What’s going to happen in 2013?

One thing's for certain and that is that nothing's for certain. Whether it's the economy, the next big thing in technology, the next corporate or media scandal, or even the weather.

The economic outlook for 2013 is for most commentators pretty dismal. Growth in the UK is predicted to be flat (OBR and the OECD anticipating around 1% growth), and there is not much optimism about growth elsewhere (the OECD are projecting overall negative growth for the Eurozone in 2013). However, various recruitment surveys (eg Reed, REC, KPMG) are more positive about job prospects. A positive mindset is definitely a good thing!

So uncertainty, unsteady economic growth and high pace of change are the new normal and businesses everywhere have to be able to rapidly adapt and change. Big strategies that lay out detailed plans and ideas for the next 5 years based on deep analysis of the markets and trends that we believe are driving our business, may not be worth the paper they are written on.

>We have to allow our organisations to respond and rapidly adapt as circumstances change, often quickly

Of course we need strategies, but they should be directional and 'lean' and we have to allow our organisations to respond and rapidly adapt as circumstances change, often quickly. So how to create agile organisations?  This has to be one of the major themes for business and HR, and it has many dimensions.

For those of you who were at the Annual Conference in Manchester last November you will have heard Gary Hamel talk about this, and about his views of the need to dramatically change the way we manage and organise work -  is management as we have been practising it a 'busted flush'? How do we engage and empower our people to decide and act within broader 'mission' parameters, and create organisational units that have the wherewithal to respond quickly to market and customer changes and needs? This drives a very different management philosophy about hierarchy and power - think of turning the org chart on its head and recognizing that management's role is to best enable the front line employees to deliver great service. Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies, in his book 'Employees First, Customers Second' made this point very well.

For the CIPD, 2013 is a milestone year as it is the centenary of our original founding as the Workers Welfare Association. With this great history as a profession, I think we are now at a real inflection point. The world is now very different and we cant just assume things will revert in some way back to how they were during the last 20 years of relatively benign and steady growth. The agenda for HR is very strategic and I am determined that the CIPD will step up and help shape the future and point the way.

As a key part of our strategy we are planning to strengthen further our research and thought leadership, with stronger collaborations with key influencers and thinkers such as Gary Hamel, to help provide more insight in to action. So watch this space!

Thank you for your comments. There may be a short delay in this going live on the blog page as we moderate the comments added to our blogs.

  • Anonymous

    Hello Peter - Happy New Year. I saw this blog post advertised on Twitter and clicked the link despite the title. Honestly I was fearful that you may be about to spout forth a whole bunch of predictions. So - you can imagine my relief on reading the opening line. Thank you for your certainty on uncertainty.

    I think your point about inverting hierarchies is interesting and maybe we can do more to flatten them too? How can we get more people closer to their customer, be that customer an external or internal one?

    Congratulations to the CIPD on reaching 100 - did you get a telegram from The Queen? I look forward to helping you celebrate this milestone and here's to some useful collaboration in 2013 and beyond.

    Cheers - Doug

  • Anonymous

    A good preview, Peter.

    I think in flat economic conditions, organisations need to strengthen and deepen employee engagement; and also work hard to foster the right conditions for individuals and teams to innovate. It's also helpful for employers to start conceptualising the workplace as a community (or set of inter-related professional, functional or social communities). I'm talking a bit about this at the CIPD Employee Engagement conference on 29 January.

    HR needs to become both strategic and to be seen clearly as adding value. By nurturing engagement across our workplace communities, so that everything feels connected, empowered and motivated to perform & be creative, then we can help our organisations thrive.

  • Anonymous

    From my work experience in the Public Sector, althoug HR was departmental there wasn't a strong influence and presence with operational managers.  This caused alot of unnecessary stress and sickness when operational managers took too much power and didn't follow HR guidelines and procedure.  I think the way forward for all Business is to have an equal partnership with HR to ensure a good presence of HR in the operational sense.

  • Peter a good article lots of resonances again from a local government perspective our direction of travel is to move service delivery into other delivery models ALMOs, wholly owned companies and cooperatives.

    I see the role of HR/OD as enabling managers to develop a new vision grow into new ways of working and develop a more commercial approach to their businesss. A key element is bringing staff with them through strong engagement a good performance culture and developing and embedding the required behaviours to increase customer satisfaction and productivity.  If we can't bring this to the party then we deserve to become Personnel Officers again doing process and casework.'