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The Future of Work Is Human

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The Future of Work Is Human

How to Make the Future of Work Human-Centered

The shape and nature of work is changing, forcing employers to re-examine the role of humans in the workforce. By 2030, it is predicted that as many as 30% of today’s jobs will be lost to automation.  

As businesses begin to evaluate the impact of this disruption, one thing is clear. Everything we have become familiar with relating to the workplace is undergoing a shift and talent management cannot continue to live within its own silo. Your employees must become the focal point – I would suggest the priority – for corporate strategies in 2020 if businesses are to effectively respond to such radical change.  

The future of work is human

This shift towards a renewed focus on talent management as a corporate initiative rather than the sole responsibility of HR requires employers to embrace several new perspectives, including:  

  • A humancentered approach in order to adapt to the myriad changes reshaping the workforce.  
  • The need to prepare now for the increased disruption in the types of jobs available.  
  • A re-examination of the more traditional views of the workplace that stifle engagement, particularly relating to learning and development.  
  • The provision of meaningful work that empowers people to feel they are contributing to a broader purpose. 

The human experience must be prioritized in the workplace, through the alignment of personal and corporate values and the provision of meaningful work. In my experience, these are essential to boost both employee engagement and reduce staff attrition as the qualified labor pool shrinks.   

2019’s Annual International Employee Survey from WorkHuman, entitled ‘The Future Of Work Is Human’ supports this view, emphasizing the need to prioritize humanity and emotional intelligence’ in the workplace. It also notes that, over and above perks such as free food or healthcare, today’s talent is seeking ‘meaningful work at organizations where they feel recognized and respected’.   

Moreover, employees who feel they are involved in ‘meaningful work’ are more likely to be engaged and four times more likely to ‘love their jobs’.  

From the employee experience to the human experience 

In recent years, the employee experience has become the focus for high performance organizations but that is changing. According to Bersin™, the emphasis in the employee experience remains on the work itself, rather than the individual. This concept, it is suggested, requires reframing to encompass the human experience, which focuses on the meaning of the work itself 

Education and retraining is critical to create an organization that can adapt to both new technologies and this fundamental shift. In order to implement a sustainable corporate initiative centered on the human experience, continuous development must be adapted to the individual employee rather than adopting a ‘one size fits all’ strategy.  

This is attainable by introducing a culture of continuous development through career pathing which can be implemented in three stages into your organization 

The first step involves the creation of a competency library incorporating a comprehensive database of the skills and behaviors that are required for success in each specific position. Career development opportunities for each individual employees should then be evaluated based on their stated aspirations. Finally, skills gaps can be identified and skills development aligned with your corporate goals. Upskilling and reskilling opportunities empower your talent to acquire these specific skills.  

Workhuman’s report concludes that the future is ‘bright’ for those employers who can empower their employees to drive their own development. This strategy must form the foundation of any successful corporate initiative focused on your people.   

Stepping into career pathing

As the focus on the human experience grows, placing your people at the heart of your corporate strategy creates a workplace where engaged employees can thrive, resulting in a high performance culture.  

By focusing on skills development, individual career aspirations and employee preferences, career pathing is the starting point for success.  

Related: The Missing Step to a High Performance Culture

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