In May, Toronto hosted the global tech world at Collision Conference, where players – from enterprise software companies to SaaS start-ups – discussed game-changing innovations that are disrupting every aspect of our lives. The future of everything from how we play to how we work is changing, and it’s changing fast.
Collision’s Future of Work panel, moderated by Sara Ashley O’Brien of CNN business, was an opportunity to discuss this future, and what organisations must do to start preparing for it. Much of the conversation between panelists – myself, along with Sarah Nahm, co-founder and CEO of Lever; Allan Grant, co-founder of Hired.com and Talkable.com; and Rogers Communications CIO John Hill, focused on the criticality of putting people at the center of the employee experience.
Consider this – according to McKinsey’s Global Institute Report, between 400 million and 800 million employees globally could be displaced by automation by 2030, and of those displaced, up to 375 million people will need to retrain and learn new skills.
Disruption, however, creates opportunity. To future-proof organisations, leaders need to think about people as their most strategic asset and understand how they are impacted by forces that are driving change, then leverage the right technology to create meaningful opportunities for them. For employers of all sizes, here are five global trends that will impact how you attract and retain talent.
There is no question that disruptive technologies, such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are upending traditional models.
While it’s reported that millions of jobs in the U.S. will be lost to AI and machine learning in the coming years, new and different jobs will emerge that will work with these technologies.
This provides an opportunity for smart organisations to get their people working on the business, not in the business.
Organisations that embrace new technology that allows their employees to focus on more strategic work will see a much more engaged workforce. This means less time in the weeds and more time contributing to the long-term growth of the business.
As automation replaces routine, manual tasks, too many organisations are struggling to adapt and upskill their workforce. The shift towards knowledge-based roles requires a new way of attracting, developing, and applying employees that will drive the business forward.
Retraining and upskilling people was a key theme of our discussion at Collision. It’s vital leaders see their workforce as an opportunity to cultivate the skillsets needed today and tomorrow. This means creating a culture of learning, with continuous opportunities for employees to grow into new, more rewarding roles with greater scope and responsibility.
Supported by technology, HR can be a strategic partner to the business to deliver more effective, personalized learning and development programs, growing top talent to ultimately drive customer value.
There are five generations in the workforce today, each with their own needs and motivations. Many organisations are struggling to build an employee experience that not only meets these needs, but also provides an inclusive and diverse environment in which their people can engage and thrive.
Forward-looking organisations are supporting their talent strategies with technology to design an employee experience that is more agile and flexible. This allows them to, for example, embrace the same-day onboarding and payment expectations of gig workers, or support different work structures for employees at different life stages. In short, these companies provide an experience designed around the needs of the modern workforce.
As Sarah Nahm from Lever said in our panel discussion, we have moved from a world where talent pools are geographically finite to one where we’re competing for talent globally.
Top talent is scarce, and this is not surprising – organisations are facing a labour market with record low unemployment, which is compounded by a shortage of critical skills. With a mismatch between the skills available and those needed, traditional recruiting methods will not yield strong and desired outcomes for organisations or prospective employees.
To address this, leading organisations are differentiating with culture, and are looking to their HR leaders to weave culture strategically throughout the employee experience. Purpose and meaning, professional growth and development, and transparency are elements that are paramount to attracting and retaining the right talent. According to Ceridian’s latest Pulse of Talent report, 51% of employees feel their contributions leave an impact on their company’s business goals – and of these employees, 92% are satisfied with their job.
The regulatory environment is becoming increasingly complex and expensive. Governments, at all levels, are often introducing new, or modifying existing, legislation to modernize the North American labour market. The changes, while well-intended and often beneficial, pose compliance challenges to organisations as they must track, manage, and report against these ever-changing requirements. Add to this that as companies expand globally, they face additional layers of regulation and obligation from a compliance perspective.
Future-focused leaders are prioritizing leveraging technology to help monitor and manage current laws and policies, to reduce the potential for costly mistakes and make better use of time and resources.
A prevailing message for leaders coming out of the Collision Conference is that there is power in being a people-centric organisation. Fostering a culture of innovation and leveraging technology that enables and elevates people drives employee engagement and the business forward.