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Should HR be visible or invisible?

In my forthcoming book, I speak a lot about creating capacity for a corporation, which is another term for corporate agility. By Rita Trehan.

One of the great tools at HR’s disposal I this regard is recruiting and/or talent acquisition, which I define as “the right people for tomorrow’s needs by staying ahead of the growth curve before it starts.” Companies today are facing this situation as we speak with one of the greatest population dilemmas of all time: the departure of the baby boomer and the onset of the millennial.According to the Society for Human Resource Management, by next year a third of the U.S. workforce will be 50+ years old, an increase from 27 percent in 2007. Large percentages of gold standard Fortune 500 companies are now retiring, which means a large percentage of leadership will start to pass into the hands of Generation X.

On the other side of this coin is the expanse of millennials coming into the workplace. They are young and idealistic, driven more by changing the world than conquering the world business marketplace. According to a NetImpact survey, 83 percent of the 3,000 students polled would take a 15 percent salary cut to join a company that makes a difference in the world. They are hyper-connected and not motivated by the same things as the leadership leaving the workplace.

This means that not only can companies not immediately replace what they’re losing; they have to adapt to attract the new talent base entering their ranks. The talent problem is larger than just hiring the right people, it’s building the company that can grow and attract the new mix of business acumen and personality that will take them into the future.This is where HR can truly stand up and stand out. We have all the knowledge at our fingertips to understand where the company needs to prepare for outgoing leadership so we know not only what the vacant seat does today, but what it needs to do in the next five to ten years.

We also understand that for our organization to grow and adapt in a technologically disruptive, socially responsible world, we need to build the company of tomorrow to bring millennials into an environment in which they can thrive. We may have to break down some walls, we will have to change the way things are done, but no one else in the company is better suited to lead the charge for change than we are.The marketplace is already changing, and for HR there is no better time than now to begin gathering information to craft the workplace of tomorrow. It will be here sooner than you think, and if we’re not ready we’ll be gone.

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