I often catch public transport around cities to meet with various clients. Recently as I sat gazing out the window, I realised that there was a growing disconnect about what I was observing and the economic information that I had been gathering.
The cities were vibrant. There appeared no expense on developing skyscrapers, apartment complexes, and supporting infrastructures. People appeared busy, dressed in reasonable clothes, drinking plenty of coffee, talking in cafes and lunching in restaurants.
These observations were similar, but obviously different in my own local community.
What played on my mind was how can there be such an appearance of affluence when economic data was indicating that many Australians financial positions were deteriorating?
The data indicated that Australian households has one of the highest level of debt in the world. Admittedly much of the debt is considered good debt because it has the potential for income generation.
I was asked to deliver of Future of Work series with Annie Gaffney on ABC radio.
It was over a period of three months during 2017.
This is an outline of the final session
The population is growing, less people are dying, jobs are changing from full time to contract and at the same time more machines are doing both mind and muscle work… and of course technology is speeding up.
Historically Human Resources (HR) has had limited opportunity to set the people management agenda. It is a function that has primarily prospered when the economy, or an industry sector is booming and obtaining and attracting staff is a priority. HR’s subsequent value often regresses in economic downturns, when labor becomes more abundant.
The modern-day example is the growth in the technology sector, and its requirements for talent.
“Tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple are now on the front lines of HR innovation, largely because they have an acute need for specialized talent. Human capital is practically their only major asset; talent is in short supply; and competitors are eager to lure employees away”. HBR
HR’s historical fluctuating value, has an opportunity to reposition itself, as a critical strategic function with the ongoing development of People Analytics. This methodology has primarily evolved along with the rise of the Tech industry.
Conscious capitalism. The business model of the future.
The world is on the cusp of the biggest employment disrupter it has ever known. It has been brought about by the technological revolution and will be accelerated with the world of robotics and artificial intelligence.
The old model of business primarily driven by short term thinking, short term shareholder value, and short term management remuneration systems is not sustainable. The acute focus on reducing labour costs, the largest expense for most businesses, will not create enough jobs to sustain the working population.
With the dawn of the technological revolution, a new model of doing business needs to be created which must include societal value. What is the alternative?
Some years ago, early each morning before I went to work, my friend Brenda and I ran around the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. As we did so, we shared stories predominantly around of our lives including numerous work stories. I was a GM of HR at the time and Brenda was a Chemical Engineer. It was during one of these runs, when I was sharing one of my work stories that she introduced me to a concept called the Lawyers Truth and the Poets Truth. Simply put when making decisions in organisations, how do we ensure we view an issue through the lens of the lawyer who view the legalities of a situation and the lens of a poet, who views the humanity of the situation.
The topic came up as I was expressing my concerns about how legalistic organisations were becoming and how HR if not careful, with all the new legislation could become like mini lawyers rather than helping managers help manage people at work. The idea of a Lawyers truth and a Poets truth resonated so strongly with me, I started using the language in my everyday practice and I also designed an education program for managers based on this concept.