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The Future Of The Work: Digital, Free Agents and the ‘Talentsumer’

How can employers adapt to the radical changes happening in the workforce.

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How can employers adapt to the radical changes happening in the workforce.

Opinions

The Future Of The Work: Digital, Free Agents and the ‘Talentsumer’

How can employers adapt to the radical changes happening in the workforce.

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‘A job for life’ is a concept that is unlikely to ever be revived. As old expectations died out, workers between jobs began to look for other ways to make ends meet.

Day labour and temporary gigs gave people a taste of a new career model – and as long as staffing agencies provided these jobs, a worker could move between short-term engagements forever. This resulted in the worker’s network of prospective employers growing.

The beginning of the internet and it’s wider advertising net meant that people with expertise could stand out on their own. After that, the mortgage and banking crises meant the financial benefits of slashing traditional hiring costs could not be denied.

If organisations needed talent, they dipped into the contractor pool and found the water was just fine.

Short-term workers used to help meet seasonal or changing consumer demands. They were used for finite projects with clear boundaries, which meant it was easy for employers to slice up short-term work and serve it to temporary hires.

As it became more palatable to both parties, companies began to look more closely at their workflows to see which portions might be outsourced.

It’s not what you call these workers that will matter tomorrow – it’s who you select and how you source them which are becoming the big questions. How you handle these variables will have the biggest competitive impact in the future.

New technology holds all sorts of promises for consumers but could be even more significant for employers in the long run. Some workers will be supplanted by machines, whereas others will generate new work opportunities.

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, automation has made many workers’ lives easier even as it prompted others to find new career paths. However fear of change has obscured the potential gains of mechanisation.

The automation of jobs has been underway for a long time, and the world of work has still survived. Employers could be the ones to convince the workforce that computers and robots are more beneficial than detrimental.

It’s so important for businesses reaching a critical knowledge mass on this subject to act as quickly as possible. The integration of digital workers into the larger employee framework will affect all businesses – those that use them, and those that don’t.

Procurement and HR professionals will find themselves managing smaller human teams and larger digital ones. Forward-thinking organisations are not shying away from using AI and RPA strategically to do superior work which machines are suited for, in a cost-effective and efficient way.

There will always be a need in business for good people – but the use of AI and digital employees is an aspect of the shifting balance that needs to be not only accepted but also used for its maximum advantage.

A generational shift in the workforce and changing conditions have meant that workers today have different values, desires, and expectations than their predecessors – I call these Talentsumers.

Workers today grew up in a consumer-friendly atmosphere, and they have grown to expect and insist on the same level of responsiveness to their workplace needs.

In a recent survey, areas of importance to job candidates were revealed, based on successful employee value propositions (EVPs) used by HR departments.

Four areas were of the greatest concern by respondents looking to find work: Offering more developmental opportunities, providing ongoing feedback and coaching from managers, encouraging collaboration among employees and recognising and rewarding high performance.

Talentsumers want to be able to appeal to a variety of employers in more than one niche. They seek companies that will provide ongoing training, education, and support for the work they are doing, and seek real opportunities to push themselves and develop new interests and skills.

Given the future of sixty-plus years in the workplace these younger generations face, I don’t blame them!

The appeal to Talentsumer mentality is mostly to do with cultural improvement, as is the endeavor of optimising our workforces and work processes.

We need to look at revolutionising all of this now so that we don’t get left behind in the steady march of technology and the changing demographics and values. A break with the past is here, whether we like it or not – and getting to a state of organisational readiness can help the segmented talent and work landscape that lies just outside our windows.

Bruce Morton, Workforce Design and Talent Acquisition Expert and author of Redesigning the Way Work Works, available on Amazon.

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The Future Of The Work: Digital, Free Agents and the ‘Talentsumer’

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