The modern work environment is rapidly and radically metamorphosising under the effects of new technologies and shifting workforce preferences. Business leaders, employers, and management professionals face the challenge of adapting to the trends and shifts in work preference and employment conditions.
Forces like automation, globalisation, digitisation, robotics, and the emerging gig economy are the driving forces behind this shift. In his book “The Future of Work Robots, AI, and Automation 2018”, author Darrell M West writes, “Rather, robots, AI, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, facial recognition, drones, and mobile sensors are altering numerous sectors and leading us to an automated society.”
The COVID19 pandemic has accelerated these global trends and brought the question of the future of work and the workplace to the forefront of corporate policy decisions. Since productivity and efficiency drive any strategic decision-making on this end, it is imperative for the businesses to be prepared to adapt their policies accordingly.
Fact File: What numbers tell us?
- There are more millennials in the workforce now than baby boomers (USA), and around 49% of them will quit their current jobs within the next two years due to changing work ecosystem.
- Around 94% of Business leaders now prefer to source prospective talents and employees from online job platforms
- In the USA, almost 50% of workers would shift to freelance work by 2027.
- McKinsey Global Institute, in its 2017 report, suggested that automation will impact around 4 to 8 hundred million jobs worldwide. New jobs will be created as an aftereffect, but those will require reskilling and re-learning on the worker’s end.
What do these facts reveal about the ‘Future of Work’ and Human Capital Management in the short- and long-term scenario? How are the changes going to impact your workplace and organisation? Are organisations ready to adapt themselves in the face of these inevitable changes?
Our eminent guest speakers shed some light on the changing preferences and norms in work culture and organisational management.
Let’s take a look at the trends, which according to our Future of Work-Keynote Speakers, are going to dominate the work environment in the coming years.
- Closing the Gaps: Reskilling & Upskilling
The introduction of new technology has increased the competition among companies to hire and retain highly skilled workers, while the low-skilled workforce in middle wages jobs is at risk of displacement due to increasing applications of automation and robotics. According to a McKinsey Report in 2018, organisations that are slow to adapt to automation will find attracting the right talent (high-skilled) more and more difficult in the coming years.
Employers and managers must focus on retaining the right talent and on providing an opportunity for their employees to Upskill and remain relevant. Investing in talent retention, employee skill-building, and developing the right talent in-house will help businesses fulfill their need for specialised skill sets and help attract potential candidates in the long term.
- Emerging trends- Digital Workforce
The digital revolution is here to stay, and businesses are looking for ways to adapt their policies to the modern digital workforce. The Covid 19 pandemic has certainly made a lasting impact on the future of work. Employers and employees have shown amazing resilience to physical restrictions imposed by the lockdowns and have adapted globally by using digital technologies and platforms for collaboration, communication, and remote working
Organisations need to focus on the following areas to manage their rapidly increasing digital workforces
- Maintaining efficient communication with employees over digital channels to reach a common understanding between employers and employee’s expectations.
- Soft skills and emotional intelligence on the part of employers are a necessity for managing a digital workforce.
- As workforces become more globalised and operate remotely, employers and managers must focus on improving diversity and cultural inclusiveness in their work environment.
- Businesses must quickly adapt their policies to the new millennial workforce. Managing this new generation of workers requires businesses to become tech-savvy and use digital technologies for internal communication and collaboration.
- HR policies also need to change in their basic outlook. A “one size fits all” policy approach must be replaced by case-specific policies to ensure higher retention and make the policies more attractive to the new generation workforce.
- Automation and Artificial intelligence (AI)
The Use of AI, Automation, and Robotics has the potential to completely transform the future workplace. Many corporations and governments actively amped up the use of automation and robotics to reduce employee density during the highly restrictive work conditions arising out of the pandemic. This is just another proof to substantiate the fact that low-skill and manual jobs such as cleaners, plant workers, transporters, etc., are at risk of being taken over by automation in the long term. However, some sectors such as Healthcare, Teaching, Media & Entertainment, Social Work, and Activism will not be affected by this trend anytime soon.
- Flexible Schedules and Hybrid Work Models
At first, employers were reluctant to alter work environments and venture into remote working practices. However, the pandemic changed it all and pushed organisations to explore their options such as “Remote Working, Work from Home, Flexible Workspaces and Hybrid Work.”
A report titled “The Future of Work After Covid 19”, published by Mckinsey & Company, states that remote working has increased by almost 4 to 5 times during the pandemic and has kickstarted a major shift in the geography of work. It also points out a shift of workforce from large corporations in urban setups to suburban cities and independent workers in coming years.
However, Remote working has its share of challenges like
- Maintaining the quality of work and productivity levels.
- Some jobs/activities demand a physical presence and face-to-face interactions. E.g., Nursing, Negotiations, feedbacks, sensitive business decisions, Inspections, Quality checks, etc.
- Remote working options apply to less than half of the total jobs out there.
Sectors where remote work is most applicable are; Finance, Insurance, Online jobs in Marketing & Media, Management services, the IT sector, and others.
Companies like Morgan Stanley, Infosys, TCS, Mondelez have declared recently that they intend to continue using the hybrid model of working in the future. Many small businesses have already started this shift in work models and are benefitting in terms of cost-saving and increased employee satisfaction. However, that is not the case in every sector, and the benefits of hybrid work-structure vary depending on the various factors.
Adapting to the future
Our ‘Future of Work’ keynote speakers suggests that organisations require to focus on drafting a flexible work policy to accommodate the preferences of the newer generation of workers. Also, in response to the changing work environment, experts emphasise a need to focus on internal upskilling, re-learning, employee retention, enhancing the employee experience, and rethinking performance management.
Here is a list of our guest speakers on the future of work for more relevant information on the changing work environment and how companies can adapt to these changes efficiently.