The Great Nostradamus and Work on 2021 – What to Expect?

Nostradamus was born in Saint Rémy de Provence, southern France, on December 14th of 1503. He was a famous French physician, cabalist, and pharmacist, best known for his book Les Prophesies, its first edition published in 1555.

Nostradamus had written 6338 prophecies, many of them fulfilled. His prophecies cover a period reaching the year 3797. The secret of his predictions is not known. Nostradamus’ quatrains continue to fascinate the world, although they were written almost five centuries ago.

Work Culture Change as Nostradamus expected!!

We also learnt that the field of Human Resources is even more important than we thought it was, that people analytics can save lives and that (albeit aided by technology) humans. The organizations they work for can adapt quickly in times of crisis – witness the largest remote working experiment in history.

Here are some of Nostradamus’ predictions for 2021:

#1 THE ‘FUTURE OF WORK’ HAS ARRIVED 

As Nostradamus invariably does, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella captured perfectly one of the most significant impacts of the pandemic, when he declared that” “We have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” Indeed, the crisis has arguably fast-forwarded the ‘future of work’ by five or ten years. There is no going back. The era of hybrid work is well and truly here. Now we need to make hybrid working ‘work’ and dovetail factors such as employee preferences and wellbeing with business requirements. HR and People Analytics teams will be at the forefront of this discussion as they answer questions such as: What are the tasks that can be done more productively remotely? What are the types of work we need to be together to do? How does our culture need to evolve in line with hybrid working? How can our workplaces be more collaborative? Finally, if the ‘future of work’ really has arrived, does that mean we will stop hearing about the ‘future of work’? If so, I suspect a certain Barry Flack will be delighted!

#2 ALL EYES ON HR

The pandemic has thrust the human resources function into the spotlight. The pivotal role played by the CHRO in this crisis has been likened to that of the CFO during the Global Financial Crisis. HR has thrived during this difficult time in organisations where the function is well led, has strong senior stakeholder equity, has prioritised employee wellbeing and has robust capability in people analytics. Research from the likes of the World Economic Forum (here), IBM (here, see FIG 1), Deloitte (here), Accenture (here) and Merryck & Co (here) all point the way forward for how HR should evolve to a more enhanced role. Companies need their HR functions like they’ve never needed them before – not only to be the conductor of digital transformation and new ways of working for people related issues, but to put the ‘human’ at the centre and ensure that our workplaces become fairer, better and more humane. All eyes are on HR  and undoubtedly HR has a unique role to play. Can the function deliver on the weight of expectations that have been thrust onto its shoulders?

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FIG 1: The evolution of Human Resources (Source: Accelerating the journey to HR 3.0, IBM Institute of Business Value)

#3 WELLBEING TAKES CENTRE STAGE

One of the major positives I’ve seen during the crisis is that the vast majority of organizations I’ve spoken to have prioritized employee health and wellbeing. It is a start, but there is much, much more work to do. The levels of stress, burnout and mental illness in many workplaces is unacceptable .And – according to research by the likes of Jeffrey Pfeffer and Leanne Williams (here) – the pandemic has only made the situation worse.

Moreover, not only does this have a calamitous impact on the physical and mental health of the workforce but, as evidenced by Pfeffer in his sobering tome Dying for a Paycheck, it has a negative impact on business performance too. This is where strong leadership from HR comes in, backed up by evidence from people analytics teams. As an example, Leena Nair shared with me in an episode of the Digital HR Leaders Podcast that Unilever found that they get a $2.50 return for every $1.00 invested in employee wellness. I’m looking forward to learning about similar examples from other companies and am optimistic that the shift to prioritising wellbeing and mental health will continue as we hopefully emerge on the other side of the pandemic.

#4 PEOPLE ANALYTICS CONTINUES TO FLOURISH, DEEPEN & SCALE FOR VALUE

Strong capability in People Analytics is an absolute must-have for any CHRO looking to deliver positive impact for the business and its workforce. During the pandemic it is not too dramatic to state that people analytics has helped save lives – either within an organisation through a focus on employee health and wellbeing or through supporting business continuity in companies focused on essential supplies such as medicines. People Analytics is no longer a nice-to-have but an absolute essential for any organization.

Also Read: Just Now!! Conor McGregor Net Worth- Unbelievable, How Much Does He Earn In A Year?

3 thoughts on “The Great Nostradamus and Work on 2021 – What to Expect?”

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