Picture this: It's a busy morning in your house. Your partner has already hit the gym and has headed out to work. The kids are now just getting up while you're packing their lunch, and yours. You patiently wait for them to get their shoes tied and step their little feet over to the car. After the school drop off, you come back home to get ready for your workday. You have a late morning virtual coffee meeting with your new boss. They're meeting you to brief you on your next assignment. You're given two months to complete the work effort with weekly meetings to discuss your findings and ensure you're aligned. After the meeting, you head over to your other employer's office. You've been here a few months, so you know your way around the office to meet some of your team members for their ideation session where you sit in to provide advisory. After the session, you have time to get started on your new project before heading out for some personal time (e.g., errands, fitness class).
I know what you're thinking, "wow, if only…" Today, I'm here to tell you, this world isn't too far away, and some folks are already living like this. Their lives don't revolve around work, they get to pick and choose what they work on, and they get to build their skills along the way. They're living in a world where they have multiple employers and expanded networks across many industries. They're hired for their skills and unique expertise, for a duration that's needed for a very specific scenario at hand. They have the flexibility to work on projects they have interest in, while working on them in a manner that flexes around their life.
So how do we step into this future? Keep reading...
The future of work is already in the works and some of us will see these themes start to surface sooner rather than later. But, one thing is for sure, it's unavoidable, and the sooner we embrace what's to come, the sooner we can prepare for these massive shifts that will not only compel us to change the way we work, but change the way we think about 'work' as a concept.
Here are five major shifts that we can anticipate in our not so far future, derived from research conducted by Human Capital and Future of Work experts at Deloitte.
Key Shift 1: From Jobs to Skills
The world around us is in constant flux we cannot limit our work or expectations to what's written on paper; job descriptions become stale as soon as they’re published. This means, we cannot keep hiring for specific jobs, we need to shift towards hiring for skills. This also means organizations need to shift towards identifying what skills are needed to help solve problems, rather than curate a persona for a role that might help solve that problem. Organizations that don't embrace this are at great risk of stunting their ability to adapt quickly to changing business needs while investing in FTE that aren't filling the evolving skills gaps.
Key Shift 2: From Employees to Workforce Ecosystems
Many organizations today hold a perspective that they need to hire full-time employees over contingent workers. They have goals for retention and believe this is the most cost effective and efficient way to work. However, given the constant flux of the environment, developing internal capabilities can create so much lag that you quickly fall behind on being able to conduct the work that's critical or at hand. Employers need to shift towards more effective models that have a healthy mix of FTE and contingent workers so skills that are required can be quickly plugged into the work effort that’s top priority.
Key Shift 3: From Flexible Work to Flexible Everything
‘Flexibility’ has been trending since 2019. Now, it means so much more than workplace flexibility. Employees are craving increased flexibility in how and where they work, the status of their employment, how they learn and navigate their careers, and even added flexibility in how many employers they have. Flexibility will continue to trend with an expanded definition, putting the human needs of an employee at the centre of how work is completed.
Key Shift 4: From Automation to Augmentation
In 2015, most of the workforce still thought robots were going to take over the workforce, a good fraction of corporate professionals still hold this fear. The truth is, robots cannot function without humans, so the emphasis shifts towards identifying what skills are now critical in augmenting how we work in an environment where technology can automate and replace work efforts. We move from using technology to automate work tasks to also augmenting work efforts so we can put emphasis on deriving human value where technology cannot (e.g., judgement, connection).
Fun fact: 47 million new jobs are expected to be created by 2025 that marry together human and technology skills.
Key Shift 5: From Productivity to Human Performance
The pandemic showed a spike in productivity, it also showed a spike in burnout. We need to step away from measuring productivity through performance metrics and think about productivity through the goals that we wish to accomplish. This starts by identifying the most effective and efficient ways to complete these goals by bringing together the right skills at the right time. The key here is to ensure there is a consideration for how can we can effectively embed technology and maintain well-being to increase human performance.
Reflection Moment: Do you think this world is possible? How can you support these shifts rather than resist them?
Source: Deloitte 360 Virtual Conference 2022, Speakers: Nicole Scoble-Williams and Kathy Woods