Long-Term Trends in Business and Their Impact

Long-Term Trends in the Business Context that are Affecting Organizations

Traditional personnel management was motivated by the need for employers to treat their staff fairly. However, due to certain long-term trends within the business context, Human Resource Management is increasingly evolving to include succession arrangements, labor relations, and diversity of the workforce, arrangements to ensure business continuity, mergers, and acquisitions (Bach 2005). The new Human Resource Management is steered by demands by employers for a competitive advantage and is evident in shifts in the way organizations manage the human resource. The changing trends relate to matters of legal compliance, involving employees of the organization on an emotional platform, multi-employer networks or permeable organizations, global perspective, development of a customer-based approach to business, and the creation of an individualized system of employee interactions.

Legal compliance, for instance, is the systems that the organization puts in place to make sure that certain business rules, regulations, and the appropriate laws are followed (Bach 2005). Policies in the HR function have to be formulated in a way that they adhere to any changes in the company laws regarding employees and people management. Changing trends within the organization have seen the expansion of legal compliance to include the self-examination of the non-governed conduct of employees.

Implications of the Long-Term Trends for Managing People and Managing the HR Function

The main responsibility of Human Resource managers is to survey the environment within and around the business context to respond to the trends appropriately and to keep the business relevant and productive, to gain competitive advantage. The business context of an organization is greatly affected by the constantly evolving nature of organizations and the way organizations formulate strategies and functions to respond to changing trends within the business context. Trends within the organization such as legal compliance impact the direction the HR managers take in managing personnel, and the Human resource function. Therefore, HR practices ought to be formulated in a way that mirrors the organizational context. Due to the changing trends in the business context, HR policies that guide the practice of HR managers ought to be flexible.

Since the demographic composition of employees in organizations is becoming more diverse, human resource managers ought to be aware of the legislation that concerns dealing with the diverse workforce as well as the implications of the legislation on employee morale. Legal compliance also forces human resource managers in organizations to modify their HR policies to conform to changes in company laws (Ulrich & Brockbank 2005).

As organizations switch of their strategies and operations from more mechanistic to more organic operation, the tradition of Human Resource Management in organizations evolves from personnel management tradition of managing jobs, which is replaced by a more effective model of people management (Ulrich & Brockbank 2005). To a large extent, this influences the organization of the Human Resource function of the organization such as outsourcing and business partnerships. The influence of long-term trend is also evident in the increased roles assigned to line managers in people management within the company and support that they receive from human resource.


Bach, S 2005, Managing human resources: personnel management in transition, Blackwell, Oxford.

Ulrich, D & Brockbank, W 2005, ‘The work of HR part one: People and performance,’ Strategic HR Review, vol. 4. no. 4, pp. 20-23.