FutureWe know that the business world is currently being subjected to large transformational forces: globalization, technological revolution, mass customization of products and services, and increasing self-determinism among workers. As a result, the work-place is going to need to change to accommodate these forces.

Some of the more progressive organizations are making the first steps to building a true 21st-century HR organization, and others are yet to really start on their journey. I believe that the irresistible forces acting on businesses and HR organizations will cause employer practices to evolve.

Based on some of the key trends and forces operating today, I have predicted what the employee handbook of the future — in the year 2025 — will look like.

1. Unlimited Leave Policy (currently practiced by innovators like Netflix and Virgin)

‘Employees are entrusted with unlimited leave levels and can take as much leave as they like as long as it is not damaging to the business.’

There’ll be none of this nonsense about 10 days, 20 days or even 30 days of leave a year. The company handbook will describe an unlimited leave policy that allows employees to take as much leave as they want. Employees will be expecting much more control over work-life balance in 2025, and if employers want to engage with their staff, they’ll need to give employees this control.

2. BYOD Policy (Bring Your Own Device)

The company will supply desk, monitor, keyboard and network, but you are required to supply your own mobile device, tablet and/or laptop as required to do your job.’ 

I admit that not all employees will be excited by this potential future policy, but you may need to prepare for it: according to Gartner’s predictions, by 2017 half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work. I expect this to be mainstream by 2025.

3. Flexible Working Hours Policy

‘This company has planned its resource structure carefully, and there are no standard working hours at company X. Employees can agree on a working plan with their managers to suit their personal lifestyle requirements while ensuring that business continuity is maintained. They can apply to change their work-plan every 3 months if desired.’

With the industry-wide move toward employing more contingency workers matched with increasing employee desire for work-life balance and self-determinism, I expect organizations to move away from the typical 9-to-5 schedule toward a broader, more flexible position on working hours.

4. Career Lattice Policy 

‘There are multiple career paths in this company, including managerial, leadership, or specialization within a specific area. You can also move sideways into different career verticals if you want to refresh or diversify your interest in the business. If you want to dial down your career a little, you can also step down into lower-intensity positions.’

I think that in the next 20 years or so we will see the decline of the traditional corporate career ladder. Careerbuilder showed us just last week that only 34 percent of people want to become leaders, and just 7 percent want to be CEOs. I think employers will need to be operating with a much more multi-directional career lattice — meaning staff can move, up, down, or sideways — if they are to engage 21st-century workers. This career lattice has already been adopted by forward-thinking companies like Deloitte, Thomson Reuters, and Cisco.

S0, do you think you’ll like working or managing in the business environment of the future? If you haven’t made your mind up yet, stay tuned for more insights into this topic in the second part of this article, 8 Excerpts From The Employee Handbook of The Future (Part 2), which will follow shortly.

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