The International Labor Organization (ILO) launched it's Global Commission’s report on January 22, 2019, with a focus on a “human-centered” agenda for the future of work. The report calls for Governments, employers and workers organizations to reboot the social contract to meet the challenges of the future, and examines issues such as the future of work, work flex, apprenticeships, the skills-gap, diversity and inclusion, among others—to better adjust to the current world of work. The report centers on three pillars of action:
- Increasing investment in people’s capabilities
- Increasing investment in the institutions of work
- Increasing investment in decent and sustainable work
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) understands these issues very well and understands the ever-changing world of work and the important role of employers, governments, and employers’ organizations, through the eyes of the people in the front lines—the professionals in Human Resource Management (HRM).
The 2019 ILO report discusses investment in people’s capabilities through a human-centered agenda, touches on issues such as the skills-gap, upskilling and reskilling, building pathways for youth through apprenticeships and gender equality, equal pay, and workplace harassment. This is where HR comes in, developing strong, inclusive apprenticeship programs that are inclusive, dynamic and innovative. We are at a point in time where we face unprecedented global demographic shifts, deepening skills gaps, and at a time when there are more open jobs than people to fill them.
In 2018, SHRM joined a White House pledge to train U.S. workers, committing to educating 127,000 HR professionals over the next five years through its We are Work campaign. The campaign concentrated its efforts on three of the most critical issues that have a real-life impact on employees and employers every day: immigration, the skills gap, and workplace harassment. SHRM’s CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., also joined the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) board, to promote apprenticeships and skills development on the global stage. SHRM also released its research on Harassment-Free Workplace Series: The Executive View, as part of its series on Harassment-Free Workplaces, where executives, managers and employees in organizations shared their experiences. It is a well-known fact that inclusion and diversity lead to creativity and innovation, and organizations are working harder to remove barriers by developing talent acquisition and retention strategies that work for all. It is the culture of the workplace that guarantees a harassment-free environment, and HR is leading the culture change.
“It is time to start thinking about identifying our commonalities, and thinking about those things we have in common”—Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM President and CEO.
SHRM also launched a partnership with Jobs for American Graduates (JAG) to foster educational programs for young people and also partnered with the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) to release an important research project on the employment of people with criminal backgrounds. We see that change is taking place, but organizational culture must continue to evolve to create truly diverse and inclusive workforces. HR plays an important role in helping to source candidates with the raw talent and to do the matchmaking and place trainees and mentors together, along with new policies and procedures to help employers retain this talent.
The 2019 ILO report also discusses limits on work hours, guaranteed minimum hours, work-life balance, worker representation and the idea of the “human-in-command” approach to technology; all issues that HR professionals across the globe deal with as part of their everyday job. In the private sector, exempt employees work as many hours as necessary to complete their work, while in other industries (i.e. retail, food) employers tend to establish minimum schedules. In other cases, we see that on-call scheduling works best, as it allows employers to staff as necessary for their daily flow or fill gaps caused by sick workers. Increasingly, employees value workplace flexibility and a better work-life balance for their employees. In 2018, SHRM supported the H.R. 4219 workflex bill in the U.S., in support of providing employees with leave and flexibility, help businesses attract and retain the talent they need, and allow businesses to grow and thrive.
“It is people, not machines, who will build tomorrow’s greatest organizations”—SHRM Corporate Secretary and Chief of Staff, Emily M. Dickens.
HR professionals remain at the center of the workplace as we face the impact of evolving technology on culture, the reason why people must stay at the center of work. We need to be able to grow programs that develop the workforce that will get the job done and keep pace with technological advancement—reskilling and upskilling. To this end, SHRM carried out various international efforts on the global stage, provided recommendations and participated in high-level international platforms providing input and expertise, such as the G20-B20, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), and the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), to name a few.
Human work will not end, instead, it will be transformed. This work needs to be collective, and the private sector has the ability to greatly contribute to the conversation, collaborate in the development of best practices and promote innovation.
“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them”—Steve Jobs.
SHRM is committed and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with governments, employers, and employer organizations to continue shaping the world of work—and create better workplaces for a better world.