My youngest child is a senior in college, and even though I want to think I am a young man, but all the signs in my life tell me I am

moving into the autumn of my career.  As someone who is passionate about the Human Resource profession I sometimes wonder where will this field of HR be in twenty years and how will it get there.  Will we end up there because that is where the collective mind of HR thought we should be, or will we end up where we are because simply by happenstance?

My instincts tell me that we will end up where we desire to be, because the leaders of the the collective mind will help lead us there.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world. ”  So what will change with HR in the future?  Although I am not a futurist, I see big changes on the horizon for HR of the Future.  It will not be for the faint of heart. We need to be preparing tomorrows leaders today.  They are going to be forced to deal with many issues.  I really got on this train of thought following a conversation about leadership with my blogging buddy and #ProjectSocial partner Laura Schroeder.   See what Laura has to say non the matter over at  her blog Working Girl.  Then take a look at what follows.  These are some of the issue I see confronting the HR Leaders of  tomorrow.

Work and Mobility  In many instances it would appear today’s employer is all about bricks and mortar, but I feel that is a concept that will continue to fade into the past.  Work teams will be diverse and dispersed.  A work team can already be located around the world.  Right now societies and employees are struggling to adapt to this concept.  You may report to someone that you see face to face on very infrequent basis.  This will also continue to cut away at the concept of long-term employment.

I see work teams of the future more like talent that is assembled for a project, for a finite period of time.  You will work together and then disband,  perhaps to work together again, or not.  The concept is very similar to making a movie, or drilling for oil.  You assemble your talent, perform this project and move on to the next, call them mercenary employees.  Some of the folks will be on site, some off site and all will move on at the completion of the project.

The Definition Work  As technology becomes more and more pervasive and more and more intrusive,  it appears that the lines between work and non-work is going to become seriously blurred.  At least in the country our labor laws are going to have to change if we wish to compete on the world stage. What we will know as work in the future does not exist today.  It will be different.

Productivity  How will work output be measures and evaluated. In many instances it will not be measured in any way shape or form that we are doing so today.  I see output and productivity being measured over longer periods of time – say during the duration of a project.  In some pursuits there will be certifications or endorsements to tell the world you are competent or qualified and perform work properly and in a prescribed time frame.  I see this coming more from independent agencies or not for profits.

 Health Care as an Employee Benefit This will no longer be what we know it as today.  The employee benefit will sit on top of some type of care that is provided to everyone.  Given the direction of health care and health care costs it appears that some level of care will be afforded to everyone. Employers will still sweeten the pot if you will.  Things like better funding for this, access to more exclusive providers or a greater degree of on-site or close by care, perhaps delivered by a CVS, Walgreen’s of (God Forbid) WalMart.

Workplace Diversity  This too will change as the workplace changes most likely leading to a redefining of what it means.  What we know a s the workplace will not be the same.   And diversity – well I see us moving into one big melting pot that continues to become more and more homogeneous.  I think we will still have some classes, such as gender, age and religion.  Some of the other classes will become more of a challenge to define and I think will just go away.

HR in Government  This is my mind is an emerging area. So many governement bodies have done such a poor job of meeting their employees’ needs employee will drive government agencies to professionalize  call it Government HR. (Hey SHRM a new certification GHR.)  As long as we continue to have growth in public sector unions and politicians making ill conceived and poorly planned government operation and staffing decisions based upon budgetary constraints, both government employees and voters will demand accountability and it will require professionals to deliver that accountability. HR in government is minimally existent today, but won’t be in the future.

All of this talk of the future makes me think of the Jetson’s.  As a child of the ’60’s. I grew up watching  George and Jane and their family.  So much of what seemed literally outrageous has come to fruition.  The Jetson’s cooked with their fingers (microwaves),  talked on video phones (Skype) and had a robot (Rosie) to clean their house (Roomba).

I can’t help but wonder how Human Resources will look In the Year 2525.