Building a workforce for the future

Hema Bakhshi is a strategic advisor helping people, corporates and start-ups navigate the Future of Work. Hema gave a presentation at our event on 8th May: Assessment in the Age of the Algorithm. She focused on explaining how changes are currently impacting today’s business models and re-imagining how they best support the workforce of tomorrow. The following brief overview is followed by a 20-minute video of her presentation on 8th May.

With the pace of disruption increasing and everything around us happening at breakneck speeds, Hema explained that how we respond to change is key. As per Amara’s law, we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run, and so we need to adjust to that.

There are three macro trends disrupting the workplace: AI and automation are redefining the “human value proposition” and the skills we need and value within our organisations;  technology is promising fast agile working methods but simultaneously creating challenges around adopting new ways of working; and the changing expectations of a multigenerational workforce are making it hard to adapt to evolving needs. We therefore need to transform the way our people create value by rethinking how we connect, collaborate and innovate.

  1. Automation is redefining the skills of the future
  • Automation and machine learning are augmenting, eradicating and creating jobs, with job polarisation showing that both high skill and low skill jobs will be redefined.
  • Our ability to learn, unlearn and re-learn is more important than ever before.
    • To effectively assess for future skills, we need to think about what skills will be needed in our businesses as automation increases, ensure our existing approaches to assessment effectively measure emerging future skills, and leverage the very same advances in technology that help us make better decisions.
  1. The workforce is changing
  • Five generations in the workforce means changing attitudes to careers and how people want to enter and exit organisations, as well as some commonalities like a demand for more flexibility and autonomy.
  • The 100-Year life is creating new challenges. We are seeing the end of “lockstep” yet our organisations and society still tend to frame our lives in three stages: education, work, retirement.
  • To ensure our methods for assessment are truly inclusive, we need to make them accessible for an older generation, mirror our digital processes to frictionless experiences we have come to expect, and make sure fairness and inclusivity is at the heart of our interactions.
  1. Technology is changing how we can, and expect to work
  • As new platforms emerge that directly connect people with opportunity, the traditional approaches to attracting, acquiring and retaining talent will be challenged in an unprecedented way.
  • The workplace of the future will have multiple definitions and manifestations. Advances in technology and design architecture are radicalising the concept of the workspace. At the heart of which will be a locus for active, creative, productive work participation, not constrained by physical boundaries or outdated mindsets.
  • To confidently assess talent across a global talent pool, we need to manage the same business outcomes with an increase in contingent labour, identify and access talent from a global pool, and develop different skills for managing a fluid workforce.

We need to reimagine how we can generate value for our businesses, customers and employees to remain relevant and survive. The trick is not to blindly discard what has made you successful today and simply recreate the latest digital tactics, but to challenge the assumptions that have underpinned past success, and stress test the ways you create value for your customer, shareholders and people.

Creating meaningful, authentic human connection will underpin strong business outcomes. As leaders, organisations and even societally, we have a responsibility in the digital age to carefully curate the work of the future.

Watch the video: