The Future of Work (June Update) – Six things your company can do now to take the lead
We recently published our White Paper, ‘The Future of Work’ and we thank all of you who have downloaded a copy. We hope you found it interesting. For anyone who hasn’t read the White Paper, it can be downloaded here.
As we say in the White Paper, we believe that the Future of Work will be vastly different from how we work now driven by:
Advances in technology
Changes in behaviour (flexible working, use of social media)
Generational differences (millennials)
Mobility (work anywhere there is an Internet connection).
And make no mistake every month we read lots of articles confirming that the new digital age will drive a revolution in the way we work.
17th May Financial Times – ‘Disruption’
Although there have been a lot of false starts, artificial intelligence (AI) applications are now taking hold. ‘We’re at the tipping point because of the advancement of technology, the Cloud and the amount of data we now have.’
For example, in insurance AI applications are able to calculate life premiums from photographs of the insured person more accurately than an underwriter – an entire occupation which started in the 1600s now threatened by selfies.
AI is making great strides in financial services, agriculture and medicine – the view that AI has a near term future is picking up with $500 million invested in AI applications in 2016 in insurance alone.
In the White Paper, we start with the statement that:
Many organisations are struggling to cope with changes in the way work is evolving. The world of work is rapidly changing while they remain stagnant. The longer this goes on, the less likely employees are to be engaged at work and the harder it will be to attract the top talent.
However, for those organisations that explore and think carefully about the implications of the future of work, there is a great opportunity to take the lead.
So, what should your company be looking to do now to ‘take the lead?’
The EGM team had a brainstorming session and we thought you’d be interested in the output:
1. Develop a very strong Employer Brand (what it’s like to work around here) and let employees and prospective employees know all about it (please see our blog here).
Attracting and retaining good staff will become much harder in the future
Staff will only work where they ‘want’ to not where they ‘have’ to
Candidates will be able to find out if the company matches their aspirations much easier - Employer Brand is becoming much more transparent (Glassdoor, career sites, social media)
Clearly define the company’s Employer Brand
Start at the first contact a potential employee has with your company – map the recruitment and selection processes as part of the Employer Brand exercise
‘Advertise’ your Employer Brand so key messages are clear – for example, careers page on the company web site, social media, recruitment collateral
Aim to make sure work is seen as an ‘experience’ e.g. innovative work environment, consumer grade technology- and not a chore
Consider flexible working arrangements
Work fitting around life – not the other way around
Shared values as compelling reason to work at the company
2. Set goals to be an award-winning company in areas such as sustainability, environment and ethics – making a strongly positive social and environmental impact
Clients and staff will be increasingly drawn to sustainable companies in the future
Research shows that millennials value sustainability and working for companies that have a social and environmental conscience
There’s lots of disillusionment around after the financial crisis about unethical business practices
Highlight employee work life balance, ethics and doing the right thing
Embark on initiatives to increase employee health and well-being
Volunteering in the community and with charities – strongly encouraged as part of staff development and contribution
Make sure the company fully supports social and environmental projects
3. Heighten the focus on Employee Development (even more)
Research shows that employee development is becoming even more important as the nature of work changes and advances in technology speed up.
Give an even higher focus to employee development – but in widest sense; for example, so that employees understand how technology is changing their industry: (AI, robotics, latest innovations)
Set up internal innovation hubs where staff can work on developing their understanding of technology and its application to the workplace.
4. Think about how you can improve your approach to developing a diverse workforce
Attracting and retaining staff will become harder
Research always shows that diverse companies are higher performers in key areas such as team work, customer service and financial results
Family friendly policies
Target career returners as part of recruitment policy
Set targets and publish diversity results – this can drive focus internally
5. Resolve to Strengthen Leadership Development Programmes when planning for 2018
All the research shows that staff will become more and more overwhelmed in the next few years due to changes in work and technology and that ‘genuine’ leadership skills will be in great demand
Culture will become even more important to attract and retain staff and leadership is a prime ingredient
Millennials want to work with leaders they can respect
Increase spend on leadership development; particularly ‘softer’ skill areas
Put people in staff leadership roles who have capability and skills – not ‘next one in line’
Use profiling before making leadership appointments
Ensure leaders are highly effective in mentoring and coaching more junior staff
6. Get comfortable working alongside the ‘gig’ economy
PWC research shows that as people become more used to flexible working, ‘contract and freelance employment will be on the rise further
Full-time jobs will start to become obsolete over time as people get used to flexible working
Portfolio careers will become even more the norm
Examine models to attract different kinds of employee
Look at new reward systems – for example, ‘project related bonus schemes’
Identify ways to recruit freelancers, associates and part-time staff
Think about the best ways to manage ‘contingent’ workers