To answer this question I’ve teamed up with my London Business School colleague, Andrew Scott. We are both fascinated by the hundred year life and are combining his mastery of economics with my expertise in psychology. We began our research by testing out the current three stage life model of education, employment and retirement and found it to be breaking under the strain of longevity. Not only are older members of society finding themselves needing or wanting to work past traditional retirement ages, but people of all age groups are having to adjust their progression plans and working styles to ensure they have the right skills and requisite energy levels for long careers.
As is often the case, individuals are adapting to the trend much faster than organisations and institutions, and we’re beginning to see experimentation at the level of the individual. At the level of government and businesses, we’re seeing less experimentation. For example, more young people are embarking on explorer phases and trialling different professions before getting started on the career ladder. Yet, companies are holding on to traditional recruitment approaches that rely on graduates straight from university. Our research has revealed that organisations are doing worryingly little to prepare for the hundred-year life, and may be faced with the consequences sooner rather than later. So, where can we find the answer?
My research combined with many years of experience with multinationals points directly to HR. The future of this function will lie in anticipating demographic trends and modeling the impact they will have on the workforce. (The data and tools are already available, and it is now simply a case of using them.) HR will need to translate these trends into new approaches to long-standing practices such as recruitment, training and development, and remuneration. It will also need to develop new initiatives that help people sequence their careers and take time to rest and recuperate. This is where I believe HR will really make its mark on corporate strategy – as guardians of the future of work.
Lynda is a Professor of Management Practice at London Business School where she directs the program ‘Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Companies’ – considered the world’s leading program on human resources. For over five years she has led the Future of Work Consortium which has brought executives from more than 60 companies together both virtually and on a bespoke collaborative platform. Over the last 20 years Lynda has written extensively about the interface between people and organizations. Her eight books cover the link between business and HR strategy (Living Strategy), the new ways of working (The Democratic Enterprise), the rise of complex collaboration (Hot Spots and Glow) and the impact of a changing world on employment and work (The Shift ). In 2012 The Shift received the best book of the year in Japan and has been translated into more than 15 languages. In 2015 The Key won the CMI Management Book of the Year. This book looks at the impact of the changing world on corporate practices and processes and on leadership. Lynda’s work has been acknowledged globally – she has won the Tata prize in India; in the US she has been named as the annual Fellow of NAHR and won the CCL prize; whilst in Australia she has won the HR prize. She is named by Thinkers 50 has one of the top 15 thinkers in the world. Lynda is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum and has chaired the WEF Council of Leadership. She serves as a judge on the FT Business Book of the Year panel, chairs the Drucker prize panel and is on the governing body of London Business School. team at the Future of Work Research Consortium has been investigating this trend for over a year, and we have produced some incredible projections for the hundred-year life. We are now taking the logical next step and asking what HR professionals will need to do differently in this new era to future proof their organisations.
Lynda will be the keynote speaker at Ibec's HR Leadership Summit Future Workplacestaking place on Wednesday 21st October at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. For further details and bookings please see www.hrleadership.ie