The future state of HR in organisations

How your organisation will look like in 5 years from now


Marty de Jonge

3 years ago | 3 min read

If I would get a dime for every time I heard this sentence the last weeks, I’d be loaded..

“The world of work as we knew it no longer exists anymore”

Organizations have been confronted with the disruptive consequences of the COVID-19 measures. This crisis has accelerated a number of changes within organisations.

Ancient history

Until a decade ago it was the belief that the environment had to be controlled, that this environment was ‘engineerable’. This is diametrically opposed to reality. A reality that is naturally subject to unpredictability. Fayol and Taylor, among others, wanted to control this unpredictability. And in their time this was probably the best solution. Today, it’s not like that anymore.

Recent history

In recent years, many organizations have stepped into the Agile boat and have undergone a transformation to a greater or lesser degree. Agile can be seen as an umbrella of methods and practices based on the Agile Manifesto where the first principle is ‘Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer by delivering valuable software early and continuously’. However, it is no longer limited to the last word ‘software’ but is now used much more widely.

In order to deliver (working) results earlier, Agile has long since ceased to suffice on an operational level only and has also made its entrance on a tactical and strategic level. Constantly looking for improvements in order to deliver even earlier, even better solutions and thus stay one step ahead of the competition.

Organizations before or during transformations are often confronted with solutions to problems from the past that are now the factors for limitations. Existing current patterns and paradigms, rules, procedures, positions and functions within organizations are often a constraint for organizations to continuously develop and improve.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels
Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

The nearby future

My image of the future is that many functions in organisations will lapse and the tasks that belonged to these functions will be taken up and carried out in roles.

Every role in the organisation is characterised by value creation and directly or indirectly supports customer satisfaction.

Teams will organize themselves and do what is necessary to create customer value. These teams will look back on their own performance, look forward to what can come their way and make sure they have the right knowledge, skills and personalities. While not losing sight of the bigger picture of the organization.

Frameworks are agreed within which each team and can move freely. Team members can learn and improve from each other. And if frameworks are too restrictive, it must be possible to adapt them. It is no longer about allocating individual training budgets, assessment and performance interviews, appraising and rewarding on the basis of function (salary models).

Teams will have to be enabled to do this themselves… but… there will continue to be roles that support teams in the how. This will be the expertise current HR employees can contribute to the (self-organised) teams.

Where it is not entirely unthinkable that employees have multiple roles.

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The far future

How the world of work as an HR employee will look like in a year (of five) from now? I can not predict this exactly. However, what I do know is that it will impact almost all these topics that up till now were almost all exclusively i the HR domain.

  • Employees no longer have functions but fulfil a role (or multiple roles)
  • Digitisation and automation of HR increasingly grows, leaving less manual work for the current department.
  • Teams themselves will be responsible for development, engagement, assessment in the form of development and improvement and the acquisition of knowledge and skills (recruitment).
  • Functions to roles

Answers need to be found on how to deal with:

  • Assignments and control vs Self-organisation
  • Management vs Leadership
  • Individual vs team
  • Training budget vs continuous development/improvement
  • Salary scales vs reward and appreciate
  • Controlling vs Engagement
  • Reports vs information radiators
  • Cost reduction thinking vs value creation thinking
  • Managing employees vs supervising employees
  • Development/growth in positions vs talent and role development
  • HR cycle vs retrospectives

What is your view on the future of HR and what solutions do you propose?


Created by

Marty de Jonge

As an agnostic change agent, I am constantly amazed at what happens in organizations and learn every day. Enthusiastic writer and always open for discussion.







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