What lies in store for people management in the coming year? In this post, I’d like to share those ideas which I think will have the greatest impact on human resources management this year. Of course, some of these ideas will be more appropriate for some sectors than for others; and only time will tell if these predictions turn out to be prescient…

  1. Leadership 2.0: A new style of people management, more open and less distant, is gradually making headway. The creation of this new culture is being helped by Web 2.0 applications that focus on cooperation, new ways of perceiving value in companies, and the presence of a digitally literate workforce. However, this culture change will not be achieved primarily because of technology, but because of a different conception of managing people; in particular, a more cooperative, transparent and less distant type of leadership. As happened with Internet at the beginning, some companies will be quick to embrace new styles of management facilitated by technological advances, while others will be mere passive observers. When we talk about a 2.0. approach, we do not just mean having a blog (!), but far more profound changes in management style.
  2. Change and transformation management: Many companies are embarking on profound changes, and will need to implement a shift in the company culture for a variety of reasons: they are entering the 2.0 world, they will have to keep on downsizing their workforce, or they’re trying to recover after a bad 2009. No one knows what will happen in 2010, but one thing is for sure: we won’t go back to where we were before the crisis. Therefore, the need for change and transformation is inevitable.
  3. A NoFear style of management: Many people are feeling dejected because of the crisis, and it will be a real challenge to manage them in such a way that they stay motivated. Unfortunately, fear is on the increase, and many managers who previously nurtured their staff’s talent are now returning to more coercive practices. However, such a management style is incompatible with creativity and with a state of mind which allows people to give the best of themselves.
  4. Mentoring: Many less-experienced managers are finding the current exacting circumstances very difficult to negotiate. For this reason, companies such as Banesto are implementing talent development programmes which use more experienced members of staff as guides, or mentors.
  5. Informal learning: A few years ago, one of the difficulties of e-learning was the lack of access to Internet, or people’s lack of ability to use it. This problem largely no longer exists, and we now have the opportunity, and the challenge, to provide cooperation-oriented resources which enable people to develop professionally.
  6. A client-focused approach: Human resources departments need to fully understand they are at the service of external and internal clients; they should also think about using basic marketing skills in their communications with the rest of the company, as their internal image often leaves much to be desired. All of the foregoing will serve to place the human resource department more in line with the basic aims of the business.
  7. 2.0 communication: Social networks are assuming increasing importance in intra-company communication. Indeed, some of the more innovative companies are now replacing intranets with this type of tool. Communication needs to be increasingly horizontal, and in all possible directions, both within the company, and externally.
  8. The end of rigid demarcation: Divisions between departments will be gradually diluted thanks to technology and the need to work as a team. As complexity grows, rigidly separated departments make less sense. Detailed lists of functions that are set in stone will gradually become meaningless owing to the rapid pace of change.
  9. More performance-related salaries: The percentage of total remuneration which is allocated to meeting objectives may increase, especially in times of crisis like the present. While it is true that companies cannot afford to lose talented people, it is equally true that they are not in a position to pay the salaries offered before.
  10. A better work-life balance: An increasingly popular way of improving employee motivation is to implement policies that help staff meet the demands of their professional and personal lives. Such motivation-enhancing policies are all the more important in an environment where salaries may well stagnate.
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