Tomorrow Starts Today
Three Ds - Demography, Diversity, Digitization - are powering changes in businesses and the nature of work on a scale our economy has not seen in the last forty years. This is exposing companies to new opportunities, risks, and forces for change, driven by the new digital opportunities in production, management, communication, innovation, and marketing processes.
Most business leaders have understood that their companies need genuine change in how they are structured and what their people can contribute in order to stay successful. Manufacturing and industrial operations are now more innovative than they have been for a long time, the disruptive product and marketing concepts of startups are being emulated by their established peers, and often neglected functions like IT, HR, and communications have found an ideal new role as the agents of these transformations.
Jobs of the Future
Digitalization has given certain competences and job groups a particular new appeal for businesses, powering the great demand for digital knowhow in the labor market. Other jobs might be left behind by the digital transformations. Automation is making many jobs obsolete, and many others are becoming easily substitutable. HR needs to make rigid workforce concepts more pliant and flexible in order to keep them ready to change in today’s fast-evolving economy. Collaboration, shared knowhow, passion, and a genuine bias for action are the elements that need to be promoted.
HR’s crucial tools and instruments need to be zeroed in on high potentials, talented personnel, critical roles, and other job groups aware of their worth. A new emphasis needs to be placed on such issues as staff retention, climate and culture, talent development, and qualification.
The Point of Company Cars
The much-coveted high potentials and new talents have understood their market value, and their expectations and demands are turning the labor market into a “buyer’s market”: They expect more flexibility in terms of the time and place of their work, job sharing or part-time options even in executive roles, and modern offices and workplaces that promote collaborative work and the health and wellbeing of the worker.
This new generation of employees also expect sense and meaning in their work and in their employer’s business itself. It is up to managers to embody and communicate this sense – which means agreeing on and understanding a business mission and a certain notion of leadership. In digitalized companies, teams often cooperate virtually on projects or innovations. This new type of work is done via networks, which calls for completely new leadership competences and for managers to become role-models for the use of digital technologies.
Digital Elites Think Differently
There is no question that digital transformation concerns strategies and technologies. However, it also concerns culture, attitudes, and behavior. The internet giants and small startups alike have started a paradigm change in how companies manage and lead their people. Digital elites expect a new type of work and leadership. What can this mean for their leaders? Digital transformation has already affected large swathes of our economy and supply chains, and it will continue to take hold even in traditional businesses. People feel less loyalty to their employers. The next opportunity is always just around the corner, and job hopping has become a real change for HR.
Diverse Teams = Better Teams
More diversity is not just a stated goal of most companies; it is a mirror of our more diverse and globalized world. Diverse teams, current studies again show, are more innovative and work more effectively. Achieving true diversity is a challenge for both HR management and line management. This means promoting diversity, working with the legal requirements in the area, and shaping this part of the future world of work.
Evolving Organizations – Economy 4.0
Tomorrow’s companies and nature of work will be much more flexible, radical in terms of innovation change, faster, international, and tech-savvy. These changes also mean: uncertainty, opportunities as well as risks, closed markets being forced open by radical new players, and less customer loyalty. Companies need to understand and accept these positive and negative developments. One effect is clear: The nature of organizations as we know them today will disappear. Speed, cooperation, creativity, and customer focus need more agility, in the sense of different work environments and forms of working rather than perfected organizational models. With more flexible and pliant organizations, companies will be able to roll with the punches and make the new world of work come true in their organizations.