The Future of Work trend continues to be fascinating. It’s compelling reading and something we all need to be across. But is being across it enough? The changes in the way work will be performed in the future are dramatic. Way more than the changes we’ve experienced over the last couple of decades. To really embrace this future will require a significant mindset shift for many of us to ensure we are truly open to the possibilities and opportunities this Future of Work brings.
You don’t have to look too hard to read about the Future of Work. AI, robotics, digitisation, cognitive computing, crowd-sourcing, open talent economy, contingent workers, gig economy…all buzzwords and key ingredients going into the melting pot to create the “Augmented Workforce” of the Future.
You’ll come across truckloads of views on these words/topics/trends if you:
Check out the speaker topics at the next conference you’re attending;
Read articles or opinion pieces in your LinkedIn feed, news source or other favourite social media feeds; or
Google Global thought leaders from Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG, Accenture and many more who have been spruiking this trend for a few years now.
It’s a dialed-up topic and in Australia, we’re now seeing people in organisations starting to take notice.
Oh, and if that’s not enough…check out every “accelerator” or “incubator” program that’s chocked full of the next blockbuster start up ideas set to change the world on how work is performed, by machine or human, in the future!
Facts are the Future of Work is real. We will see changes in how work gets done and how workplaces organise their resources and do business. For some it’ll be sooner rather than later.
So here's the top four questions on my mind:
What will be the catalyst for people and organisations to embrace this Future of Work?
What will compel people to think differently about how they’ve traditionally viewed how work is organised and performed, to how it could be?
How will organisations access and adopt new capabilities and technologies that will replace or change the way they’ve done this previously?
And,What does it all mean for you? From your role in helping your business embrace this future to the personal impact it will have on the work you do?
Many contend the driver is simply about getting “strategic about future proofing” your business.
Maybe, but I think it’s more about adopting the right mindset and being truly open to embracing the possibilities the Future of Work offers.
Without this mindset shift and being open to working and operating differently, there’s a real risk the strategies developed in organisations will take too long to be developed and may be under-cooked.
In recent times, I’ve spoken to executives from many organisations, public and private, about the Future of Work. Overwhelmingly I’m left with a view that many have not started to think about the implications of the Future of Work for their business, or if they have, under estimate the opportunity it could provide. I get really concerned when people tell me they’re so flat out right now they can’t think about the future. And there are still senior executives who tell me they’ve always operated a certain way and can’t see the need to change in the future.
The facts are businesses must evolve. Protecting and preserving traditional ways of working or ignoring this Future of Work trend is a risk, to both the business and individuals.
The Future of Work trends present real opportunities for businesses to derive significant value. But the level of value derived will be driven by how open people are to doing things differently while managing the short and long term consequences of these decisions for their business and people.
12 things organisations should be thinking about:
What role does the “open talent economy” play in your business?
What types of work in your business could be automated with new technology or machines?
What impact will automation or machines have on the human aspects of the work performed, the customer experience, productivity and efficiency?
How will employees work with these machines or technology and what training will be required?
Will more automation create new roles requiring greater specialisation?
What human aspects of work are essential and need to be preserved in organisations?
What are the implications and consequences for your organisation design, leadership and workforce?
Will “contingent workers” play a greater role in your new workforce mix?
What new channels (crowd-sourcing, open talent economy, gig economy etc.) and platforms do you need access to source resources and the specialist capabilities your organisation needs to succeed?
If more and more people leave traditional employment roles to pursue greater flexibility and market their expertise across multiple employers, what impact will this have on your business model?
What are the implications for key areas in your business such as HR, IT and Procurement in this Future of Work to ensure the business can access the capabilities it needs quickly and efficiently?
How do you maintain a cost effective and efficient pipeline for sourcing these capabilities?
To address these key questions, a change of mindset is required from key individuals across every business function in how we’ve traditionally organised and performed this work. It goes without saying businesses must continue to evolve to remain competitive in this new Future of Work, and yes, there will be implications as a result of the changes made. Not all of which are bad by the way!
And don’t forget, along with these changes, more and more people are now choosing to leave traditional employment roles to work more flexibly, deciding to provide their specialisations across multiple businesses on their terms. So, it’s not just about organisations choosing to have work performed differently.
The most significant impediments to the Future of Work trend that I currently see is our fixed mindset on how we believe work should be performed. Our challenge is to shift our mindset to be truly open to the possibilities of doing things differently, embracing this new future rather than finding, or justifying, reasons why we shouldn’t.
You don’t have to leap in and throw caution to the wind. But you may need to Shift your Mindset to get started.
Andrew Jarvis spent over 30 years in senior Human Resources roles prior to jumping into the startup world with CircleSource, a digital platform designed to change the way we find and engage specialists, consultants and independent experts in an evolving workforce environment.