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The changing world of work

In their recent book Leadership 2030, the Hay Group identified six powerful megatrends transforming the global work environment:

  • Globalization 2.0
  • Environmental crisis
  • Demographic change
  • Technology convergence
  • Individualism
  • Digitization

(Vielmetter and Sell 2014)

The impact of the ‘megatrends’

These ‘megatrends’ are likely to have a significant impact on human resources and how we motivate, engage and retain talent.

Indeed, in a survey of 786 senior executives from the 2015 World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC) ranking, 58% saw globalisation as one of the top three megatrends influencing their employee engagement strategies (Royal and Stark 2015).


Moreover, the ageing workforce and looming retirement of the ‘baby boom’ generation mean organisations must not only find ways of motivating, engaging and retaining mature workers but also ensure that younger workers are similarly engaged and motivated to fill the positions of elderly workers at the point of retirement (Beier 2015).

Older workers are motivated by different things from younger workers. An older worker, for example, might be motivated by opportunities to develop mentoring relationships with others, while a younger worker may prefer to take on an extra project which will increase their likelihood of promotion. Organisations need to accommodate these differences.

Such trends are becoming more and more difficult to predict, however, leading organisations to make decisions in a somewhat volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. As stated by Mark Twain,

‘Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future’.

Your task

To what extent do you believe we can predict how these trends will develop? How do you think they might continue?

What effects do you think these trends will have on employees’ engagement and motivation?

Share your thoughts with your fellow learners in the comments area.


Beier, M., E. (2015) ‘Strategies for Engaging and Retaining Mature Workers’. SHRM-SIOP Science of HR Series [online]. available from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/special-reports-and-expert-views/Pages/shrm-siopscienceofhrseries.aspx [26 March 2019]

Royal, M., and Stark, M. (2015) ‘The Most Admired Companies are More Global Than Ever. Here’s Why’. Fortune [online] available from http://fortune.com/2015/02/19/wmac-globalization2-0/ [26 March 2019]

Vielmetter, G., and Sell, Y. (2014) Leadership 2030 – The Future of Leadership: How Megatrends Impact the Way We Will Lead in the Future. New York: Hay Group

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This article is from the free online course:

Employee Engagement and Motivation: An Introduction

Coventry University