The Exceler8 HR Happenings Blog

6 HR Megatrends to Watch Over the Next Decade

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I have to confess. I didn’t come up with the term Mega Trends. My father tells me it was a bestselling book published in 1990 (Google says it was too).

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But it was adopted as the title of the recent Advisory Board Centre’s Mega Trends Summit 2022. The glossy brochure proclaimed the summit’s goal was to “think bravely beyond the present and project our line of sight into the future with optimism”.

I attended with optimism and left feeling optimistic.

My goal in attending was to broaden my perspective and get out of the ‘doing’ in my business for a few days.  I wanted to give you my take on what was discussed and how I believe these are the HR megatrends that may impact the future of workplaces.

1. Trust

It should not be a surprise that trust continues to be a megatrend for the future.

Trust in;

  • your advisors,
  • your people,
  • your leadership and
  • your intuition.

are all required for your business success.

Have you been guilty of being too trusting without the relevant research and direction when building your business? I know I have!

Some of us will see ‘the next big thing’ and invest in the wrong activity. Or we could be so paralysed with choices and the unknown that we do nothing. Neither option results in a sustainable business.

To build resilient future businesses, you must have:

  • trusted advisors,
  • trust in your people,
  • people who trust your leadership, and
  • an informed trust in your intuition.

2. Making confident decisions

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything

Eisenhower

How many times have we made plans but haven’t executed them? Or did you make plans without involving the right people (note I didn’t say all of your people)? 

Many business owners I work with feel they need to carry the weight of the decision making and bear the results. But they lack the confidence to carry through with the decision.

Yes, the buck stops with them, but getting the right people involved in making the right decisions is vital and a reliable way to increase confidence in the ultimate decision. According to the latest HR Coach research, employers’ ability to plan, problem-solve and make decisions has dropped by 8% since 2020. 

The trust you build with your people, advisors and other experts will pay dividends in making confident decisions.

3. The Sustainability Factor

The need for sustainability will continue to grow in importance. The triple bottom line or ESG (environmental, social, governance initiatives) will be a feature in smaller enterprises over the next decade. Governments may drive this, but I suspect that community and employees expectations of businesses will become a significant driver of change.

If you are not familiar with the ESG, put simply, it’s demonstrating to society ‘how the world is better off by having you in it?’ 

We are looking at the sustainability of:

  • The planet
  • Your people
  • Your funding and investments
  • Your market.

If viewed through this lens, sustainability is a core function of business…well duh.

From a HR perspective, sustainability comes from having a solid HR framework, including understanding your people data, employee value proposition, retention, exits, attraction and succession. 

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Again, developing the trust of your people and the wider community will be critical here, and in my opinion, that trust will be driven by your people.

4. The care factor

This is probably a left-field megatrend topic for many business leaders – exploring our current public health system.  

As an example, the Public Health Association Australia reported that the degree of wellbeing and health is a major economic driver and the economic impact of overweight and obesity is 3.1% of GDP. If we maintain the current system of public health is the sole burden of government, is this sustainable? Does private enterprise have a role to play? The response to the pandemic was a combination of public and private enterprise contribution so this may well be a glimpse into the future

Of course, the solution is beyond any one group, but it requires serious consideration.

To maintain a sustainable business (and society), we need healthy customers and people. Where can we as businesses contribute? Any solution will be controversial, but can we afford to do nothing? 

5. Next generation

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It feels like every generation talks about the ‘next generation’ with a mixture of hope and despair. But several factors make considering the needs and wants of the ‘next generation’ even more critical now. Organisational psychologist, Kelly Maniatis reported that only 10% of employees are thriving at work indicating that urgent action is required. As with our health system, this is not sustainable. 

Regardless of their generation, employees are now asking about well-being factors and well-being is being negotiated above salary. Employees are looking for a deeper connection based on empathy, growth and diversity. According to the Boston Consulting Group, 60% of employees are looking at the organisation’s ESG and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) KPIs when considering employment options. 

Can you afford to limit the pool of potential employees to the 40% who may not claim to be influenced by these values? 

These figures are not just a consideration for the large end of town (you are competing in the same talent pool after all). No matter your business and team size, your people are part of a greater society feeling this, so ignore it at your peril. 

6. The Leadership Factor

When comparing pre- and post-pandemic leadership, I found one glaring difference – today’s leaders do not have the luxury of time to consider new information before reacting. The pace of change continues to escalate, so leaders feel pressured to “do something”. This megatrend is likely to continue.

Forbes tells us that 95% of businesses cite the need to manage unstructured data as a problem for their business. This Big Data contributes to the ‘noise’ that leaders need to sift through and erodes the confidence in doing the right thing as a leader.

The ‘need to be brave’ is now a key leadership trait. This could mean challenging assumptions, gathering accurate data for your business, focusing on the outcome, playing a longer game rather than getting a quick win and showing vulnerability-based trust (check out Patrick Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions of a Team).   

Do you know what your business and people need from you? It’s almost certainly not what was needed in the past.

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The key takeaway is that, as global citizens and business owners, we have to stop “kicking the can down the road”, saying they are too big for us as individuals and assuming these problems will be fixed by our children. 

We need to stop asking ‘Are we doing things right?” and start asking ‘Are we doing the right things?’ We need to access the right information and make sustainable decisions. Sustainability is not a fad nor a marketing campaign. It’s about leaving a legacy, one we are proud of.

Upon reflection, I think I have posed more questions than answers in the above, but don’t we need to be asking the right questions to find a new path?

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1 Comment

  1. Advisory Board Centre on June 7, 2022 at 4:52 am

    Excellent article with many important questions raised, Melissa! Thank you so much for attending the Megatrends Summit, we are so glad you left feeling optimistic!

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Image of Melissa Langton - Exceler8 - HR Consultant

Hi! I'm Melissa

I'm a sought-after HR coach, advisor and strategist. I'm also the director of Exceler8. My clients call me their people paracetamol because I help them say 'goodbye' to HR headaches and 'hello' to the perfect people formula to support their business. If you're ready for HR help or transformation, please get in touch. 

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