Black Swan events in HR’s new reality

August 22, 2022


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by our VP Product Bastian Eichler

One thing is for sure: Working in HR in 2022 is anything but boring. The pandemic has increased the speed of transformation in the field of HR drastically. The radical changes we have seen in the last two and a half years in organisations globally seemed completely unrealistic in January 2020, when the word ‘Corona’ made me think of nothing else other than a potential holiday in Mexico. 

To have employees work from home most of the time was unimaginable for most companies in 2019. Investing heavily in technology to improve collaboration between your staff sounds great, but wasn’t really a focus in pre-pandemic budget plans. COVID-19 changed all of that in a heartbeat. It’s been a steep learning curve for most companies, though some of them have been able to adapt more easily than others.


Was the pandemic a Black Swan?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has famously created the term “Black Swan” for unforeseeable events that have far-reaching consequences across markets. It’s natural to assume the pandemic has been one such event. But as he pointed out himself, it has definitely not been a Black Swan. 

Scientists, journalists and even politicians had predicted a global pandemic for quite a long time and it doesn’t show the characteristics of an unpredictable outlier event, like you would expect with a real Black Swan. Now from an HR perspective, this specific case was pretty much unforeseeable, unless you already had a close connection to the virology or public health field. But if we look deeper down the road, there are already more potential surprises waiting for HR executives. The good news is: these are much easier to predict. If in a few years, someone deems one of those events as a Black Swan, it just means they didn’t prepare well and ignored a lot of data already available to them.


So what do we know? 









  • There is a global labour shortage in many industrial countries that will lead to 85 million unfilled jobs until 2030.
  • Younger generations of employees demand more flexibility than the older ones ever did.
  • Globalisation was limited to goods and financial markets for decades, but now labour is also becoming more and more globalised.

It would be no surprise if the demand for flexible and remote work continues to rise in the next few years. The market conditions are also likely to force you to consider other countries as potential sources for hiring talent. As WorkMotion’s Head of Trust & Employer Compliance, Pieter Manden, likes to put it: “There is no labour shortage, we’ve just been looking in the wrong places”.


If you want to avoid being someone who presumes a Black Swan and is then surprised at their lack of competitiveness in the labour market, it’s important you take a step in the right direction now


HR innovation for your hiring needs

Looking at the HR Tech field at the moment, there is a lot of innovation that can help you tackle the problems mentioned above. Do you want to hire your next talent in a market where you don’t have any legal

presence? There are experts who can help you do that.  Would you like to offer more flexibility for your existing employees depending on where they work from?  There are solutions that help to manage the risks around that. And even though this sounds like it could be quite a complicated and time-consuming process, it can be extremely easy and efficient if you choose the right partner. 



If you want to avoid other kinds of surprises by entering a labour market you have not been active in before, you can look out for products that provide local knowledge and suggestions. Hiring in a country where you don’t have an entity also means you don’t have your own local HR and legal department and you rely very heavily on the recommendations of the system. Make sure you find a solution that accompanies you every step of the way and provides tailored advice for every country of your choice. 

At WorkMotion, we strongly believe that the future of work requires technology that helps to manage HR operations globally and that a really good solution goes beyond a pure EoR or payroll model. Our customers trust our solutions because they enable them to cope with the rapidly changing market conditions. They don’t want to be in a situation where they are suddenly faced with a Black Swan-like surprise. They want to be more flexible in their hiring strategy and they want to offer more flexibility to their own employees. And compared to those who wait, they will have strong competitive advantages by adopting early to this inevitable new reality. If you want to join them and learn more about our Global Talent Operating System, let’s talk.

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