I was recently talking to a friend who’s been in the workforce a lot longer than I have. He’s a baby boomer who remembers the terrifying lack of jobs when he graduated in 1975. He remembers 1987’s Black Monday. He lived through the dotcom boom and bust. He reminds me that everything runs in cycles, including employment, but says he’s more pessimistic today than he’s ever been.
Perhaps it’s a consequence of age, or perhaps it’s a reaction to the culture of uncertainty we’re living in. Either way I feel his pain, and in talking with other Leaders and HR pros I know I’m not alone in having friends like this, and hearing stories like his from every generation. The future of the world of work is a scary thing to think about right now.
Employers no longer have the upper hand in what happens with employees; at best they do some navigating. Public policy on everything from healthcare to retirement to taxes is changing the world of work. People across the board need an advocate — all the families out there juggling multiple jobs to squeak by, recent graduates still living at home because they can’t find a full-time job, seniors approaching retirement and stumped as to how to protect, let alone add to, their retirement savings.
I believe that HR can step up and fill the gap. It’s time for HR leaders to stretch out of the role of risk manager and into the role of employee advocate and brand ambassador. How can we do that? We can understand public policy and its effect on the business climate. We can study regulations. And we can work with policymakers through organizations such as The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which this week will send HR leaders to Washington to address Congress on the topics of retirement security and employer-subsidized education.
Normally #TChat World of Work stays away from the third rail of politics, but this week we’ll step a bit closer (while minding the gap) with a discussion of how public policy is re-shaping the world of work. Mr. Smith went to Washington, yes, and so will TalentCulture. Following are our questions for the week:
Q1: In what ways is public policy shaping the future of the workplace – for better or worse?
Q2: Why and how can HR and leaders stay ahead of regulations — to benefit organizational stakeholders?
Q3: What role can tech play in forging more constructive ties between business and policy makers?
Q4: To what degree is public policy helping or hindering innovation in talent strategy? What should HR do?
Q5: Should some aspects of the workplace remain separate from public policy oversight? Why and how?
The TalentCulture community is a powerful group of thinkers. Let’s put our virtual heads together this week and get serious about what we can do, as leaders, to help employers and employees chart a course through the next months and years. Join #TChat on Twitter this Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are). Moderating live, from Washington, D.C., will be SHRM’s very own Donna Rogers (@DonnaRogersHR), founder of Rogers Human Resources Consulting. We’ll steer clear of personal politics, but we’ll be looking for your opinions on the intersection of HR and public policy. Join the conversation, and remember: no complaining unless you take action.
Image credit: Washington, D.C. – The White House, by Stefan Fussan