Future-proof your workforce

by Chloe Taylor04 May 2015
Adecco’s recently released report, The Reality of Talent: Tomorrow’s Workplace, has unveiled several predictions for the next few decades, emphasising the changes that will affect the world of work and how employers can prepare for them.

What will change?
 
  • The definition of ‘employee’ is on the cusp of changing: employee attitudes and expectations for flexibility will influence where, when and how people work
     
  • Dynamic and agile team structures will become the norm, and contracted work will become the default mode of employment
     
  • Location of work will vary widely – offices will serve as temporary anchor point for human interaction rather than daily travel destinations
     
  • Smart systems will emerge and collaborate with humans, changing the nature of work and driving a re-imagination of work content and processes

Competitive advantage

The report identified five key areas which organisations will need to be in control of in order to succeed – and the responsibility for overseeing them could easily fall into HR’s lap.

The top five sources of competitive advantage in 2030 were named as:
  1. Attraction and retention of key talent
  2. Innovation
  3. Adaptability to changing circumstances
  4. Adoption of technology
  5. Organisational vision, culture and philosophy
Social ‘megatrends’

Researchers at Adecco noted the Hay Group’s previously identified six ‘megatrends’ that will influence the world – and the world of work – over the coming decades.

These were:
  • Digitisation: The ability of workers to publicly (and often anonymously) disparage a company brand online. This transparency will force businesses to be more responsive, accountable and engaged with workers.
     
  • Globalisation: The shift of economic power from traditional Western economies to emerging markets in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia will lead to sever shortages in talent elsewhere.
     
  • Demographic change: With the global economy on the rebound, scores of Baby Boomers are set to retire in the next five to ten years, meaning businesses will need to invest time into succession planning.
     
  • Individualism: This was rated as the top concern among organisations, and centres around the notion that workers now expect their needs to be met on a personal level, and will leave an organisation if these needs are not met.
     
  • Environmental crisis: Climate change and the depletion of raw materials will present many challenges for business operations, requiring companies to find sustainable solutions. Currently, 50% of millennials consider a company’s social causes before accepting a position.
     
  • Technology convergence: Emerging technologies such as cloud computing, portable devices and nanotechnology will allow for more collaborative environments and opportunities for business partnerships.
From retirement to ‘returnment’

Another key trend flagged up by the report was ‘returnment’, a phrase coined to describe the future of superannuation.

According to the report’s authors, retirement will have practically disappeared by 2030, being placed with the concept of ‘returnment’ which will enable people “to work forever”.

“The trend stems from working until a later age because people want to, rather than have to,” the report said.

Future-proofing your organisation

Australian employers will need to follow the lead of companies in Europe and the US by tapping into new and underutilised resources.

This may include a higher percentage of mature workers, women, students, transient workers and immigrant workers.

Globally, companies are increasingly likely to control a larger percentage of workers from various sources, including contract pools, academic collaborations and crowdsourcing.

Employees will consider foreign postings as a natural part of professional development, and there will be a greater emphasis on learning on the job.

Employers should begin to introduce strategic workforce planning by modelling labour supply and demand for different families in order to understand current and future imbalances and development strategies for addressing them.

New generations, new expectations – what will ‘Gen 2020’ expect from the workplace?

By 2030, it is predicted that organisational structures and corporate hierarchies will be disappearing, meaning that employers will need to replace the ‘corporate ladder’ with a ‘corporate lattice’.

Employees will need to learn to move sideways, undertake short-term secondments and projects in order to progress their careers. Career development will also be achieved through job rotations and shadowing.

According to Adecco’s report, ‘Generation 2020’ – who were born after 1997 – will expect the following from their employers:
  • Training and education: ‘Self-service’ progression will mean that employees will be able to plot their future career pathways and then undertake the training required to get to those future roles. Mentors and training systems will proactively identify courses and projects to build workers’ skills.
     
  • Communication and collaboration: An evolution from one-on-one conversation to multi-point communication is already underway, and will become linked to productivity gains, particularly within organisations that have geographically dispersed employees.
     
Related articles:

Half of existing jobs will be extinct by 2025 – is HR safe?
What jobs will you be advertising in 2030?
The world of work in the year 2050
 
 

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