How can you prepare for the workers of the future?

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Chris Milligan, CEO of Adepto
Chris Milligan, CEO of Adepto

Chris Milligan, CEO of Adepto, discusses the worker of tomorrow and how business leaders can prepare.

The workforce is undergoing a massive transformation. Automation is impacting people and work, as is the rise of non-permanent workers (gig workers, freelancers, and contractors etc). Increased competition, globalisation, market volatility and trade tensions are pressuring organisations to respond quickly. And skills shortages are leading businesses to consider alternate forms of hiring talent.

New ways of work

Businesses are under pressure to be increasingly agile, shifting from jobs to more projects and sprint-based workloads. Employees have become more flexible, the workforce more fluid and adaptable. Indeed, employees will cease to be employees at all – at least in the traditional sense.

We’re already seeing a shift in how people like to work – going from permanent to freelancer or semi-retirement – remaining with their company as a consultant or alumni mentor. Deloitte has recognised its alumni as a valuable source of talent, dubbing its leavers “colleagues for life”. It has 300,000 alumni signed up to its network globally.

The added advantage is that organisations now have the option available to build infrastructures that enable all types of workers to be engaged and part of one organisation – irrelevant of different time-zones, geographies or their worker status.

From jobs to projects

Our perspective of work has shifted. Organisational agility is enabling organisations to gain a competitive edge in the market. Instead of using the traditional ‘job title’ – jobs are now broken-up into tasks and projects. With workers chosen for their skills and not their job title.

Employees are being hired for these, not to fulfil a specific role – working within squads or teams, rather than departments. We’re seeing this shift with workers upskilling and re-skilling in areas they wouldn’t have previously got exposure to. Enabling a smoother transition towards automation and adapted roles.

Utilising the entire Total Talent pool

Managers now have a wealth of options to complete a task. They could recruit a full-timer, assign it to a freelancer, find a contractor, attract alumni back or even turn to automation and robotics. Access to this new ‘Total Talent’ pool is giving organisations an advantage in their industry and recruitment market. They now have the opportunity to leverage all the skills and experience available across their organisation, regardless of worker status, ensuring the best people are on the right jobs.

Make worker skills more visible

The best workers cannot be hired, placed on projects or assigned to tasks if managers don’t have access or knowledge of their skills, current work status or availability for a role.

A new wave of technology is unearthing previously hidden skills data such as where they have worked, who with and what they want to do career-wise. Having access to this knowledge is enabling organisations to build happier, healthier, more utilised and productive workers who enjoy their work.

Breaking away from tradition

Traditional systems are built for one kind of worker: the permanent employee. They’re not built to enable leaders to be able to track, engage, manage and utilise their entire talent pool. 91% of organisations already utilise a mix of internal and external talent. With systems not fit for purpose, organisations are looking for new and better solutions.

NASA and PwC are two leading companies that are using aspects of a Total Talent approach. As Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC predicts: “We’re likely to see a rise in people transitioning in and out of work throughout their careers and those organisations who responsibly support their people to do this will ultimately gain a competitive advantage.”

Leverage value from existing systems

We are already seeing a new rise of systems that allow organisations to integrate all of their core talent systems. We’re moving away from siloing employee data based on a worker’s employment status. As workers move, so does their data. A new wave of competitive solutions on the market provide organisations with full skills visibility and access to their entire Total Talent pool.

Benefits for everyone

Shifting your organisation’s mindset around engaging and empowering every worker to manage their career, to find projects that align with their interests and to build skills for the future, regardless of their employment status, will set you apart in the market.

Organisations that are setting up for the ‘now’ rather than looking into the distant future will become the employers of choice. Providing workers with a broader range of internal opportunities available to them filters into employee retention. External workers will feel more plugged into the company and will be readily available for work. Hiring managers will also have a much easier job when resourcing projects – resulting in an increase in the quality of work.

However, it isn’t just about the worker. Moving from HR being a cost centre into being a key strategic function and revenue provider is one of the most significant moves your organisation can make in order to future-proof. Make sure you get ahead.

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