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Is This The End Of Work?

'Jobs for life' could soon be a thing of the past, but what will take their place?

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'Jobs for life' could soon be a thing of the past, but what will take their place?

Opinions

Is This The End Of Work?

'Jobs for life' could soon be a thing of the past, but what will take their place?

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Gone are the days when ‘doing your job’ meant ‘having a job’. The convergence of technological advancements and generational shifts is transforming the way we perceive work from both an employer and employee perspective.

Automation and digitisation are drastically reshaping how we organise, operate and compete with other businesses. It’s not only about the technologies, but about the new ways of solving problems, creating new experiences and accelerating businesses performance that these innovations bring with them.

Generational differences are also posing an additional layer of challenges as we try and figure out how to manage people of all kinds - not just those who think and act like we do. We’re realising that the better we are at flexing our managing style, the more effectively our employees will carry out their assignments.

Making sense of this constant change, and defining how a business can capitalise on the opportunities it presents is becoming enormously challenging.

So, how do we go about it? Is this the end of work as we know it?

Today’s definition of ‘Doing your job’  

Doing your job today means much more than just executing those knowledge-based tasks that once made us different from other people. Whilst demand for high cognitive skills is still very prominent, they aren’t the only skills required on the job now.

Whether we’re engineers, doctors or marketeers, our employers are seeking for new patterns of thinking - people with the ability to look at things from different perspective, who can question the processes, who aren’t afraid of speaking up and going the extra mile.

UK skills

Businesses need people who think creatively and go the extra mile

We’re also seeking for talent who can actively promote the positive workplace culture of the organisation. If an employee is toxic, we’re much less likely to take them on, regardless of his/her technical abilities. Something which in the past would have worked out quite differently.

‘Doing a job’ today means being passionate about it, believing in the product, the business model, the leaders, as much as it is about the technical skills. As a result, interviews are turning into much more of a two-way process.

If an employer isn’t able to sense that passion and drive in a candidate they will unlikely be fit for ‘doing their job’ in that organisation, equally if an employee doesn’t feel that passion and drive, they are likely to want to leave the organisation very soon.

Automation and digitisation

As technologies progress and businesses look to improve their efficiency through these, the boundaries between departments and job categories (technical, professional and managerial) become looser.

It makes sense - technologies allow us to create more clearly defined targets per month/year/quarter by department and as a company whole. As a result, whoever finds the best way to unlock them - whether senior or junior - will have the rest of the team following.

There is a much greater emphasis on knowledge sharing and cooperation, than on hierarchies, which are cumbersome and cannot respond quickly to fast-paced environments. As long as what’s suggested works, as evidenced by the numbers, even the most senior leaders will find themselves following.

In other words, by capitalising on the opportunities that new technologies are bringing to us, we can now afford to give employees more freedom. They don’t need to comply so much to rules as they do to target goals. If they find a smarter way of achieving them than their superior counterparts then their team will likely follow.

Generational differences

There are countless stories out there that focus on the importance of generational differences in the workplace based on values, work ethics and knowledge technology. Addressing these can provide a useful perspective for strategic management, they say.

But whilst recognising  and addressing these is critical for driving teams to success, we need to stop focusing on them solely. Instead creating a sense of ‘emotional safety’ - that often works for all generations equally - can work out as a much less complex and more powerful component for managerial success.

risk

What's the future of job certainty?

I’ll explain - as an organisation’s ability to innovate, implement new technologies and design new strategies becomes more and more critical to businesses, jobs turn more risk-averse, uncertain and prone to failure.

It’s therefore crucial that employers give their employees that sense of safety that is conductive to interpersonal risk taking and consequently enables their creativity and innovation to flourish.

Generations might differ today more than ever before. But there’s only so much point in trying to suit everyone’s needs on an isolated basis to keep them all happy and involved. Instead, focus on what impacts them all equally - their need for ‘psychological safety’.

As the Head of Industry at Google once said, ‘There’s no team without trust’. So, is it the end of work as we know it? It might be.

The world of employment has clearly undergone radical changes. From an early age we have been conditioned to see work not simply as a source of material support but also as a source of control and security.

It’s realistic to say that this is no longer the case. But one could also argue that as a result, there are a wide range of exciting new opportunities available at our fingertips. Opportunities that were once unthinkable.

For example, we don’t have to worry about a ‘job for life’ anymore, but rather focus on the range of roles we’d like to have throughout our lifetime - a career of lifelong learning.

Doesn’t that sound exciting to you?

Saurav Chopra, Co-founder and CEO of Perkbox.

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Is This The End Of Work?

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