Future of Work

The changing workforce: What HR needs to do to prepare for the future of work

The workforce is changing faster than it has at any time in recent history. Not only do we have a large number of older workers getting ready to retire, but the nature of work is also changing rapidly.

For companies to be successful, HR managers will need to recognize these changes and alter their employee performance management system—alongside preparing for a work landscape that will be very different from the one that exists today.

The Changing Profile of the Modern Worker

Significant demographic changes are shifting the modern labour force. We see more women from around the world moving into the labour pool and taking on new roles.  Additionally, the aging workforce is moving toward mass retirement. What’s more troubling, is that younger workers are not prepared to fill many of these positions.  Finally, consider that the workforce for many companies is becoming increasingly globalized.  With these massive shifts to the current and future labour pool, it is no surprise that nearly 60% of HR managers view retaining and rewarding the best talent as one of the biggest challenges moving forward.  HR professionals will need to apply a multi-faceted approach to managing this changing workforce. Businesses will need to find incentives to keep older employees around past retirement age. They will also need to develop programs to transfer some of the skills and knowledge from older employees to the younger staffers that are going to take their place.  Businesses will also need to look for ways to maximize the potential of female employees.  While some strides have been made, women are still vastly underrepresented in leadership positions. Just 6.4% of Fortune 500 companies have a female CEO. That is progress when compared to the past, but it shows that we still have a long way to go.


The Skills Gap

With technology constantly changing the nature of work, the skills required of the modern worker are changing quickly.  As responsibilities change, hiring managers are beginning to recognize a gap between the skills that modern workers have, and the skills that are needed to fill the positions of the future.  In a study from Millennial Branding, 73% of hiring managers said a university education was not sufficiently preparing students to enter the workforce.  To address this concern, businesses, governments and educational institutions are going to need to work together. The business community is going to need to build relationships within the world of education. Together they will need to develop courses that provide students with the actual skills they will need to work in the jobs of the future.  As an additional point, companies will need to establish programs for internal education and training. Doing so will keep existing employees up to date on the skills they need to continue succeeding in this changing landscape of work.

Technology and the Global Workforce

New communication technologies have changed the ways that companies communicate with employees. They have also created new opportunities for organizations to develop remote and virtual workforces.  In many ways, this has been a benefit for both management and employees. But it has brought some new challenges.  For companies that use a virtual workforce, there can be difficulties with getting employees to adopt new technologies that are necessary for doing the job. In addition to that, the lack of a shared environment can make it difficult to develop the same team atmosphere that would exist in a traditional workplace.  When it comes to cross-border virtual teams, there are additional issues. In a study from EIU, 53% of respondents said that one of the greatest challenges for managing a remote team was dealing with the misunderstandings that result from differences in culture, language, or the inability to read expressions.  Companies that rely on remote teams will need to consider new ways to manage, lead, and motivate workers. Especially those that don’t share the same physical environment. This includes effective communication, different models for employee evaluations, and taking the time to manage differences in culture and language.

Author Rae Steinbach

À propos de l'auteur.

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.