It's all about agility and empowerment if you want to be successful in your transformation.

In the next five years, people leaders will need to take ownership and accelerate HR's contribution to business.

That's the challenge posed by international speaker and evangelist of the future of work Holger Mueller in his opening keynote at TechHR Singapore 2022.

"Where will you be five years from now?" Mueller prefaced his talk on 'The Next Gen of Work: Powered by Tech, Driven by People'. "The big transformational changes are happening in a 5+ year timeframe."

Mueller, who is VP and Principal Analyst at IT services and consulting firm Constellation Research, said: "Enterprise acceleration is the most important trend in my research area."

'Work models change the way we think' 

The emphasis on agility and acceleration has led to the best practices of enterprises improving year after year – to a point where technology is now keeping pace with the complex demands of business and talent.

What human capital leaders need to understand, however, is that along with changing tech comes an evolving work model, which in turn determines how organisations think.

"You will see beyond yourself. There's always been the vertical aspects [of business management], but the way your company creates its value, how your work model works, will shape your way of thinking, how you return to work, how your 'future of work' is going to look like," Mueller told a packed audience at Marina Bay Sands.

"New digital business models are emerging very quickly based on this transformational change of technology.  That means, we all need a key thing from technology and from people and that is elasticity. So, how can we make the elasticity of ramping up and ramping down people to do something?"

Up to speed with change 

More importantly, for Mueller, leaders need to ask: "How can the speed of your enterprise exceed the speed of the markets that you're operating in?" 

When markets are changing very quickly, business and HR leaders should be able to accelerate the enterprise and catch up. 

"It's all about empowering people leaders: the first and second-line managers. If you help them to be more successful at their job, at the value creation for the team, then you're going to be more successful as an enterprise. Your acceleration is going to do really well," Mueller said.

In the end, what changes are needed to usher in the future of work?

"Be people-centric and agile. You have to be fast. You have to think smart. What is coming is a decentralised autonomous organisation. How can your company become more decentralised? [Through] autonomous units working by themselves [away from] the traditional pyramid of command and control."