Future of Work Series (Part 1 of 2)
Updated: Jan 12
I like to stay on point about the future of work. What will it look like? How do and should we stay relevant on how this impacts our place of work as HR professionals and business leaders? What about technology, AI, robots - how will that shape new jobs and eliminate other jobs?
Our 2 part series will highlight these key areas to be considered as part of your HR hiring strategy whether you have a designated Human Resource Director or Manager, or the CEO of a small business with 10 people. Our article will break down what predictions speak to our future in HR, job opportunities, and how we need to keep an eye on these trends.
Part 1 - Future of Work,
Part 2 - Skill Development
The questions raised above have been top of mind since the First Industrial Revolution. As technology and automations improved, some professions like a clock keeper, film projectionist, switchboard operator, etc. were no longer required. Since Smartphones made their appearance on the market in 2002, photographers and videographers will be the first to share their thoughts on the impact that digital cameras and mobile phones document the world with pictures, videos, and special effects. Photographers and Videographers have become digital storytellers that had to upskill their knowledge and learn new technology tools to innovate.
As a matter of fact, it seems that every day there is some new technology update (think of how frequently your phone updates happen), a new product on the market, and then we add on how technology moves at what appears to be lightning speed. What will the impact be on human resources? After all, the word HUMAN is in the name of the department and job role. Industry forecasts have stayed the path of keeping a balance between technology and humans.
There has been quite a bit of concern about the role human resources will have in the future. Imagine a world in which the human resources function as we know it vanishes and is replaced by automation, outsourcing, and self-organizing teams. Or a world in which top talent is fought over so fiercely that the most adept tech workers hire agents to negotiate and manage their careers. What to do? Let’s look at four possible outcomes the world of work might morph.
Four Possible Worlds of Work in 2030
According to a report shared by PwC, sees four alternative worlds of work, all named after different colors. One world could move away from big companies as new technology allows small businesses to gain more strength. In another, companies might work together for the betterment of society as a whole. Let’s have a look:
1. The Red World: Here, technology will allow tiny businesses to tap into the vast reservoirs of information, skills, and financing. HR will no longer exist as a separate function, and entrepreneurs will rely on outsourced services for people processes. There would be fierce competition for talent, and those with in-demand future skills will command the highest rewards.
2. The Blue World: Here, global corporations will become larger, powerful, and more influential than ever. Companies see their size and influence as the best way to protect their profit margins. Top talent is fiercely fought over.
3. The Green World: As a reaction to strong public opinion, scarce natural resources, and strict international regulations, companies will push a strong ethical and ecological agenda.
4. The Yellow World: Here, workers and companies will seek out greater meaning and relevance. Workers will find autonomy, flexibility, and fulfilment while working for organizations with strong ethical and social standards. The concept of fair pay will predominate in the future of work.
As we continue to move into the 2030 workplace, why does this matter? It is because of PowerSkills (a/k/a Soft Skills). As more and more job activities become automated, PowerSkills, which cannot yet be replicated by machines, have become more important. In 2017, Deloitte also reported that "soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030" and that hiring employees with more soft skills could increase revenue by more than $90,000.
The Workplace of 2030
According to independent studies published by CBRE and Genesis, and a report in WSJ, the workplace in 2030 will be very different from the one seen today. Here is a glimpse of how work in 2030 could look like:
1. There Will Be “Places to Work”- The best workplaces will have different quiet areas so that workers have choices to where they want to work, eliminating assigned seating altogether.
2. Smaller Individual Organizations- There will be smaller corporations. With so much opportunity for collaborations, there will be no need to build a costly big business.
3. Less Hierarchy- Everyone will be a leader. Work will thrive in teams, not with dictators.
4. Big Emphasis on Wellness- Offices will be much healthier environments, whether that’s good lighting, relaxation areas, sleeping rooms, music, pets at work, etc.
5. Need For a “Chief of Work” Role- The Chief of Work will set the culture in the organization. This role could also feature amongst the best jobs for the future.
6. Flexible Floor Plans- When workers arrive at their office building, wearable devices will let them know what floor to go to, that can be changed based on sensor data.
7. Goodbye, Desk- There won’t be any physical desks; employees will just park themselves anywhere and have a simulated office before their eyes.
8. Your Robot Assistant- All workers at all levels will be using robotic helpers in the future like Siri or Alexa, to sort through incoming email, schedule meetings, create spreadsheets, etc.
9. Smarter Brainstorming- Most meetings will take place between different groups of workers in multiple locations, allowing seamless sharing of ideas and brainstorming across time zones.
10. The Virtual Water Cooler- Informal get-togethers will take place via virtual and augmented reality headsets.
11. With the aid of technology, assembly workers will wear devices that gauge their concentration, work rate, moods and physical energy levels.
12. The higher education system as it is now structured will disappear or be transformed because of unsustainable costs and limited job opportunities for graduates.
13. Managing complexity and ambiguity will have the single biggest impact on the way we work.
14. Social responsibility will dominate the corporate agenda with prime concerns about the environment and peoples’ well being.
15. Companies will break down into collaboration networks of smaller organizations;
16. Work in one profession or job for an extended period of time will disappear.
17. Leadership teams will replace single leaders, with their prime focus on developing positive and inclusive corporate cultures.
18. The Internet of Things will shape our economy and the way we work.
19. The social contract will be revised with an emphasis on ethical values and work-life balance.
20. Work will be restructured on the basis of flexibility, employee autonomy and career challenges/opportunities in return for short-term or contractual employment.
21. Workers will increasingly see themselves as members of a particular skill (e.g.: guild) or professional network rather than as an employee of a particular company.
22. Workers will be rewarded based on their expertise and results rather than position and length of service, and therefore will have an increasing personal stake in the success of work.
23. Learning and training will become flexible, personalized and collaborative.
We should prepare for the future by being proactive and staying in a mindset of continuous learning, curiosity, and keeping a balance between what makes humans amazing. Our creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and research skills. These key competencies should be at the core of what differentiates humans from AI.
Business and HR leaders should consider reading Dell Technologies Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future Report where global business leaders forecast the next era of human-machine partnerships. While leaders are torn about what the shift in automation means for them, the surveyed leaders agree, we’re on the verge of immense change.
More than eight in ten (82 percent) leaders expect humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organization within five years (26 percent say their workforce and machines are already successfully working this way).
However, they’re divided by what this shift will mean for them, their business and even the world at large.
Subscribe today and read the next article.
Part 2 - Skill Development
Learn how you can become an IP #Employer4Change to create your intern program and prepare your employees for the Future of Work. Or, sign up today and be part of our pilot.