The future role of Human Resources in career planning

A recent report by Monitor Deloitte on the Future of Human Resources paints an interesting picture for the future role of the profession:

“The days of Human Resources as we know it at present may be numbered … shifts in the role and importance of unions in the business world, employee preferences regarding employers and working models, and autonomy in the job, will impact relationships between employers and Resources.”

The report goes on to describe 4 possible scenarios to illustrate what Human Resources might look like in 2030:

  1. HR 4.0: High level of automation and the company as a personal career partner
  2. Welcome to 1984: High level of automation and the company as one of many workplace providers
  3. Old school in a new sharing world: Low level of automation and the company as one of many workplace providers
  4. Only humanity matters: Low level of automation and the company as a personal career partner

To test the scenarios 200 HR experts from around the world were asked to participate in a behavioral economics experiment to measure the impact of the scenarios on employee performance. One of the results of the experiment showed the importance of aligning emotions and behavioral incentives to optimise workforce performance and motivation.


Regardless of which scenario may play out in your organisation or industry, your role will change. If you read the detailed report it’s clear that some of these scenarios are far more effective than others in creating a high performing workforce.

The term that stood out for me in this report was “personal career partner”. In this imagined future the most talented people will be in high demand. If your organisation wants to attract and retain those people then HR is going to have to take its role as a personal career partner seriously.

Past versus Future

Traditionally career planning has been more about meeting the needs of the organisation than it has about meeting the needs of the individual. To put it another way, it’s been more about fulfilling the company’s dream than the individual’s. That will need to change if your organisation wants to achieve the “emotional alignment required to optimise workforce performance and motivation” this report outlines.

HR professionals need to learn how to partner with their employees to help them create more engaging careers. That starts with understanding what it is the employee wants from their career. I call that identifying their dream career, one that meets their criteria for success rather than just follows the standard path. Once you’ve done that you can help them to pivot from where they are now and turn their dream career into reality. Often that can happen within your organisation. That way the time, money and energy you’ve invested in developing them to this point can be repurposed rather than lost to another employer or self employment.

How do you rate?

So what are your current policies, procedures and practices when it comes to career planning? Are you like a lot of organisations who are more interested in filling roles or do you focus on retaining talented people and finding ways to use their skills? How is that approach going to impact your ability to attract and retain talents people as we head towards 2030?


Karen Schmidt is a career coach, speaker and author who shows people how to wake up and turn their dream career into reality. Take her free Career Wake Up Call Quiz and receive 12 months of Dream Career Tips at

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