HR 2020: The Coming Evolution of the Organization - An Interview with Lisa Dallenbach, Chief Talent Officer of Mindshare

Lisa Lisa Dallenbach, Chief Talent Officer of Mindshare

2020 is only four years away. Given the rates of advancement and disruption taking place across the industries, it is incredibly likely that the face of the organization will look drastically different. Talent Management Exchange speaker and Chief Talent Officer of Mindshare, Lisa Dallenbach, gives her take on the future of HR and the organization as a whole. This interview focuses on what will change, what will remain and what will shape the workplace of tomorrow.

Given all the current and recent changes to the workforce, what do you anticipate the workforce of 2020 to look like?

A “flatter” organization. Going forward, the more hierarchal approach we traditionally see in the workplace will slow us down. A flatter organization allows us to move faster, inspire and grow our talent base more broadly and quicker and will enable us to train our employees. We are just beginning to see this idea of networked teams and agile mobility play out – and it will be a game changer for both employees and businesses. Employees will move away from thinking about their career as a single, linear path. Especially those just beginning their career who tend to focus on the movement “up” vs the gained total experience. In the end, it is those total experiences are what makes any of us employable. Flatter organizations will breathe reality into the idea that a career is an amalgamation of many experiences. Moving to and from various teams and work streams in an agile fashion will drive this for employees.

For the business, it allows us to gain more from a broader set of our talent base and build a more versatile staff. Any one employee can now affect and engage multiple teams vs. the typical “one team assignment.” The question becomes what is the structure to support this and what is the approach to Affect and engage multiple teams.

Do you feel that the workplace will also be drastically different and if so in what ways?

The workplace will look a lot like Starbucks—come in, find who they want to work with that day and grab a seat, plug in, and GO. And, some may not even come to the physical space. The question we need to consider is “ how many of us will need or have an assigned desk.” And, we will find talent in new ways. We won’t think twice about staffing a team with local talent as well as outsourced around the country: on-shoring. All these trends that are just beginning to be implemented in the workplace will be standard operating. We are all intrigued by Zappos Holacracy and their move to “ditch titles” and self-manage. Accountability for oneself and to a team is an interesting concept as it relates to truly self-direction motivation with employees. Your strong employee base (i.e. The ones you want to retain) will want to be held in high esteem by their peers. If you think about it – this approach takes care of performance and goal planning with very little organizational (read by millennials as bureaucracy) push. It is entirely organic and driven by employees.


What do you envision for HR’s future?

Evolving the business in two ways: Becoming closer to the line and a tighter business partner and leveraging data in all ways. Gone will be the days and structure of HR “over in corporate” due to the embedded nature I hope we see. The idea of HR as a literal team member is fantastic. Sports teams have a coach on site vs up in the office – so should our teams. Then, leveraging data is the big one. How organizations can ensure that they have data and are collecting it in a way that ensures it is usable is step one. And in our industry, very few are there. Once you have the data in hand, figure out how to leverage the data to predict behavior – and get out in front of it.

From an overall business perspective, The Decoded Company is a fascinating look at the concept to the extreme. Not only is data used to better drive decisions related to the organization and talent, but also drives every action and decision in the company. In their scenario, no more email, no more calendars, no more “planning” as we know it. The data drives what happens next.

What do you feel are the best ways for HR leaders to develop insight and skills from other organizational areas?

We have to be connected, engaged and knowledgeable business partners. This means stepping outside the traditional “talent” role to become immersed in the business we serve. We need to approach the roles as business – the total business – experts. Then, ladder down to the Talent overlay. Gone are the days where the business leaders come to the talent leaders when they have talent issues and questions or as “step 2 or 3” – it is an aligned, contiguous engagement. Talent leaders need to be aligned each step of the way and from the initial discussion points. This is a fantastic evolution and allows us to engage in a deeper and more meaningful way. My recommendation is that if this is not happening in your organization, determine how and where you can start this alignment. Everyone benefits.

What do you look forward to about the 2016 Talent Management Exchange the most?

Learning where and how this group is forging into all the new space that is opening up in the Talent world. Some of which I mention above – there are so many and we are collectively pioneering the space for our next iteration. I think it is a unique time to be in the field with more evolution than we have seen in years. In part, the tight labor market that we are vexed by is dropping a gift in our lap: it’s become the forcing mechanism for us to rethink how we approach “talent” and pushing us to evolve in new ways, driven by the markets wants and insights.