Research - 01.03.2023 - 12:00 

“Trend Barometer: People Management 2030”

What are the trends shaping human resource management? That is the question examined in the study “Trend Barometer: People Management 2023”. The fact that more than 43% of the HR experts polled said their people management wasn’t future-proof is striking.

The Institute for Leadership and Human Resource Management (I.FPM-HSG) and PwC Germany came together with the DGFP (German Association for Human Resource Management) to examine trends in people management. A total of 470 HR experts participated in the survey, which was performed at two separate measurement points in 2019 (155) and 2022 (315). The “Trend Barometer: People Management 2030” study, the latest in the series, builds on the findings of 2019’s “People Management 2025”. Two core issues are front and centre: developments in human resource management during the pandemic years of 2019 to 2022 and strategic trends for the years up until 2030, with the study clearly demonstrating that effective HR managers have the technical and data analysis skills needed to create a flat, modern workplace culture.      

Change Management Remains Basic 

Between 2019 and 2022, the three people-management roles that saw the biggest growth in importance were transformation and change management (+18%), data and technology management (+15%) and employer branding (+14%). The HR professionals surveyed also stated that the roles of recruiting and personnel planning were extremely crucial due to changing demographics and the ongoing shortage of trained workers. By 2030, demographic change will rank among the biggest challenges in effective personnel management. “People management will become enormously important in the coming years. But preparation for these requirements is not keeping pace. The gap is growing. A massive development push is needed if we are to be fit to meet that growing importance by 2030”, adds Marvin Neu, member of the research staff in Prof. Dr. Heike Bruch’s team at I.FPM-HSG.

Digital Skills Becoming Ever More Key 

Digital knowledge (98%), empathy (97%) and strategic thinking (96%) are, according to HR experts, the key skills in people management. They also said that by 2030, big data and people analytics skills (+23%), readiness to experiment (+15%) and digital knowledge (+10%) would see the greatest increase in importance. “In 2030, having a solid grasp of digital technology and data analysis skills will be crucial. These abilities already play a significant role in people management today,” says Till R. Lohmann, Partner and Head of People & Organisation Consulting at PwC Germany. The fact that more than 43% of the HR experts polled said their people management wasn’t future-proof is striking.     

No New Work without New Culture 

Even if “New Work” tendencies grew significantly from 2019 to 2022 (+29% for mobile working) in line with expectations, the poll reveals glaring gaps in business and work culture (“New Culture”). The use of agile methods (-20%), flexible structures and processes (-18%) and example-setting by top management (-17%) all declined in importance, however. Factors critical to the success of New Culture – visionary, inspiring leadership (-13%) or positive energy and high dynamics (-16%) – have also lost ground in recent years. Per the authors of the study, a sustainable transition to New Work can only by successful if companies also succeed in aligning their work culture (New Culture) accordingly.

Laser Focus on Developing the Opportunities of Change 

The world of work has already changed enormously. Nonetheless, unforeseen events like geopolitical crises, disruption to supply chains and labour shortages continue to present problems for people management. But big change means big opportunities. And if they are to take advantage of these opportunities, HR professionals will need to be able to deal with a number of new responsibilities by 2030. “Strengthening people management in four key areas is required to overcome the impending challenges in people management: the labour shortage must be dealt with, the digital transformation must be pushed forward, cultural skills must be refined and a modern work culture must be established”, according to Heike Bruch, Professor of Leadership at I.FPM-HSG.       

The full study is available for download here.

Image: Unsplash

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