Human Capital Management in 2035: Utopia… or Dystopia?

In a new three-part miniseries, Korn Ferry imagines what the future of human capital might look like in 2035—in the metaverse, with blockchain, and through neuroscience. First up, talent development: that’s so meta.

A group of executives donning oculus headsets hold an urgent meeting in the metaverse. A critical recruiting search relies on a blockchain to squeeze a year-long effort into a few weeks. And an eager CEO, hoping to study the strength of her team, tracks the results of biometric sensors that her employees are wearing.

Korn Ferry has been out in front of trends in organizational consulting since its beginning. As we crest into a new era of technological innovation, a few of our “futurists” have been thinking about what to expect in the magical world of 2035. We are pleased to present a three-part miniseries which imagines what the future of human capital might look like. Please step into 2035 with us and join our heroine Katy who sits at the helm of a fast-growing financial technology company….


Katy, a rising CEO in the financial technology services in California, has been tapped by a leading private equity firm to take a promising firm from early stage to IPO. The innovative technology was developed by an experienced set of former bank executives who now comprise the leadership team. They are outstanding subject matter experts but are limited in leadership and in scaling startup businesses. The private equity firm is principally concerned that the existing leadership team, nor the culture are tuned to rapid expansion in a highly competitive market. Katy will need to address both concerns immediately while further developing the technology and rapidly expanding the sales and distribution infrastructure. As all professionals in 2035 know, companies scale at lightspeed, and agility is key! Fortunately, Katy may just be able to achieve her goals using some possible futuristic playbooks from the metaverse, blockchain, and neuroscience!

Talent development: that’s so meta.

A few months into her tenure, Katy was relaxing in her personalized meditation pod at corporate HQ and relishing the last month of successful advancement. She was focusing on a recent conversation with her operating partner who insisted upon doubling top-line growth over the next quarter. Katy knew the demand was there and that the growth rate was achievable, but the sales and marketing team was not anywhere near ready or able to deliver that goal. She needed a miracle solution, and fast.

Upon joining, Katy inherited a small sales and distribution team that was product and industry savvy and seemed talented, albeit with a lower sales conversion rate than she would like. She did not have enough time or resources to get a global sales meeting together to charge up the team and refine the strategy, but that kind of catalyst was clearly essential. Katy would have to turn to modern technology and outside expertise to get the sales effort supercharged and producing in a matter of days.

Katy knew from her previous roles as Head of Marketing that evolving a salesforce effort could take many months if not years. Fortunately, Katy was able to turn to the Korn Ferry Global Simulation Center which specializes in individual and group sales acceleration. Using cutting-edge virtual simulations, the Simulation Center allowed professionals to practice real world business scenarios in a highly realistic virtual setting. The most attractive feature of the Simulation Center was its ability to get the global team together instantly in the metaverse, all sharing a virtual room and experience together. Katy felt the technology would allow for an instant sales meeting, all while getting the necessary strategic and development support from Korn Ferry.

The Simulation Center jumped into action and accompanied the sales team on a few live sales presentations held in the metaverse. Given the leaps in virtual reality, it has become the norm to run an entire sales process virtually and so the sales team was very comfortable in this setting. The Simulation Center team used that experience to recreate several real-world client scenarios with lifelike “client” characters and observed the sales and marketing team also in a controlled lab setting. Armed with the opportunity to review these performances, the KF Sales Effectiveness team restructured the entire sales approach, focusing on proven psychodynamic group sales practices. Using the millions of Success Profiles of highly successful sales individuals compiled by KF, the Simulation Center was able to project how a topflight sales team would approach the same sales scenario. Each individual salesperson worked with a KF executive coach to adopt practices, in effect emulating these “ideal” avatars to improve their own style. Korn Ferry was also able to help the entire team develop and evolve their go-to-market strategy through strategic facilitation.

After only three full days in the Simulation Center, the global sales team emerged with a new strategy, dramatically improved group and individual sales techniques, and a strategic roadmap aligned to the aggressive sales goal Katy laid out. The sales team immediately began experiencing incredible results, winning every new piece of business that came their way. Even better, the KF consulting team continued to accompany the sales teams on live client pitches in the metaverse and provided group and individual "quick hit" coaching sessions immediately afterward. The overhaul of the sales team's approach yielded more than double top-line growth well before the quarter closed!

Three months later, Katy was back in her personalized meditation pod relishing the sales growth yet knowing her private equity partner would be expecting the same growth results again. Katy had much more work to do.

Next week, join us and imagine what your professional life would look like through blockchain.