This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

October 3, 2000

Choices Cause Chaos for Human Resoruces

86 Days until January 1, 2001

Economic expansion, acceptance of a wide variety of lifestyles and evolving values of the younger generation fuel a strong drive toward considering an ever-growing array of choices. We can now choose what kind of work we want to do, where we will do it, when we will work, and even why we will work . . . or not work. Today's society condones all sorts of lifestyles-male parents or same-sex partners raising children, people working from home, sabbaticals to spend more time with children, and a lot of flexibility.

This new prosperity gives more choices as well: Work . . . or not work? Determine our own unique way of earning a living? For some, it virtually ends the compensation race with the people down the street.

These are major issues today for so many people. No longer are we required to follow the rules, to conform to some seemingly official way of managing our lives. Now we can live where we want to; eat, sleep, and work when we want to; and make other decisions about how we will live. More and more people perceive themselves able to make a lot of decisions about what is really important to them . . . and what is not.

Flexibility in corporate America is becoming an important key to employee retention. Look for more corporations to adopt Microsoft's attitude of flexibility towards employees' work and workplaces. Small companies that can provide that flexibility will find themselves with a competitive edge in the hiring process. Organizations unable to offer it will find themselves at a disadvantage.

More people will break away from the shackles of conformity to find their own personal balance. They're anxiously beginning to control their lives. But there is a dark side: this new-found freedom threatens to turn the business world topsy-turvy. Managing human resources is difficult when the resources want to manage themselves. Watch for a whole new environment of negotiation around control, as dedicated employees elect to do it their way. Watch for non-business impacts, as well, on family and community life, for instance.

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