development

 

According to Laurent Taskin, to achieve these new ways of working requires a flexible and collaborative “logic” or culture. The approaches themselves (home-working, hot-desking, consumerisation…) have existed for years. But to truly adopt them, companies will need to have the right mindset. Management will need to trust workers to work at home (without being able to see and control their activities). Workers will need to have a sense of purpose and engagement to the company (so they can stay in their pyjamas and actually work, instead of just watching TV ;-).

As a side-note, I remember the day my last employer sent a doctor to my house when I called in sick, just to be sure I really was. (Just in case I was lying to get paid for nothing, taking advantage of my employer. How insulted did I feel?). In the NWoW, if I am to feel connected and collaborative, my employer is going to have to trust me. And I’m going to have to be even more interested in doing the work!

 

The New World of Work will therefore be less hierarchical, at least in terms of “power” and “control”. The employee will take more control over how she works, when and where. And HR will be there to support by offering tools and development opportunities.

What are YOU doing in your company to embrace the New World of Work?

 

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Watch this space for 2 more posts from the SD Worx HR Day