A collection of essays musing on the precarious and uncertain future of work 0

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) has published its annual collection of articles addressing today’s pressing issues for organisations. In acknowledgement of current turbulent times, the team of researchers and consultants have pulled together existing research and their own insights from working with organisations, offering their reflections on how leaders and HR practitioners can successfully navigate the imminent challenges. The collection, Darkening Skies? IES Perspectives on HR 2017, reflects the current sense of uncertainty around what future awaits. The shift towards new and more precarious forms of work, made possible by the growth in digital platforms and solutions, is a recurring topic appearing in many of the articles.  They also explore the possible effects and mitigations of known issues such as the ageing workforce and its associated health implications; the growing need to support employee financial wellbeing; and the dangers of ignoring the employee voice.

The articles also consider how organisations can be supported to adapt to their changing world, such as using new approaches like mindfulness to effect strategic change, and how talent management has shifted focus to retain competitive advantage. They go on to reflect on HR itself, debating how HR functions are configuring themselves post-Ulrich, and considering the role of HR in workforce innovation.

The editor of the collection, Penny Tamkin, director of employer research and consultancy at IES, comments: “To paraphrase Ann Widdecombe, there is something of the night about these articles, and that seems apt given the unwelcome turn 2016 took for many people. If you see nothing good in the political earthquakes that transpired, then you will be facing 2017 with anxiety and uncertainty over what the future might hold. Alternatively, if you think that Brexit and Trump are the kicks up the backside that political elites needed, you can’t ignore the fear, discord and instability that has come in their wakes. These papers offer our insights into the new reality for organisations, and how they can take a step back to understand and address the issues.”