Although it is difficult to predict the future, it is still essential to identify and understand the basic social, economic and technological tendencies or “mega- trends” that will affect businesses in the next ten to twenty years, in order to anticipate and prepare for the ensuing transformations that will need to take place.
Predicting the future has never been easy. Great entrepreneurs and researchers have often been mistaken in their estimates, even if they subsequently made extraordinary strides. Take Bill Gates, who declared in 1981, “No one will ever need more than 637KB of memory on a personal computer.” Or Thomas Watson, founder of IBM, declaring in 1943, “I think that there is a worldwide market for maybe five computers.” Likewise, Stewart Toy wrote in l’Expansion in 1972, “McDonald’s must convince people to eat with their hands while offering a very limited menu. Will this work in France? Probably not.”

Although it is difficult to predict the future, it is still essential to identify and understand the basic social, economic and technological tendencies or “mega- trends” that will affect businesses in the next ten to twenty years, in order to anticipate and prepare for the ensuing transformations that will need to take place.

A paradox of the long-term thinking is the more you try to imagine the future, the more critical become the tasks of the next twelve months to clarify it. Bill Gates also said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years, but underestimate what will happen in the next ten.”

The objective of this white paper is thus to understand the mega trends that will transform the HR function in the next decade in order to deduce how its missions, postures and communities must evolve in consequence.

This report is forward thinking and intended to contribute to the rethinking of HR, but does not pretend to be exhaustive, or provide universal solutions. The aim is rather to launch some ideas to feed the thinking of those responsible for transforming business organizations and who are determined to respect the men and women who compose them as they do so.

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