As a futurist, I’m always looking at the trends affecting workplaces and organisations, and I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the last 8-10 years.
A decade ago, we were in the early stages of the technology explosion – with social media, smartphones, and the first discussions around practical uses for AI and robotics. Everybody was excited about the technology, its opportunities and threats, and its impact on their products and services.
Then the conversation shifted from technology to skills – in other words, how we will cope, navigate, and lead in this brave new world that technology will create for us.
Now, the conversation has shifted again. We know there are people – smart, savvy, talented people – with the skills for the future. Because of their skills, they are in high demand. So the question now is: Will they want to work for you?
If you think there’s been a war for talent in the past, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Research by XpertHR says finding high-quality talent will be the top challenge for HR leaders in 2019.
So what do you need to do to create the sort of workplace that will attract, reward, motivate, and inspire these people?
Here are four key trends to help you future-proof your workplace.
1. Prepare for AI in the workplace
This is clearly the 600-pound gorilla in the room. There’s a lot of talk now about AI in the workplace. The report “Australia’s Future Workforce” suggests 40% of jobs in Australia are likely to be automated in the next 10-15 years. So yes, it’s a significant concern for many people.
But as much as we hear about “robots coming for your jobs”, the reality is that the best workplaces will have people and machines working together.
Employer demand for AI in the workplace has more than doubled over the last three years, but (according to Dell research) the majority of leaders expect their employees and machines to work as “integrated teams” in the next few years.
So, work diligently at enabling more AI in your workplace – but in a way that it augments, not replaces, your best people.
2. Offer a more flexible work environment.
The days of in-office, 9-to-5, Monday to Friday, work are dead … or, at least, dying – and technology allows you to provide more flexibility.
The best people want more flexibility in how, when, and where they work. When a 2018 Robert Half survey asked Australian workers what they would be willing to accept a pay cut for, 47% wanted flexible working hours and 40% wanted to work from home sometimes.
This doesn’t mean you have to provide a free-for-all when it comes to flexibility. In many cases, some flexibility will be enough to accommodate a more diverse workforce – for example, people with families, partners moving for their careers, hiring global talent, using freelancers and contractors, and so on.
Speaking of diversity and inclusion …
3. Embrace diversity as a strategic advantage.
No longer do the most senior people have the best expertise, experience, and wisdom to lead your organisation into the future.
According to the recent DCA-Suncorp “Inclusion@Work Index 2018”, employees in diverse and inclusive teams are:
- 9 times more likely to innovate
- 10 times more likely to be highly effective
- 4 times more likely to stay
- 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job
A diverse workforce is not just a “feel good” initiative – it’s a competitive advantage for future-proofing your organisation.
4. Stand for something that matters.
Finally, offer more than a pay cheque and a clean office. The best people today want work that’s meaningful, not just menial; and in a place where they can say they feel proud to work.
In fact, research by Cone Communications says 64% of Generation Y employees won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong CSR (corporate social responsibility) values. And this is no longer just a sideline initiative, it needs to be front and centre in the organisation’s mission.
What are YOU doing to be a talent magnet?
Which of these four initiatives can you implement – or enhance – in your workplace to turn your organisation into a talent magnet? I’m not saying they are easy, but the most important things rarely are. But they are essential, because the best workplaces on Earth are doing these things. So, if you’re not doing them, you’ll fall behind.
Want to know more?
I recently conducted a webcast for my clients about the top talent trends for 2019. I covered the four trends above and shared some ideas for you to implement them in your organisation.
The recording is available here: