Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace


Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
The hardest thing about the future of work is defining
the concept. The chief reason has to do with change.
It’s constant. New technologies are coming online at
an increasing pace and those are changing the way
people complete their jobs.
If the data is to be believed, what HR knows about
work is quickly disappearing.
Korn Ferry predicts by 2030 a global human talent
shortage of more than 85 million people will exist.

“The fact is we can guess all we want, but we can’t
ever truly know what the future holds,” excites Granite
Group chief people officer Tracie Sponenberg.
Despite all the difficulty in defining the future of
work and some of the concerns that come with it,
Sponenberg said there is some excitement to be
had. Other HR professionals agree.
“What excites me most are the new technologies
that are going to support employees in making
leaps in speed, agility, efficiency, productivity and
overall performance,” Andrew Saidy said. He’s
the vice president of talent digitization, employer
branding and university relations for Schneider
Electric. As the digital transformation of HR
continues, we’ve certainly seen advancements in
those specific areas. Employees are using more
tools that are either digital in part or completely so.
Both help employees increase efficiency which leads
to an increase in productivity and performance.
Technology has also allowed companies to be agile
in their approach to work.
GE Healthcare head of global digital learning
Christopher Lind agrees with Saidy saying
technology helps organizations break all the rules
when it comes to connecting, collaborating and
experiencing work. Even so, he acknowledges there
is still some fear around technology.
“Instead of being afraid of machines taking our jobs,
I believe we should be excited that machines can
do the rudimentary things we waste so much time
doing, so we can focus on the higher order things
that really drive us,” Lind said.
“The fact is we can guess all we want, but we can’t ever truly know what
the future holds.”
Chief People Officer, Granite Group
“Instead of being afraid of machines taking our jobs, I believe we should be
excited that machines can do the rudimentary things we waste so much
time doing, so we can focus on the higher order things that really drive us,”
Head of Global Digital Learning, GE Healthcare
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Learning and Development
Despite Lind’s statement, there is still some concern
around the potential loss of jobs to technology
solutions — specifically around artificial intelligence
and automation.
It might surprise you to know that’s not an
uncommon feeling to have.
There have been concerns about technology taking
away jobs since the First Industrial Revolution in
the early 1900s. Here we are 100 or more years
later entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution and
we’re experiencing similar concerns. While that’s
an understood feeling, HR needs to help move the
workforce away from this type of concern and focus
more on skilling accordingly… what is, sometimes,
referred to as future-proofing skills. That’s really the
name of the game.
During this particular revolution, new industries
and roles will be created. Forrester predicts robots,
AI, machine learning and automation will create 9
percent of new jobs by 2025.5
Some of the new jobs
expected to be created include:
Robot monitoring professionals
Data scientists
Automation specialists
Content curators
Naturally, some will go away. By 2025, Forrester also
predicts those same technologies will replace 16
percent of US jobs. Most of the impact will be felt on
office and administrative support staff roles as well
as roles where workers have a low amount of formal
education – the so-called “at-risk jobs”.
Learning new skills and building on existing
competencies will be crucial to companies wanting
to remain competitive in the current climate. The
challenge there lies in trying to figure out which skills
your employee will need.
PwC predicts up to 38 percent
of US jobs could be at high
risk of automation by the
early 2030s.4 In Germany, the
prediction is at 35 percent,
30 percent in the UK and 21
percent in Japan.
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Learning and Development
The data provided gives HR some indication
on where to begin. With more robot, artificial
intelligence, automation, and other related jobs
expected in the future, employees should start
building their knowledge and skill base now. While it
seems daunting, there is some good news. A World
Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group
report says “95 percent of at-risk U.S. workers could
be successfully retrained for jobs that pay the same
as or more than their current positions and offer
better growth prospects.”6
So how does HR move forward?
Taking employees off-line for weeks to train is pretty
much a “no go” at this point in the game. Learning
and training almost have to be conducted “on the
job” in reality. This isn’t just a need. Many employees
actually prefer learning on the job. Keeping up
workflow and productivity is important to the
continued success of the business.
Different companies are using different methods to
accommodate this need.
Walmart, for instance, has automated tasks at
their stores such as customer checkout. That
means associates have more time to train on a
multitude of concepts including customer service.
The department store giant is using virtual reality
to simulate different issues their associates will
experience during their employment. For instance,
VR is being used to simulate Black Friday rushes.
AT&T is taking a different approach. The company
has instituted a program called “Future Ready”.
Essentially, the $1 billion, web-based initiative
includes online courses through a myriad of vendors
and universities. This allows employees to figure
out what skills they need and train for the jobs the
company needs right now and will need in the future.
Their online portal, called Career Intelligence, allows
workers to see available jobs, the skills each requires,
the suggested salary and whether or not the area is
expected to grow or shrink in the future. It is career
pathing at its best and allows employees to figure
out how to get from where they are now to where
they want to be and the company needs them to be
in the future.
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Talent Acquisition
Of course upskilling and reskilling is not just about
making sure the workforce has the skills they need to
do their respective jobs. It’s also about retention. The
investment in learning provides real opportunities
to keep highly skilled workers in their jobs. A solid
learning and development strategy also makes for a
superior talent acquisition tool.
But the talent acquisition space, just like learning
and development space, is going to have to change
as well. Why?
The United States is currently maintaining a low
unemployment rate. For all intents and purposes,
the country is in full employment. It is the same for
much the world. That means finding new talent
is difficult. Not only that, but there is twice the
number of Baby Boomers retiring compared to the
number of Millennials and Generation Z workers
entering the workforce.
How does HR reshape talent acquisition to account
for this reality and, at the same time be successful,
efficient and maximized?
Sebastien Girard is the senior vice president of
workforce engagement for Atrium health. He has
four steps HR practitioners should consider.
First, Girard says HR should revamp the internal
talent acquisition consultant (TAC) persona.
“The perfect recruiter doesn’t necessarily come
from HR. Best TAC from around the country are
proactive with a “hunter attitude” (versus farmer),
results-oriented with a data-driven mindset,
capable of offering best experience, strong
continuous improvement approach, and superior
teamwork and multitask skills,” Girard said.
Next, he says to revamp talent acquisition metrics.
For instance, time and speed are more important
than days to fill.
“Measuring ratios like time to respond to an
applicant, number of resume routed per interviews
or offers, time between routed to interview (or
interview to offer) or first 90 days turnover is more
representative of the overall quality of the TAC work
and what was experienced by the applicant.”
Thirdly, Girard says HR should be able to identify and
understand every critical touchpoint applicants have
with the organization before the first day of work.
From there, as many of those points as possible
should be enhanced.
Finally, embrace technology as much as possible.
“Simple career sites, one button applications, text
recruiting, video recruiting, video job posting, AI
applicant mining are only examples of technologies
that would increase not only the applicant
experience but save some precious productive hours
of your TAC giving back to them productive time,”
Girard said.
SVP – Workforce Engagement
Atrium Health
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Talent Acquisition
In addition to talent acquisition, there are other
areas that need some transformation. That includes
human resources itself.
“It’s absolutely critical to put in the time to learn
new things, especially when it comes to HR
Technology. Don’t let fear of the unknown, or a
lack of understanding about technology scare you
away,” Tracie Sponenberg said. And the statistics
are certainly on her side.
According to a report by Harris Interactive and
Eightfold.ai, those companies adopting HR are
19 percent more effective in reducing the time HR
spends on administrative tasks.
While we’ve seen continued changes to the
profession as a result of technology, we’ve also
seen a real need for HR practitioners to focus on
employees at the same time. HR automation/robotic
process automation (RPA) provides the ability for the
focus to be shared and making sure goals are met.
Some of those administrative tasks include benefits
management, form processing and even employee
questions related to policies and procedures. Chat
bots are helpful in this particular instance.
Additionally, automation with the help of provided
data can reduce pain points and drive change
across the business. For instance, in a manual
process, there is some level of human error that can
happen. While errors in automation do occur, it is at
a much lower rate.
Automation can be used to automate forms
and workflows that avoid printing, signing and
scanning. It can also automate the dissemination
of those documents to ensure they are delivered
to the appropriate people. And, it can also help in
pulling data, filling out systems and databases and
elevating manual data entry.
“If HR takes the time to automate the routine dayto-day tasks and ‘paperwork,’ we can be free to
really dig into strategy and people development
– coaching, training and developing our team
members to be prepared for the future of work –
whatever that may mean to our individual industries
and companies,” Sponenberg said.
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Remote Work
In addition to being prepared for the future of work
as Sponenberg said, HR must keep an eye on where
work is going to be happening. It’s not happening
just in office buildings anymore. It’s happening in
homes and coffee shops as more and more workers
embrace flexible scheduling and remote work.
Remote work has quickly become a reality for many
different industries. In fact, there’s been a 173 percent
8 in people working remotely since 2005.
Additionally, 75 percent of workers say they’re more
productive at home. Some of the reasons given
include fewer distractions and less commuting.
This presents a fair amount of challenge. A big one
centers on engagement. Remote workers aren’t that
much different from brick-and-mortar employees
and the concerns are similar. Remote workers, just
like those sitting in the office, are at risk for leaving
the organization within the first year and even
leaving to pursue other opportunities to advance.
That means they need just as much attention when
it comes to engagement. In some instances, more
attention is necessary.
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Remote Work
So what can HR, leaders and managers do to curve
this issue?
First – think about setting expectations.
The whole point of remote work is not having to
go into the office. As such flexible work scheduling
is typically a piece of the overall remote working
strategy. To be more to the point – workers probably
aren’t working a 9-to-5 shift if they’re off-site.
That being said, managers can set particular
expectations such as times the employee is
expected to be “on the clock.” Some people refer
to these as “busy hours” or “office hours.” It’s during
this time remote workers should be expected to be
prompt in their responses to emails and phone calls
as well as be available to collaborate with the team.
Secondly, these workers must be included and that
requires attention-to-detail and technology. If a
team is meeting at the office to discuss strategy
or anything for that matter, remote workers should
be allowed to participate. They should actually be
expected to do so. With tools such as Zoom and
Skype available, there’s no reason they should not
be included in the conversation.
Finally, think about rewards. There’s a misconception
that remote workers don’t work nearly as much as
those people sitting in an office. That is very far from
the truth. In most instances, remote workers work
longer hours than those in the office; about 46 hours
a week. That being said, it’s important to reward
these workers. If they are hitting their goals, that
needs to be recognized.
That naturally ties into productivity. There is some
real concern remote workers in addition to allegedly
working less aren’t nearly productive as their inoffice counterparts. Again, that’s a misconception.
Look to CTrip, China’s largest travel agency.
A professor from Stanford studies whether or
not remote work was “beneficial or harmful for
productivity.” It took two years to complete the study
and what the professor found is a profound increase
in productivity for a group of remote workers over
their in-office counterparts. It wasn’t all “sunshine
and rainbows”9
, however. Those remote workers
did report an increase in feeling lonely and many
reported they didn’t want to work from home all the
time. In the end, the recommendation was to create
a hybrid of sorts; one that balanced working from
home and in the office.
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Words of Advice
There is no stopping the future of work. In fact, as this report has explained it’s already here. While it is a concern for every HR professional working today and those who
are about to enter the practice, there are words of encouragement to be shared.
“Be patient with yourself and those HR people around you. Be willing to go slow, to go fast. Be
ready to pivot fast, recognize that failure is a good thing, and keep the ship pointed in the right
direction. Do the essential things flawlessly before you attempt to play in the strategic area”
VP of HR & Organization Development, University Federal Credit Union
“Don’t just read about the future of work (though that is a good start!), and participate in it. Join
a virtual summit. Attend conferences. Talk with others. Be an active part of the future of work.”
Chief People Officer, The Granite Group
“Employees and the Employee Experience should always be your number one priority! Just
like customer-centric organizations (Amazon, Apple, etc.) win big, employee-centric future of
work initiatives win big.”
Talent Digitization, Employer Branding and University Relations, Schneider Electric
As always, getting ahead of the game is a challenge, but it pays off in dividends. Your employees are more engaged, your customers/clients benefit and your business
excels into the future successfully.
Future of Work: Preparing HR for the Next Evolution of the Workplace
Sponsor Spotlight
The past few months have rocked the
world of every living person on the
planet. The crisis we are living in now has
made us question and revisit everything
we thought to be true, from the way the
economy works, to how businesses thrive,
to the way in which employees are both
supported and empowered by their
place of employment.
As we look toward a recovering
economy, we know the way we work
will have a “new normal” with some
elements changing for the good, and
others still up in the air. One of the
elements that has seen notable change
over the past few months is pay, which
could very well be the core of the
relationship between an employer and
an employee.
Think about it — the act of pay
establishes a critical relationship
between the employee and employer.
It creates a sense of trust and
validation, a powerful agreement
between two parties to provide value
in return for value. Over the years, the
act of pay has remained a powerful
bond between an employer and an
employee, but it has also become
somewhat stale, cold and even

Source :https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/hr-tech/reports/future-of-work-preparing-hr-for-the-next-evolution-of-the-workplace?ty-ur

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