Keeping Up With the Evolving Workplace: Why Knowledge is Key to Remaining Competitive
Over the past several years, the nature of the workforce has been rapidly changing. Technology continues to transform the way people work, and fluctuating economic demands shift workforce needs more frequently than in the past. Because of this, access to knowledge and information is increasingly important to employees, who must adapt to shifting roles and compete for work in a global marketplace. Employers often need their workers to accomplish more work in less time, perform a wider variety of tasks, and learn new skills quickly. The challenge for employers is to ensure they’re providing workers with the resources essential to gather knowledge and share information efficiently.
The ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI), a specialized group within ADP®, conducted a qualitative and quantitative study among employers and employees to gauge several key trends contributing to the transformation of the workplace. The use and sharing of knowledge was one of these trends and was identified as a strong need in the global, multi-skilled workforce. The study looked at four major regions: North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific. In each of these regions, employers and employees are managing knowledge in the workplace in different ways. Employers can stay ahead of the curve by empowering their workforces with the right tools and encouraging knowledge sharing within their organizations.
Harnessing knowledge within your organization
The importance of knowledge and how it’s distributed in the workplace is growing as the workforce evolves. Members of the baby boomer generation are reaching retirement—taking years of experience and accumulated knowledge with them. For an organization to retain that knowledge, employees need to have access to systems and procedures that allow them to share what they know with others. Another workforce change is the trend toward frequently shifting roles. Employees may have to take on new projects or tasks quickly, or fill different positions as needed, requiring them to learn new job functions or understand different aspects of their industry. This process can be seamless if they have existing resources or learning platforms to tap into. Additionally, workers are now typically carrying more workload than in the past and are performing more critical thinking or knowledge-based tasks over automated tasks. To do this kind of work, employees need to be able to collect information and collaborate easily.
Employers can respond to these needs by finding ways to offer the training and knowledge-sharing platforms that employees desire. This includes resources that provide on-demand learning through online training courses, for example, or communication platforms that allow workers to share information and collaborate quickly and efficiently, from any location. Employers can also ensure their employees are allowed the time necessary to learn new skills, whether to participate in onsite training, pursue continuing education, or attend conferences and other industry events. Beyond making the right tools and resources available, however, a company can cultivate a culture of growing and spreading knowledge within the organization. Employees should be encouraged to expand their skillset and to pursue competencies based on their career goals and the company’s needs.
Workplace learning varies among regions
North American employers and employees surveyed by ADP RI felt that they already have access to tools and resources needed to gain and share information to get their jobs done. Many people are already feeling a positive impact from being able to connect with their global professional network and learn on-demand via technology. Overall, employees felt positively about this and were excited about the potential for constant development in their workplaces.
Europeans had a slightly different take. Although they claimed that through technology they are already experiencing greater learning opportunities and connection with others in the workplace, some were skeptical about the use of social media as a collaborative tool for work, and many employees expressed trepidation toward the need to frequently learn new skills or move between roles. Several countries in the region are dealing with these changing workplace expectations by incorporating technology-focused entrepreneurial education into schools.
In Latin America, people claimed to feel a strong impact from the shift toward using technology and social media to collaborate and share workplace knowledge. Employees and employers surveyed in this region believed technology is helping them create deeper connections and learn new skills rapidly. Additionally, they felt that a movement toward constantly shifting roles in the workplace is already underway and will grow in coming years.
The Asia-Pacific region is on the forefront of on-demand learning and technological resources that facilitate knowledge in the workplace. Individuals in this region felt they have already been strongly affected by the workplace trend of sharing and spreading knowledge to constantly learn and shift roles, and they are excited to have increased access to resources and tools needed to do their work. Employers in this region indicated that they highly encourage ongoing learning among employees.
As the workplace evolves, knowledge and information sharing is vital for getting work done and remaining competitive. Many traditional job functions can now be completed more efficiently due to technology, and many basic tasks are now automated. This has changed what day-to-day work looks like for many employees, who are now expected to learn new skills rapidly, carry a larger workload, and frequently change roles based on their company’s needs. Employers can make sure their organizations are keeping up by providing the necessary resources and support to learn and share knowledge.
About this study: Over the past several years, the nature of the workforce has been rapidly changing. Technology continues to transform the way people work, and fluctuating economic demands shift workforce needs more frequently than in the past.