With the advancement of technology, changing demographic mix, economic upheavals across the globe, worsening environmental concerns, rise of innovation and the entrepreneurship, the whole workplace dynamics is witnessing a tectonic shift. The way we work, how we work and where we work is changing. The competencies and technologies required to work, engage and connect with others, are going to be substantially different in the future workplace.
Some will say… yes, that is obvious, but why is it important now?
- Do we know of any other time when we had 4 generations (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, GenX and Millennials) in the work-place bringing vastly different sets of values, beliefs and expectations? Are we not grappling with this tough reality and finding it gradually hard to align all these people together and sustain same levels of performance while practicing old concepts, mind-sets and practices.
- Is the generation mix going to remain almost same in future? No! People who will form majority of the workplace in near future will be Millennials, whose needs, expectations and aspirations from a workplace and an employer are so different from the older generations.
- We are already seeing that the millennial generation entering the workplace understand and leverage technologies that are far ahead of those adopted by its employer. Even the age old concept of baby boomers Gen X valuing “work-life balance” is soon getting overshadowed by the approach of Millennials that “work is part of life, not separate”.
- Earlier, was remoteness not treated as a barrier to alignment of employees under one vison and operation? But now, does remoteness matter that much in the age of super-connectivity?
- Do all employees have to be in physical offices? Do the employees really need to be ‘employees’ of any employer?
- Where should the employer find the best talent? Most employers till recently depended only on local talent, till competition and globalization forced them to look beyond the physical borders.
All these notions are fast changing and will take a new form by 2020 and beyond. Below are the 6 key predictions that might shape the workplace of tomorrow.
- Work and Talent will go global: The diversity and complexity of skills will grow manifold as organizations will find it almost impossible to find all the requisite talent and skill mix within their geographical boundaries. Work will go the place where it can be delivered best to meet the client needs. Organizations of the future will devise strategies to tap competent talent “anywhere in the world”, not just as regular office employees, but as “Home workers”, freelancers, piece-raters, consultants, contractors, business partners and “Talent on the Cloud”. HR organizations will need to develop a “just-in-time” workforce—one that enables them to instantly find and deploy skills when and where they’re required in the business. Organizations will need to know how to manage talent that stretches beyond the organization’s walls.
- Recruiting will be primarily through social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, etc. People will get hired and promoted based upon their reputation capital, i.e. a combination of their personal brand, expertise and the breadth, depth and quality of their social networks.
- Employees will turn into “Volunteers” and would elect their leaders in the corporate set-up. Companies that encourage employees to elect their leader will be seen as employers of choice.
- Social media literacy: It will be made essential for all employees. Even for a CEO, job requirements might include flair for blogging, since keeping in touch with customers, the marketplace and employees will remain an important role for CEOs.
- Paradigm shift from outsourcing to crowdsourcing: As talent will prefer working at own pace, time, place and not bound by one employer, crowdsourcing will take precedence over outsourcing. Companies like Boeing, P&G etc. have already started the trend of crowdsourcing to use the ideas sourced from the crowd to design products and innovate.
- Diversity and continuous learning will be a business requirement: In order to connect and engage with talent present anywhere, business will make conscious efforts to ensure appropriate levels of diversity without HR department being mandated to impose it superficially on the organization. Our mobile devices will not only become our offices and classrooms to impart regular learning, but also platform to do household work. Mobile phones, iPads and tablets will become the primary connection tool.
If we don’t see the writing on the wall now and start preparing basis the trends above, we might be caught unawares when the time comes, and that would hasten our departure to the oblivion sooner than later.