top of page
  • Jonas Svanäng

HR leads the way into 2030

We are often asked what role HR should have in the future and how HR fits in our Lean models. Our answer to this is simple: HR will be the most important member of the management team in 2030. In Lean companies, HR is central to both strategy deployment and skills creation.

New skills are needed in increased pace

Before we look into the future, let’s have a quick review of the past. Over the course of the last 300 years we have made technological advancements to be proud of, as simplistically outlined below.

Change happens in an increasing pace. Our organisations needs to be more change-ready as we are likely to see more revolutionary tech during the next 20 years than we did during the last 200 years. Regardless if we want to capitalize on this new techs to grow our business or make acquisitions of disruptive younger companies, we need new skills to handle these situations.

“65 percent of today’s schoolchildren will eventually be employed in jobs that have yet to be created” according to US Department of Labour. Manufacturing has over the last 30 years seen a decline in number of unskilled jobs from 80% to 12% and other sectors are bound to see similar trajectory in the coming years. Top skills recruiters are expecting to look for in the future are skills such as sense making, social intelligence, computational thinking, cognitive load management and virtual collaboration. And problem solving, of course.

Tech advancements keep reducing the amount of unskilled jobs required. But on the other hand, these jobs has been moved away from our countries for some time already. And the cost benefit of moving jobs to, for instance China, is not that much high any longer. In fact, the wage inflation in China increased above 400% since the beginning of 21st century. Both recent and coming technologies may actually help revert the process. 3D printing and Drones will help revolutionise distribution channels to consumers with shorter lead time and increased flexibility. With development of drones and solar power we are receiving cost effective and green methods of transporting non-printable goods to our homes too. But even if the process is reverting, we are not looking for the same skills in our labour force now as when we shipped production away. And finding these new skills may prove more difficult this time around.

The fight for talents makes the challenge more complex

A disruptive HR landscape is changing the game for organisations to obtain talent too. A few important changes that companies needs to face in their talent acquisition and development are;

  • A new generation (Y) of work force that are values-driven, demanding, impatient and tech savvy, will work alongside a traditional generation at the same time as we see a demographic shift with ageing population

  • The freelance explosion challenges traditional labour market models. In several markets freelancing experts, project leaders and analysts are increasingly providing flexibility for the employer and freedom of choice for the freelancer, accepting to move away from the security of the traditional employment contract

  • Glass door and similar media promotes an unforgiving view of an organisation that does not put their people first and a transparency in salary levels and management performance

These changes are of course small in comparison to things that could really become disruptive. Such as reverse migration, disrupted internet-usage (as effect of cybercrime increase), de-globalisation, dissolved EU and similar changes.

Developing the learning organisation

So what should we do? The key word for 2030 is skills. Both for society and corporations. Skills needs to be identified, developed and trained with much shorter lead time than in the past. The winner, as Darwinists would put it, will not be the one with the highest skill today, but the one that is fastest at adapting and learning new skills tomorrow. 2030 is yet a few tomorrows away, so we still have time to get going on making the capability building model of the future.

When someone says shorter lead time and increased flexibility, we naturally look to Lean, where we find the solution to this challenge too. The solution is to develop a learning, sensing and adapting organisation, through accurate design of the Lean business system. This is exactly what Toyota has been doing since the 1950’s. One of the key aims of Lean is to achieve the Learning organisation.

Whilst companies today have been paralysed at achieving short term improvements, true Lean organisations also managed to build a business system with the ability to pick up changes in their surrounding and develop the required solutions for them. In Lean organisations there’s a wide acceptance that identifying new skills requirements whilst challenging, empowering and directing the organisation to develop these skills is crucial for survival. Therefore, naturally, HR is one of the most powerful and influential parts of the organisation.

If we want to make the same journey towards 2030, HR should become the most important member of any management team.

The good news here is that the solution already exists. The bad news is that is can be a tough journey for some companies to get there, since it may include doing what you have been procrastinating to do for some time. And if there’s one thing we know about procrastination, it is that problems gets bigger the longer you wait until dealing with them. So it is high time to get going on handling this problem now!


We have worked hard on our conceptual problem solving over the last few months to re-design and create our Lean Business System showing the missing elements of Lean. We wanted to find a simple way of explaining what most companies are missing and really in need of. The pieces of the puzzle that will help you on your journey to 2030 in achieving the learning organisation. We are super-excited in an almost nerdy way about this model. And we will present this model shortly. Follow us to make sure you don’t miss it!

63 views0 comments
bottom of page