Build Your Leaders

Herman Trend Alert: Focus on the Individual

February 8, 2006

As employers move through the next 10-15 years, they will discover that concentrating on individuals will be considerably more productive than pushing any one-size-fits-all concept. Employees seek, expect, even demand the personal attention. Their attitudes will drive employers, and then others, to correct their deficiencies. We will see this shift from groups, teams, and classes of people in practically all aspects of corporate life.

Job descriptions will disappear. Replacing them will be role descriptions and individualized "Expectations Statements". No longer will we attempt to force square pegs to fit into round holes. People will be hired for attitudes and competencies, then trained to build their skills even further. Their training will match their jobs, giving them confidence and satisfaction. Additional training will support job expansion.

Compensation will also be tailored to each employee, rather than paying everyone in the same position the same amount. People, who come to an employer with higher skills, even if those skills are not utilized in their current jobs, will be paid commensurate with those skills. As employers pay more attention to performance management, merit pay will be given more attention. Benefits packages will be designed for each individual employee and his or her family.

Supervisors will engage in more serious performance management, linking individual expectations with individual results. Accountability will be pushed downward in smart organizations, building a greater sense of personal ownership of results. This accountability, combined with recognition and reward, will support employee retention. Employers will use this money saved from turnover to increase compensation and training.

Training and development will be guided by individual growth plans created and managed by the employee and the employee’s immediate supervisor. A wide range of learning experiences---from reading assignments to hands-on work---will be included in each plan, depending on what is needed by the employee.

In employment settings where flexibility is possible, the employee’s working hours will be under the control of---or heavily influenced by---the employee. Coworkers will make their own arrangements to assure coverage with a shared focus on results.

Workplaces will become communities of individuals, working toward shared goals.

Copyright 2005 by The Herman Group--reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "Herman Trend Alert," by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists, copyright 2005. (800) 227-3566 or The Herman Trend Alert is published each week in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.