Many organizations are focused on the workforce of the future because they realize that the "future is now."
More organizations are placing greater importance on being an "organization of the future" than on anything else in their respective human capital strategies, according to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report. The report surveys more than 10,000 businesses, including C-suite executives and HR leaders from 140 countries.
The workforce of the future has become the major topic of concern among business leaders because of the flexibility that will be required of this workforce. However, currently there are significant hierarchical structures in place that hinder this, both within the organizations and in the governments that surround them and the policy frameworks in which they operate.
Flexibility is a key component of the organization of the future, which many leaders believe is happening now. Organizations believe they need to replace the existing strict, hierarchical and bureaucratic frameworks with teams that are structured into networks. These teams are not micromanaged; they are empowered to take action. According to Deloitte, employees are no longer the sole components of this network. It now encompasses such technological components as artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and robotics. This workforce of the future also includes freelancers, members of the "gig" economy who work on highly abbreviated, one-off deliverables and the crowd.
Maintaining Pace With the Competition
In order to maintain pace with — or stay ahead of — the competition, organizations may begin by restructuring their HR department or function. The goal of the restructuring is to make HR more customer-oriented, even when most of the customers are internal. Focusing on providing efficient service delivery and effective talent development programs and measuring these changes using employee experiences and the impact on employee productivity may ensure that the firm attains the flexibility it needs.
Happy, fulfilled and motivated employees serve as recruitment ambassadors. This recruitment not only applies to employees but also to the freelancers and gig service providers who will ultimately work with the employees for various periods of time. Being very clear about what the goals of the organization are and specifying what constitutes high-quality work makes it much easier to outsource to these individuals and entities as needed or desired. It also shortens the rating and re-approval process and can greatly simplify the when and how of incorporating technological components as aids.
Prioritizing the Future While Not Neglecting Current Business Objectives
If a firm operates solely in its home country, it has less to worry about than its multinational peers. However, it must still focus on those multinational entities that have a large, impactful or disruptive effect on its home market. According to Harvard Business Review, being smugly satisfied with past or current success can cause organizations to ignore or completely fail to notice industry and market changes or disruptive competitors that could threaten their existing business model.
Any organization that has created three and five-year strategic plans can understand how it must bridge the gap between addressing the current business environment in its national market while positioning itself to address the future. However, this is sometimes more difficult than it appears, especially when it may involve changing a business model. Some organizations fail, while others simply stumble. The changes may not go far enough or, in rare care cases, may go too far.
The difference between a momentary hiccup and an epic fail is often the speed of responsiveness. A highly responsive organization can respond much more rapidly in making strategic shifts. Making the organizational changes necessary to develop and leverage a workforce of the future will aid in cultivating this responsiveness speed.
Many of the organizations, according to Deloitte, were focused on the workforce of the future because they realize that the "future is now." Fortunately, focusing on what drives high employee morale can lead to the same structural flexibility and empowerment that enables firms to embrace any necessary paradigm shifts and build more profitable, stronger organizations.