The tech revolution that started back in the mid-90s radically changed the business landscape in ways that none of us could have imagined. But what if I told you one of the biggest changes in the business landscape is yet to come? But it’s not directly focused on tech—it’s about people.
Over the last 9 months, I’ve seen a steady increase in the role that human capital plays in our search business. More and more organizations are looking at their recruiting and hiring needs through a strategic lens because they are rapidly realizing that even the most compelling technology is meaningless without the right people to shape and guide it. Attracting and hiring top talent is not enough—successful companies need to be able to maximize the return on their human capital investment by creating a corporate culture that helps employees work smarter and focus on the things that move the business forward. That culture needs to perform double duty by also offering a dynamic professional environment that motivates people to stay.
If that transformation feels daunting, you’re not alone. Organizational change is never easy, but it’s the kind of challenge the team here at BlueSky absolutely loves. And there is no time better than the present to start understanding how the human capital revolution will impact your business, brand and workforce.
With that in mind, we’ve dusted off the BlueSky crystal ball and outlined 8 key emerging human capital trends that need to be factored into your workforce future. Ready to join the revolution?
1. Human Capital will be top of mind in the board room: In the past, financial and technical capital reigned supreme. Human capital is now eclipsing those two business pillars as the key to unlocking an organization’s success. Human capital will become the last thing CEOs think about before going to sleep and the first thing that comes to mind when they wake up. Piles of money and cutting-edge tech don’t mean much if you don’t have the right humans steering the ship.
2. Smart hiring will focus on behaviors: Hiring primarily for skills only gets you so far. Behaviors, on the other hand, drive results. Successful companies in the future will put a much greater emphasis on hiring employees who exhibit behaviors and character traits that focus on things that are unique to people, like leadership, empathy, integrity and contextual logic.
3. “Virtualness” will become a core value of leading companies: Companies who think work only gets done Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm in the office will get left behind. Smart companies will embrace the concept of “virtualness” that enables productivity and collaboration without boundaries. Savvy organizations will assimilate virtualness into their core values and convert it into a hiring angle that enables them to attract and retain top talent.
4. Organizations that offer “fluidity” will win in the future: The concept of virtualness creates a related phenomenon called “fluidity” – the ability to change gears, shift focus and pivot to meet emerging business challenges. Employees who are truly invested in their careers will be in constant contact with colleagues no matter what location they happen to be working in. Organizations who can grow and support this dynamic, fluid environment will generate much higher returns on their human capital investments.
5. Collaboration will crush the silo: In the virtual and fluid environment of the future, traditional organizational boundaries will get blurred. Embracing the promise of technology will enable companies to assemble the right team, at the right time in the most effective way. Leading companies will become “collaboration experts”—they will win in the marketplace based on how they work horizontally rather than how they manage vertically.
6. Outsourcing will be king: Smart companies are leveraging tech to build operational efficiency. And focusing their human capital on amplifying the aspects of their business that make them unique and that make customers want to engage with them. This focused approach means that out-sourcing will play an increasingly prominent role in the business plans of industry leaders, as non-essential aspects of the business are handed off to vendors and partners.
7. The workforce reimagined: Forward thinking companies are adjusting their hiring and recruiting plans to reflect the dramatic changes in the workplace over the last decade. Successful companies will embrace workers from their teens to people in their 60s and 70s. Many will eliminate college degree requirements and instead focus on the behaviors and skills that drive success within their organizations.
8. Capabilities will go virtual: Technology has enabled companies to create an entirely new set of “virtual capabilities.” For example, a team at GE Life Sciences analyzed 500,00 protein-related comments on social media to generate data-driven insights that helped the company more closely align its sales and search strategy with the needs and voice of the customer. Technology and human capital are the ingredients that can create just-in-time solutions and build compelling competitive differentials.
The human capital revolution is gaining momentum and will continue to be a top priority for forward-thinking organizations. Its growing importance reflects a fundamental realization that technology can’t do it all. We still need humans to provide oversight, inspiration and the kind of creative problem-solving that shapes our technology-driven future in responsible ways. By focusing and aligning your efforts on the trends outlined above, you can keep your company and culture ahead of the curve.