Time to get serious about the future of work

February 6, 2019 Erika Bannerman

Capita People Solutions Executive Officer, Erika Bannerman shares her thoughts on the future of work and the central role people will play as we transition towards a hybrid, digitalised workforce.

I don’t know about you but one month into 2019 and it really does seem like this will be the year when things start to change. Nearly everything I’m reading, and nearly all of the conversations I’m having, point to the fact that we’re standing on the edge of some monumental changes in the way we live, work and engage with the world around us.

Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, states that the coming years will be ‘characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.’

Our industry has been making predictions around the future world of work for a long time now, about how technology, combined with new working behaviours and more agile corporate structures, will completely alter the way that work is resourced within business and re-define the relationship between employer and employee. The volume may have been turned up over the past 12 months, but the story hasn’t really moved on. 

To date, too much of what has been documented around the future of work has either been purely future-gazing, imagining a world where robots and humans work side-by-side, often at odds with one another, or it has honed in on very specific areas of the overall picture, such as changing skills requirements or the impact of emerging technologies. Of course, both of these areas are important, but it doesn’t help organisations to see the big picture. It’s either too broad brush or too niche, and most importantly, it fails to grasp the full complexity of the seismic changes that are already happening within UK workforces and businesses in general. Indeed, it’s important to recognise that a lot of what is still being touted as ‘futuristic’ is actually already unfolding in UK workplaces. People are working alongside robots, processes are being automated, and the shape and skills of UK workforces is already shifting.

This year we’re setting out to present our clients and the wider market with the most comprehensive study of current and future workforce dynamics in the UK and to provide business and HR leaders with deep insight into how these dynamics are and will impact the employee lifecycle. We’ll be revealing the attitudes, concerns and aspirations of business leaders, employees and HR professionals when it comes to changes within the workforce and where organisations need to look for greater alignment between employee expectations and business needs.

Our campaign, which will be launched next month, will help organisations in the UK to fully understand the steps they need to take in order to prepare and build a workforce that can compete and thrive in the future economy, a workforce that is built around people, but supported, enabled and empowered by technology, digital and data.

We will introduce three strategic levers that business leaders should prioritise as they move along the journey towards a hybrid workforce, in which humans work in a fully digitised and technologically-optimised environment. Through our connected brands within Capita People Solutions, we will also examine the impact that the shift to a hybrid workforce will have on each stage of the employee lifecycle.

From a recruitment perspective, we will explore how talent acquisition needs to evolve in order to identify and attract the talent and skills organisations require in the future. We will also focus on how digitalisation can enable organisations to deliver a better candidate experience and leverage the vast amounts of data to improve talent identification and decision making. 

Focusing on the importance of learning and development in a hybrid workforce, we will uncover the steps that L&D professionals are taking to ensure employees have the skills and competencies they need to thrive in the new world of work and presenting an action plan to create greater levels of engagement and a culture of learning within the organisation.

Finally, our employee engagement business will examine the role and strategic importance of benefits and rewards in a hybrid workforce, how benefits need to evolve in order to remain relative and drive differentiation, and how benefits professionals can overcome current challenges to better engage employees and candidates to maximise investment in benefits.

At Capita People Solutions, we have the unique advantage of being able to look at this changing world of work from every angle. Our experience and expertise spans business strategy and leadership, technology and the entire employee lifecycle. By taking a holistic view of this vastly complex challenge (and opportunity) for businesses today, we will enable clients to create a clear vision of the type of workforce that will allow them to thrive in the future and to develop a clear strategy to achieve it, ensuring every part of the organisation and employees themselves are invested in that journey.

I can’t wait to talk more about all of this when we release our full research findings.

Erika Bannerman,
Executive Officer,
Capita People Solutions.

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