We are in an era of increased globalization, cross border mergers and acquisitions, changing workforce demographics, and outsourcing and off-shoring with incredible influence of technology and Social Media.

Innovation and doing more with less will increasingly create competitive advantages in the future. Challenged with aging workforce, financial crisis, housing meltdown and slowing economies, companies that previously topped the Fortune 500 list have either vanished or needed bail out from their governments. On the other side, organizations in the emerging markets and those who have focused on innovation have been extremely successful through globalization.

For example, in the year 2000, General Motors was number one on the Fortune 500 list and in 2010, they were bailed out by the US Government. In contrast, Shenzhen, China based Huawei Technologies generated just about USD 100 Million in revenue from international business and less than USD 6 Billion in total revenue in 2000. Today, Huawei’s solutions are implemented in over 140 countries serving almost one-third of the world’s population and have exceeded USD 30 Billion in revenue. Korea’s Samsung is now an USD 220 Billion revenue conglomerate and has over 350,000 employees worldwide. Samsung has now become an undisputed leader in Consumer Electronics and the Smart Phone industry. Similarly, Korea’s Hyundai’s automobile division has grown over 400 per cent in the past few years in the United States alone.

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On another perspective, while countries such as Japan, Korea, Sweden and others are challenged with low birth rate and an aging population, the United States has grown through its immigration policies. According to US Census reports, over 40 per cent of 2010 US Fortune 500 companies have been founded by immigrants or by their children.
It is expected that in 2020 we will see four generations working side by side. Employees in their 70’s will be challenged to work with technology savvy and socially driven millennials. With increased competition for various talents, organizations will continue to source and recruit globally or relocate parts of their businesses to wherever there is an appropriate pool of talent. The majority of the workforce will work from remote corners of the world.

With fast-changing business dynamics and in their pursuit to add significant value to business, the role of HR professionals is shifting to be more global and business-aligned. With their ability to understand the business, relate the impact of HR to the business, HR analytics, being able to work in matrix structures, having a strong global mindset and the ability to advise, coach and mentor business leaders in their relentless drive for organizational excellence and growth, HR professionals are quite literally placed in the driver seat. More and more business leaders have begun to appreciate and value the contributions of HR professionals. With this paradigm shift, the discussions about an HR executive having a seat at the table appear very dated.


Now, the discussions should be focused on building those essential skills in developing true HR business partners while helping the aspiring HR professionals in mastering those skills and prepare them to take on the exciting future HR roles.

Dr. Sudendra Rao, GPHR, PhD is a Fortune 500 Global HR Transformational Leader, Consultant and Speaker”


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