FOTPD-27Last Friday, a small group of  business people, human resources leaders, recruiters, educators, and futurists met to start the process of indentifying the trends and issues that will impact talent management, human resources, recruitment and learning over the next five or more years.

We began with asking everyone what they were seeing or experiencing in their own environments and workplaces. There was an amazing amount of overlap and agreement on the major issues employees and family members are experiencing.  Some of the issues were not so new; some were identified 3-4 years ago as trends that were accelerating. But new issues came up as well. We aggregated many of the smaller trends and issues into several larger categories which are explained below. We will follow this session with one or two more and then prepare a final “trends map” for the talent landscape that we will present at our annual Retreat in September.


FOTPD-29Here is a brief summary of each.

Fast Teams

Project-based work will dominate. Teams will forms around a need, will be assembled with the best people for a particular activity or need, and then disband once the project is finished.  Few people will be employed as regular employees with on-going status as employees. Skills will be fungible and change rapidly. Being able to learn quickly (and forget quickly) will be key.  Recruiters will recruit for skills, not for people. Many people will be independent and offer their skills on sites such a eLance. There will be much more competitive bidding for skills on a project-by-project basis. 

Democratization of Learning /Citizen & Workforce Preparation

Massive open online courses (also called MOOCs) will become more and more popular. These are generally free and open to everyone. Credit is sometimes given, often for a fee and after a test. Harvard, MIT, Stanford are some of the most well-known universities offering these types of courses. They have the potential to weaken the finances of higher education by reducing the numbers of tuition-paying students. Yet, MOOCs allow more and more people access to world-class education and to a global base of fellow learners. MOOCs or something like them may lead to huge changes in how higher education is distributed.

Self-learning is also much more readily available from Internet-based courses, YouTube video, and even by using Google to search out information and resources on a topic.  Mentors and coaches will become more popular and available, especially as experienced and skilled Baby Boomers retire and look for other things to do.

All-in-all, education looks like it’s in for a major revamp and redirection.

The Self-Absorption Factor

While we believe there is a downturn in traditional consumerism, there is an uptick in the demands of customers, especially youth. They are more determined to have whatever they want, be it a service or a product, the way they want it. They want input, choice, and they want it now.

This is an age of individualism and personalization, and although many will choose to work as part of a team or on a project, they will maintain tight control over such things as schedules, outcomes, how they do the work and where they do it.

FOTPD-36Innovate or Die

There is and will continue to be a push toward developing new services and products. Constant change and innovation are seen as avenues to continued growth and profits. CEOs cite creativity as the factor they most need for long term success. Firms such as Apple are punished by investors if there is a perception that innovation has decreased.  

Innovation does not flourish in hierarchal organizations or under tight compliance and regulation. This creates a paradox between leadership teams that remain structured, siloed, and hierarchal while demanding more innovation and that continue to reward those who comply with the old system.

Eileen Clegg and Ellen Lovelidge from Visual Insights created the agenda and created the powerful graphics that show the trends and issues.

We will continue to update, add to and expand on these themes over the summer. If you would like to be part of this activity or if you have ideas to contribute or trends/issues you are seeing, we’d love to hear from you. Simply send an email to and we’ll be in touch to listen to your idea.


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