The Future of Work

Do you have the right talent strategy?

Intelligent machines are transforming every aspect of our lives. Leading businesses are successfully using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve productivity, streamline processes while leveraging creativity and innovation capabilities. But to achieve sustainable growth, C-Suite teams around the world need to reconsider reinventing their core structures and thinking about how to build the workforce of the future.

All these changes are already affecting the HR function and practices. Furthermore, individual preferences, behaviour and human interactions in the workplace are evolving and changing how organisations design jobs, organise work and culture. This shift creates the need for a new talent strategy to face this digital disruption where connectivity, customer value and innovation are becoming the major components of differentiation and growth.

According to Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Report, “in an age of disruption, business and HR leaders are being pressed to rewrite the rules for how they organise, recruit, develop, manage and engage the 21st-century workforce. This workforce is changing. It’s more digital, more global, diverse, automation-savvy and social media-proficient. At the same time, business expectations, needs and demands are evolving faster than ever before”.

The concept of a network of teams implies building team accountability, defining goals and identifying critical skills to choose the right talent for project implementation.

The big question is: how can HR assist business leaders to build the Workforce of the Future?

Here are five critical components to design your talent strategy:

Organisational agility: we are currently experiencing an accelerating shift in organisational structure towards what Josh Bersin, from Deloitte Consulting, called a “network of teams.”

Agility plays a critical role in the organisation of the future, as companies race to replace traditional structural hierarchies with networks of teams empowered to take action to implement the strategy. The concept of a network of teams implies building team accountability, defining goals and identifying critical skills to choose the right talent for project implementation.

Reward systems based on skills, expertise and project participation is another aspect to consider. All these changes are creating a big cultural shift from the traditional question “For whom do you work?” to “With whom do you work?”.

Hence, to create an agile organisation that responds quickly to changes in the marketplace, it will be necessary to start with an organisational network analysis to identify high-performing teams, projects and programmes that actually work across departments and functions.

Careers and learning disruption: the nature of careers has evolved and it is not linear anymore. The idea of working for a corporation all your life is gone.

One CareerBuilder survey shared “employers expect 45% of their newly hired college grads would remain with the company for under two years”.

Traditional learning management systems are not working either. Today’s workforce is connected 24/7. Hence, they want to learn in different ways that allow them to experience continuous learning.  Access to mobile platforms and tools to create an “always-on” learning experiences will allow employees to build skills quickly, easily and on their own terms.

To sum up, HR will be the advisor to rethink the entire L&D framework and job structure in order to design a new career and learning models that support strategy.

Furthermore, leading organisations are overhauling their career models and L&D infrastructures for the digital age. For example, AI will change the L&D approach, personalising courses, based on skills and new behaviours depending on team needs and individual career goals. To sum up, HR will be the advisor to rethink the entire L&D framework and job structure in order to design a new career and learning models that support strategy.

Talent disruption: According to Accenture “Investment in AI and Human-Machine collaboration could boost revenue by 38% by 2022”.

The “augmented workforce” brings people, robots and AI together to improve customer experience, service quality and corporate branding.  The role of humans is changing and it is necessary to pay attention to the “people aspects” of work and create an organisational framework for reskilling and retraining talent (to use technology) but to also redesign jobs to take advantage of human skills.

Furthermore, the shift from full-time employees to an augmented workforce will impact how organisations conceptualise jobs, work, the workplace and the workforce. Business leaders will need to work with HR to reframe careers, jobs and design new ways of working and learning.

Lastly, HR should identify all human workforce segments considering contractors, part-timers, freelancers and gig workers to create a new scope of the augmented workforce linked with business strategy. Participation of C-suite and business leaders is critical to prepare the organisation for this big shift.

Rethinking performance management: organisations are re-evaluating every aspect of their programmes, from goal-setting to end-year reviews and the inter-relationship with incentives and rewards. Today, since companies are shifting from traditional work structures to operate as a network of teams, they need to align goals, provide feedback and coach for performance in real-time. This will create better employee development plans focused not only on individual achievement but team performance.

Furthermore, employees are looking for constant feedback in order to improve skills while building their career paths. Hence, a new performance tool is necessary to improve communication and feedback, enabling managers to interact with their teams on a continuous basis using technology to improve productivity.

For example, GE has been reinventing its performance management over the last two years. Now, after removing ratings, adopting ongoing touchpoints and implementing procedures to deliver immediate horizontal and vertical feedback, the company has completely reinvented its process and built a new performance management culture.

People analytics: companies are investing heavily in technology to use people data across all aspects of talent planning, development, customer engagement, finance and operations to deliver real-time enterprise analytics solutions in order to create actionable insights for the business.

This new approach involves a partnership with HR and other corporate functions in order to design talent metrics that drive operational performance. However, analytics is shifting from a focus on HR to a focus on people driven by data that links to the business value proposition.

Lastly, the quality and reliability of data is a challenge for many organisations. Setting up the right structure, analysis and standardised people metrics are key to success. C-Suite sponsorship will be critical.


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Headline image group of people in dress suits  by Marily Torres via pexels.com

© Copyright 2017. This article may be reprinted provided the following credit line is present: Alberto Loyola, Global Talent & Organization consultant. All rights reserved.

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