Accenture have updated an earlier article "Trends - Back to the Future". The title is a bit odd given the article talks mostly about trends which did not exist in the past (as many of the trends impacting tomorrow's workforce didn't exist in the past), but it does provide interesting reading.

High performers don’t just find themselves in the right place at the right time. They aggressively scan the horizon, absorb the shifting landscape and act now to take advantage of opportunities and hedge against risk.

How true that is - yet we still see organizations using only historical trends for their workforce planning....not using horizon or even environment scanning to prepare themselves for different opportunities and challenges in the future!

The trends the Accenture article mentions are:

  1. The rapid rise of emerging-market multinationals
  2. The expansion of “shoring” options
  3. Increasing demand for corporate social responsibility
  4. The need for abundant, secure supplies of talent, energy and other scarce resources
  5. National loyalties slowing the process of globalization
  6. Social networking as a business tool
  7. Increasing demand for sustainability
  8. Major new sources of capital
  9. High demand for new and better infrastructure
  10. Rapid improvements in the delivery of government services
  11. Rising consumerism in emerging markets; uneasy consumers in the West
  12. Evolving sources of trustworthy information and advice
  13. “Free” as a legitimate business model
  14. The rise of Africa as an important source of demand as well as supply

Many of these will have a noticeable impact on your workforce as well as your business, but of course they are not the only things which will have an impact. Using proper strategic workforce planning techniques, you can gather executive assessment of the impact of emerging trends...and incorporate them into your workforce plans. If you don't, you are missing opportunities and failing to hedge against risks. In a talent environment like the one we have today, what organization can afford to do THAT?