Depending on whom you ask, many people seem to think that the field of human resources doesn’t change very much. Personally, I don’t believe that to be true. I think human resources is changing rapidly. Sometimes HR departments can become so singularly focused on putting out the current fires that they don’t take the time to forecast the future or anticipate trends in the global workforce.

But if you take a moment to think about some of the major changes in the last five years alone, you have to admit that things are very different today from a recruiting standpoint. What are some of the driving forces that are changing and transforming our job structure? Let’s take a closer look.

Human Capital

The human factor is pretty constant – you need them to work for you and buy your goods. No matter what business model you follow, what industry you’re in, or how innovative your company’s products are, you’ll always need someone to program the machines, create the databases, crunch the data, ensure that the rules and regulations are followed, oversee production, and protect the company against liability.

Maybe the human factor doesn’t change; however, the way we motivate, attract and manage them does. For instance, employees used to want jobs with compensation and healthcare benefits. Now, not only do they want additional perks, like extended time off for vacation, maternity, and paternity leave; they also want student loan payments, credit card allowances, and jobs for spouses, relocation, new technologies, and company cars and homes. They are also demanding more training, better safety standards, and more professional development. And once again, companies have had to adjust in order to thrive and remain competitive.

Service

Customer service is a vital part of organizational success, even more, today than ever before. If you study companies that excel within their industry, service is one of the main reasons. Today, both good and bad customer experiences get shared and could go viral in an instant. And bad customer service experiences get more attention than great ones. That’s why more and more companies are changing their focus to provide better service levels and customer interactions.

The need for good customer service has not changed—but again, it’s the methods and delivery that have changed, predominately because of technology.

Technology

Speaking of technology, as you know, it’s changing all the time. It has altered the way business is done radically over the past decade, and it will continue to shape our future processes. The Internet, social media, and mobile technology have made recruiting, hiring, training, safety, and productivity easier, faster, better, and more efficient. Thanks to technology, companies can recruit from virtually anywhere around the world. It has also made communicating with workers easier and more seamless, through the use of various modes and media. Technology allows us to have more product lines, safer equipment, and improved processes, all while reducing costs, risks, and liability.

External Forces

We have discussed human capital, service, and technology but the final piece to the puzzle is external forces. External forces are the things we have no control over like new laws, political administrations, and natural disasters. The world today is much different than it was in 2008 when unemployment was in the double digits, many countries were at war, jobs were outsourced, and the global economy was in terrible shape.

Fast forward to today, when jobs are returning and small business ownership is up, putting millions back to work – jobs which would have been outsourced in earlier days. Although goods may cost a little more, many consumers are happy to pay extra just to support new job creation. At the same time, government initiatives like the Affordable Healthcare Act (A.K.A. Obamacare) have raised new challenges for small to medium-sized businesses to meet.

Business leaders and human resources professionals have to make time to analyze and understand the impact of global and local trends on their industries and to embrace the changes in consumer demands, service, and talent management and development. If not, they run the risk of falling behind.

Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.

5 Comments

  • Avatar Kathy Mills says:

    I think technology has had the greatest impact on the job structure. New technologies have made the search of the potential employees easier and more effective. But it changes so quickly that it is important not to follow new technology trends just for the sake of “being fashionable” and use only the technology that is helpful.

  • Avatar Sarah Kimley says:

    We live in a rapidly changing environment, so no wonder that the approach to recruiting is different than it used to be. I would agree that the technology has changed the way we approach a lot of things. It has made our work easier and more productive.

  • Avatar Ira Wolfe says:

    The changes are much more profound and extensive. The whole definition of work has changed. Many people don’t even “go to work” anymore. The context of full and part-time employment is also reaching the end of usefulness. In the not too distant future, employers will hire by project and workers will string together a number of jobs to create a full working experience. Yes, technology and the Internet is changing things and yes, employers will always need workers. But how people work and what workplaces look like will be very different. And the one elephant in the room that few people want to address is the pace of change. It’s accelerating and hoping to get out of the way before the wave hits is wishful thinking.

  • Avatar Daniel Branson says:

    In the past years, human resources has changed and developed a lot. These changes are mainly the result of the new employment laws and the economic challenges that all industries faced. That is why human resources departments have to change in order to keep up with the new market expectations.HR people become a resource for the company leaders and they start to collaborate with managers in finding the most suitable employees and also in creating strategies for keep their top talents.

  • Avatar Stephania says:

    In the current market, the human resources departments become an essential part of the company strategy. Company success depends a lot on the work of HR force and this can be a good sign – even though we have all this technology around us, making life easier, we should keep in mind that people are the most valuable resource.

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