The inevitable future of work is here with us. Automation and AI are set to result in the creation of new roles, redefine the existing roles and create new tasks. As leaders of organizations gear up for it, there has been a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Employees are grappling with whether their jobs will still be there or not as they seek to remain relevant. Organizations know that they need to prepare for tomorrow but very few are taking active steps to prepare for tomorrow. This may be as a result of not having a clear understanding of what they need to do in order to prepare for the future of work.
Having worked with leading organizations regionally, we compiled a few tips on what organizations need to do in order to prepare for the future:
- Create a more engaging people experience in order to maintain a competitive advantage
People experience encompasses all aspects of work including the workload assigned to each employee, the office design, training and support provided by the HR. As automation increases, organizations are increasingly adopting lean teams comprising of highly skilled individuals. Tech evangelists admit that the human element can never be entirely replaced hence they advocate for emphasis of core skills such as creativity, empathy and critical thinking.
Cushioning one’s organization against the effects of talent attrition calls for building social resilience which will ensure that new models of work such as flexi-time incorporate human interaction using collaborative technologies. In adopting this approach, organizations will ensure that they have “big ideas crowds” which can provide inspiration and validation of ideas. This will create and sustain a culture of innovation within the organization thus ensuring that the organization remains dynamic.
In addition to this, organization need to make agility and adaptability a part of their values. To make these values a reality entails creating a culture of lifelong learning in which employees are aware of the dynamic nature of work.
- Support intrapreneurship
Established organizations can learn from startups by encouraging “intrapreneurship.” Leaders should be encouraged to take risks so that they nurture teams and create space for development of ideas. Encouraging intrapreneurship means providing space for autonomy within the organization.
As organizations prepare for tomorrow, they must constantly evaluate the measures that they have put in place. For instance, allowing flexi time for employees can have damaging consequences if the targets are not agreed upon. Having off site employees can put pressure on employees because they feel that they constantly have to be at work. There is a thin line between promoting autonomy and creating a fragmented work force that does not work as a team. Getting feedback from employees and tracking the progress while learning from the mistakes is vital in the success of any organization’s efforts to prepare for the future.
- Use data analytics to make use of talent
In order to gain a critical edge in gauging the future talent needs of the organization, organizations ought to adopt data analytics in talent management. Data analytics can help in the creation of a compelling employee experience and eliminate biases during the talent recruitment process. A survey of over 2,000 HR and business leaders from different parts of the globe that was carried by PwC showed that only 38% of the respondents use data analytics to gauge their talents. This is an indication of the hesitance to use predictive analytics to plan for their workforce. In spite of the availability of more tools that are user friendly to help in the process, organizations still struggle to interpret the data they hold into actionable steps that will help them manage their talent.
To remedy this, organizations need to use more precise analytical tools. HR teams ought to use tools that not only provide data but also incorporate data visualization tools in order to encourage feedback from leaders and staff. As concerns about data privacy increase, organizations should go to great lengths to ensure that the data is protected and staff know what their data is being used for. People experience can be personalized through organizational network analysis (ONA), skills mapping tools and career mapping tools.
Embracing use of data analytics more in HR can help in the elimination of bias. Data analytics would help organizations track the rates of promotions and recruitment among marginalized groups. In doing this, it is important to ensure that algorithms are not wired to replicate human biases by ensuring that the data analysts understand how algorithms work and are capable of making adjustments in order to result in a diverse pool of talent.
- Support vitality and tackle burnout
Research studies have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that burnout is on the rise and it affects the bottom line. It is not enough for organizations to set the length of the working day and targets. Organizations that are seeking to retain and engage their talent also ensure that there are measures in place to promote employee well-being. For instance, Google East Africa has an office that is designed to promote creativity through the incorporation of color and crafts. Organizations are increasingly challenging their employees to take health breaks and engage in physical activities. Organizations can also adopt the following measures to support vitality:
- Allow the workers to choose where they want to work from if possible
- Promote synchrony between the virtual and physical working environments
- Encourage employees to take time away from work
- Mind the gap
It is often said that human beings are likely to underestimate the likelihood of a bad outcome and overstate a good outcome. This applies to preparing for the future because most leaders assume that they are on the right track yet the reality betrays them. Bridging the gap calls for the following:
- HR teams and business leaders must ensure that their employees are future proof by consistently communicating on the initiatives that they are implementing and ensuring they are understood and lived within the organization
- Coach team leaders on how to effectively lead the way without leaving their teams behind and encouraging them to have means to track their success
- Encourage HR to take a leading role in thinking and planning for the organization’s future.
Is your organization struggling with preparing its employees for the future? Talk to us today