Megatrends: part 2 of 3 – Lubna Haq continues his look ahead to 2030 and the factors likely to influence the leaders of tomorrow
In the first article of the series, ‘Globalisation to herald long-term power shift’, I introduced the notion of what leadership will look like in 2030 and how the way we currently work will need a radical rethink if we are to remain competitive in a global economy and be able to recruit and retain the best talent.
‘Scarcity of resources is a mounting problem. The problems caused by rising carbon emissions and temperatures will be aggravated by growing industrial and residential waste’
Our thesis is that the nature of leadership will have to change dramatically if organisations are to harness the benefits and counter the negative effects of the six megatrends identified by Hay Group as likely to have the greatest effect on organisations and their leaders over the coming decade.
The six megatrends that emerged are:
- accelerating globalisation;
- climate change, its environmental impact and scarcity of resources;
- demographic change;
- individualisation and value pluralism;
- increasingly digital lifestyles;
- technology convergence.
Here we will look at megatrends two and three in further detail.
Megatrend 2: Climate change, its environmental impact and scarcity of resources
Scarcity of resources is a mounting problem. The problems caused by rising carbon emissions and temperatures will be aggravated by growing industrial and residential waste in emerging and developing countries.
Meanwhile, the growing scarcity of strategic resources such as water, minerals, metals and fossil fuels will cause price hikes and could trigger regional and global conflicts. Greater environmental responsibility and accountability will be the inevitable outcome, and investment in clean technology will rise.
‘Investors, employees and customers alike are increasingly factoring environmental considerations into their decisions to invest in, work for and buy from organisations’
This will have a significant impact for NHS buildings, their design, how they run and what this means in terms of the type and nature of provision provided. Clearly, organisations that lower their eco-footprint will link to direct benefits to their performance, bottom line and competitiveness, so restructuring along sustainable lines has become a strategic imperative.
Investors, employees and customers alike are increasingly factoring environmental considerations into their decisions to invest in, work for and buy from organisations, so the economic arguments for change are being reinforced by the social responsibility driver too.
There will also need to be greater collaboration between organisations to find solutions to environmental problems. Public services, in particular health and local government, will need to work even closer together for the benefit of their local community, creating a whole new type of public sector service, further blurring the already difficult current working practices.
Clinical commissioning groups may also need to think about the public health implications to a greater degree, which could have significant implications for how services are commissioned.
Leaders in the NHS will need outstanding cognitive skills to balance the competing demands of financial success, social responsibility and environmental custodianship. They will have to think more strategically and conceptually, getting their organisations onto a more sustainable footing and factor environmental considerations into their planning. And as mentioned above, they will also have a more collaborative role to play on working with other public and private services to create environmental solutions for their community.
Leaders must also act as change agents, advocating environmentally responsible business practices within and outside the organisation, and forging new levels of collaboration within and between organisations in order to encourage local and team, rather than individual, solutions.
Megatrend 3: Demographic changes
The world population is growing and ageing but there are demographic imbalances. In the industrial countries of the West and China, for instance, life expectancy is rising but populations are stagnating or declining, whereas populations in developing countries are booming.
Industrial countries will suffer skills shortages and pressure on the welfare system, and migration will increase – not just from the more to the least populous countries but also as a result of armed conflicts, disasters and environmental problems.
However, the “brain drain” will increasingly turn into a “brain cycle”, as growing numbers of migrants return home and use their new skills to accelerate local development. But talent will continue to be at a premium and retaining employees with key skills will be a challenge.
So for organisations the “war for talent” will continue to rage, with knock-on effects on their innovation capability. They will have to compete internationally for highly skilled workers, but increasing migration means they will have an unprecedented diverse pool of potential employees to draw on.
This will clearly have an impact on NHS staff and the services that patients receive. The NHS will have to work hard to attract, integrate and develop this potential talent pool, which includes international migrants, older people, women and others with “caring” responsibilities.
‘The NHS will have to work hard to attract, integrate and develop this potential talent pool’
This will mean introducing family-friendly and age-appropriate employment models, along with educational and development programmes – not least those designed to transfer knowledge between different generations, and cultural immersion programmes. Lifelong learning will become a fact of organisational life in order to build and maintain the requisite pool of talent.
Leaders will need to understand, lead, integrate and motivate teams of increasingly diverse employees. Fostering inter-generational and inter-cultural teamwork and collaboration is essential, as is finding ways to engender commitment and loyalty among people of different ages, from different cultures and with different values.
Leaders will also have to adapt their organisations in order to encourage more women and other minorities into leadership positions, and embrace new, non-traditional leadership profiles. Creating extended loyalty programmes involving both former employees and pensioners will help to build the kind of networks that make rehiring easier.
Today’s leaders cannot afford to burn any bridges.
Lubna Haq is director of healthcare consulting at Hay Group.
In the final article in this series, we will be looking at the other three megatrends and what they mean for both the NHS and leaders: individualisation and value pluralism; increasingly digital lifestyles; and technology convergence. And we will be concluding with an overall look at the implications for leaders, managers and HR in 2030.