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Human resource departments have been chartered with the responsibility of protecting the intangible assets of their companies. It is the knowledge and skills of the workers that establish the true strategic advantage in any firm. In order to retain intangible assets of human capital, HR managers must respond to both the employee’s personal and professional needs. Since the mid-1900s workers have been faced with the challenge of work/life balance. Most HR departments have responded to this demand by creating flexible staffing schedules when the position’s tasks allowed. The goal of this paper is to present the ways HR has served as a strategic partner in retaining employees through transitional periods of their lives while increasing productivity and innovation across the entire organization. This is seen through the implementation of flexible policies and how these policies can be expanded to further meet current business needs.

Today, HR departments are faced with the retirement of Baby Boomers, the mindset of Millennials, and the economic pressures to reduce costs. After analyzing research done in the field of HR and current business trends, we believe the next strategic step for HR is the implementation of internal contingent workforce pools to ease the generational transition from Baby Boomers to Millennials.


Suggested Citation

Burr, M. & McGraw, A. (2011, December 4). Changing demands: the workforce of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Cornell HR Review. Retrieved [insert date] from Cornell University, ILR School site:

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