“If you do not think about and plan for the future of work, then our organization has no future” - Jacob Morgan
What Jacob Morgan the author of Future of Work said is so true and relevant to organizations across the globe. Leaders should consider it as a wake-up call and realize how critical it is to understand future trends and adapt accordingly. Let us now look at what kind of changes we should expect in the future of work.
Digital dexterity: While most organizations now are on a mission to digitize, an equally important mission is to increase employees’ digital dexterity. It basically means increasing the capability of employees. How deeply can the capability be improved? How quickly can it be increased? Can the current workforce sufficiently improve their capability or should there be new hires? These questions need to be answered by the leadership team in order to focus, prioritize, and align the strategic mission of the organization.
Leadership transformation: In future, the leadership capability required will be very different from today. The digital economy, multi-generational workforce, globalized workplace and more, will require a different approach to leadership than what we have now. This would mean assessing the current leadership landscape, developing new leadership skill-sets, and building capability across the organization.
Employee experience: Try imagining your employees as your customers rather than resources or assets. That will be the key mindset in the future and this means we have to enhance the experience of employees at work. Having an engaging and positive experience at work will have an impact on organizational results. The challenge is to have employees experience the change. Like Jack Ma said, “Staff first, customers second and shareholders third”.
Structure and systems: While leaders tend to make changes on the softer side of the organization, it is equally important to make changes to the organization’s harder side. The two aspects where organizations need to pay immediate attention are structure and system. It is to diagnose whether the existing structure can support change and deliver business agendas and to see what parts need to be upgraded to support emerging needs.
Gig economy: We are presently in the gig economy and the fact is, it is becoming an order of the future. We have several gig economy platforms where opportunities are created and provided. Freelancing is also increasing so people can maintain a work-life balance, focus on what they are passionate about and improve their mental health. This means organizations will have to leverage the gig economy by hiring freelancers, hiring returnees, creating flexible jobs, etc.
Mindsets: All the above mentioned factors are important, but the foundational requirement for an organization to become successful in the future is to have a learners mindset. If an organization has a mindset that is out of touch with reality then it can be a difficult roadblock to creating change within the organization. Leaders have to create a culture that is flexible and transformative, this will help organizations to have an agile mindset that is ready to adapt.
If any organization wants to lead in the future, then they have to first evolve in order to meet the needs of the future of work. Keeping the factors mentioned above in mind leaders need to properly identify their specific needs and apply appropriate change management strategies.