Darkening skies or opportunities ahead?

Press Releases

2 Mar 2017

Darkening skies? IES Perspectives on HR 2017The 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.’

The report is available to download free from:


Editor’s notes

For comment, interviews, or a media copy of the report, please contact Mark Jack at mark.jack@employment-studies.co.uk or 01273 763 435.

The chapters in this year’s IES Perspectives on HR include:

  • Work... but not as we know it, by Penny Tamkin
  • Talkin' 'bout my generation: Just what does age and the ageing workforce mean for HR? by Duncan Brown
  • Dementia-friendly workplaces, by Stephen Bevan
  • Supporting employee financial wellbeing, by Catherine Rickard
  • Hidden voices and disengagement: the gift of learning from political earthquakes, by Amanda Callen
  • The HR function post-Ulrich’s structural model, by Peter Reilly
  • Strategic change-readiness for organisations, by Alison Carter
  • The role of HR in workforce innovation, by Peter Reilly
  • Talent management: responding to uncertainty, by Wendy Hirsh

The archive of IES Perspectives on HR reports can be found on the IES website: http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/research-collections/perspectives-hr-research-collection

About the Institute for Employment Studies

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK’s leading independent centre for research and evidence-based consultancy in employment, labour market and human resource policy and practice. It is apolitical and not-for-profit, its activities being funded through research and consultancy commissions, and from its corporate membership programme. The Institute aims to improve employment policy in the UK and internationally by carrying out authoritative research of practical relevance to policymakers and those responsible for implementing policy programmes and initiatives

Visit www.ieshr.co.uk for more information

IES tweets from @EmploymtStudies

About Penny Tamkin

Penny Tamkin is director of employer research and consultancy at IES and has over 20 years’ experience of what helps people perform better at work and the contribution of management and leadership, human capital and learning and development. Penny has published and spoken widely on these subjects, conducted research and evaluation studies and worked with UK policymakers and organisations of all sizes to develop new thinking, understanding and practice.

View Penny’s full online profile: http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/staff/penny-tamkin