If You Don’t Like Change – Don’t Come to 2020
You would be hard pressed to find one human on the planet today who has not been affected by some change – no, not just some change, but major changes to their life. Business is on the frontline of that reality. If anyone doubted the importance of humans to business, as consumers, employees, and other stakeholders, that doubt must be as dissipated as a morning mist when it meets the warmth of the day. The people in business who handle most challenges around your people are in Human Resources. Would you want to be the one handling all the changes around people in business today?
Be Careful What You Wish For
For years, Human Resources (HR) has wanted to “have a seat at the table”, to be taken seriously, and to be included more in business strategy. That day may be here. 2020 continues to bring wild and unruly changes seemingly around every corner involving every facet of our lives. Now HR can be the heroes every business needs. However, with such an onslaught of change, can HR handle it all?
Invite Me Into Your Home
HR may not just be responsible for your attendance card, but now must ensure that employees have a good set up to work from home. Do they have enough band width? Do they have technical equipment and proper communication tools? Where are children and pets going to be while the employee is on a customer service or business meeting call? Some companies have provided stipend for supplies that employees may not ordinarily have laying around the house. Another company sent teaching tips to parents to help with home schooling. Helping people work from home is a necessary change added to the workforce training palette.
Speaking of Training
Now, changes in technology are even more at the forefront. What knowledge and technology will the Mars 2020 trip bring? Think about meeting platforms? One word will bring visions of how one company has had to rush to solve technology changes for which there could have been no anticipation – Zoom. Need I say more? Moreover, there is a new generation entering the workforce that may need a change in the types of training for which HR had no anticipation.
For example, according to an article in the California Management Review Generation Z, (those born between 1997 – 2013), bring less work experience than the previous generation. This is because, according to the article, they grew up in a more affluent time and did not have the need to work. So along with standard training programs such as communication, customer service and sales, is HR now going to be developing programs around business terms, business operations, business etiquette and the like? Further, this generation is the most diverse in America’s workforce history with a high sense of equality and fair treatment. It is highly unlikely that diversity training will go away, but it may not need to be as intense or as often. Dare I ask, “Could this lead to fewer lawsuits?” Gasp!
Not physical changes to people, but physical changes in the workplace. While millennials preferred a more open workspace, Gen Zs, are independent workers, want to solve problems on their own, but do prefer face-to face interactions. Therefore, open workspaces may need to go away as the above source suggests that the open work system doesn’t work all that well anyway. Therefore, those walls may need to be put back up for increasing productivity for both generations. Increased productivity is always a good change.
Welcome to the New Change
OK change is not new, but the changes of today are:
- Everyone on planet earth is involved
- Ambiguity, fear, and overwhelm is somewhat universal
“Normal” change is a bit more subdued in most cases other than trauma or some isolated incident. Further, different groups of people may or may not be experiencing any major changes at all at the time you may be experiencing your change of a merger, job change, or some personal situation. These are the types of changes that we would classify as “normal” and HR deals with these daily. But just think, after all of this is over, you can face change with a brave, new face because you’ve been through one of the worst changes….and survived it! Hopefully, future generations who enter our workforce after Gen Z will not have this experience.
However, HR can add to its change skills and think now about what developmental courses and case studies can be built around this time in our history’s workforce. Remember, we are human, we adapt, that’s what we do! So, whether you like change or not, you’ve got it. But let’s take the best changes of 2020 forward, learn, and build from them.
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