Tempo Blog
September 9, 2019 by Sophie Brockbank

Weekly News Roundup

Agile Working and its Impact on HR, HRNEWS

Trends point to the gig economy radically disrupting the workplace.

According to Morgan Stanley, freelance growth has outpaced overall employment growth in a handful of European nations, and the number of freelancers in the continent doubled between 2000-2014. The report further speculates that, within the next ten years, 50% of the American workforce could be made up of gig workers. These figures may either scare or embolden CEOs, depending on their understanding of the statistics and their willingness to adapt to them. Wherever they sit on this spectrum, what matters most is their ability to capitalise on this change by embracing agile working.

This emerging approach, which empowers employees to achieve business outcomes without defining strict processes for how it occurs, is already being used by organisations future-proofing themselves against shifting demographics. It enables them to enjoy the benefits of a flexible, borderless workforce, while encouraging immersion in the data and technology required to embrace this change.

What is Agile Working?

Agile working differs from flexible working, although they do share some of the same characteristics. While both enable employees to take advantage of remote work and the freedom to choose working hours, agile working is a broader approach built around achieving an organisation’s goals as a priority.

It is perhaps most eloquently described by Paul Allsop: “Agile working is about bringing people, processes, connectivity and technology, time and place together to find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task. It is working within guidelines (of the task) but without boundaries (of how you achieve it).”

Many forward-thinking organisations have incorporated agile working into their own operations: look to examples such as Unilever, which views agile working as a fundamental tenet of the company’s culture, opting to eradicate traditional hierarchies and strict roles in favour of an objective-oriented work pattern where employees are expected to be more entrepreneurial in their approaches. Agile working is born out of the needs of an organisation, but employees benefit from the skills and problem-solving methodologies acquired from the unrestricted work culture, where they’re free to tackle objectives as they see fit. For businesses, this opens up new revenue generation models as they learn to leverage the talents of a more flexible and distributed workforce.

What this Means for Talent Practices

Undoubtedly, we’ll witness the appearance of platforms that connect workers from around the globe, streamlining the process of connecting those with the skills to those that require them. Rather than watering down the role of employees, a tech-aided future will further value their skills, as this is the keystone of agile working. Talent practices will be tasked with developing and managing a borderless workforce that cooperates to achieve business goals. While this may result in the dissolution of the roles we’ve come to know, it will subsume titles and focus instead on relevant experience and skills in particular areas.

Given the incredibly short shelf life of tech skills, reskilling staff on an ongoing basis will be a vital task for talent practices – with a distributed workforce, it will naturally be necessary to do so not only through online mediums, but by cultivating an autodidactic mentality in staff.

Rewards and Agile Working

With traditional specialist job descriptions giving way to packages of skills that meet a demand within a specific team, the traditional reward hierarchy, based on promotion up a career ladder, will be lost. Reward will need to be negotiated on an individual basis, tailored specifically to the worker in question. Talent will need to be managed via digital rewards systems, which will ideally converge upon a standard adopted industry-wide – lest the entire system collapse into a chaotic field of one-off deals.

For the agile worker to be truly empowered, they need to have data at their fingertips. That’s because data enables them to make decisions, and it is decision-making that singles the agile worker out from the crowd. An abundance of information and a clear understanding of organisational objectives are all that’s needed for workers to weigh up challenges and to experiment with strategies to achieve said objectives. In order to do this in as holistic a way as possible, they need access to their total rewards breakdown, so they can customise their financial rewards and their employment benefits to best suit their agile working processes.

To make this possible, talent practices will have to embrace an agile working transformation of their own, using data and technology to test hypotheses about how they can make the most of the growing gig economy.

The Future of Work Is Here, What Is Your HR Organization Working On? Forbes

The emerging contours of the new world of work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution are rapidly becoming reality for millions of workers and companies around the globe. The inherent opportunities for economic prosperity, societal progress and individual flourishing in this new world of work are enormous. To realize them depends crucially on all concerned stakeholders’ ability to instigate reform in skill development systems, labor market policies, employment arrangements and existing social contracts. Catalyzing positive outcomes and a future of good work for all will require bold leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as an agile mindset of lifelong learning from employees.

Trends to pay attention to...

As technological and social forces are transforming how work gets done, who does it, and even what work looks like, Human Resources departments are tasked to rethink their purpose, design principles and delivery methods.

In an effort to understand how organizations can rethink their approaches in the face of the evolution of work and in partnership with World Economic Forum, we tapped into the wisdom of crowds by asking leading thinkers to identify what they think are the most important driving forces shaping the work-related realities of tomorrow.

Our analysis indicates that the future of work requires investment in a number of developing trends:

Accelerating technology and robotics adoption By 2022, it is reported that 85% of organizations are likely or very likely to have expanded their adoption of user and entity big data analytics. Similarly, large proportions of companies are likely or very likely to have expanded their adoption of technologies such as the internet of things and app- and web-enabled markets, and to make extensive use of cloud computing. Conversely, robot adoption rates diverge significantly across sectors, with 37% to 23% of companies planning this investment, depending on industry. Along with business, HR departments should be thinking about how to offload manual and static work through digitalization.

Changing geography of production, distribution and value chains By 2022, 59% of employers expect that they will have significantly modified how they produce and distribute by changing the composition of their value chain and nearly half expect to have modified their geographical base of operations. When determining job location decisions, companies overwhelmingly prioritize the availability of skilled local talent as their foremost consideration, with 74% of respondents providing this factor as their key consideration. Along with business, HR departments should be engaged in workforce planning and rethinking their traditional talent sourcing and acquisition strategies.

Changing employment types Nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022, based on the job profiles of their employee base today. However, 38% of businesses surveyed expect to extend their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles, and more than a quarter expect automation to lead to the creation of new roles in their enterprise. Along with business, HR departments should be investigating their current role and operations structures to fit future needs.

Growing skills instability Given the wave of new technologies, trends disrupting business models and the changing division of labor between workers and machines transforming current job profiles, the vast majority of employers surveyed for this report expect that, by 2022, the skills required to perform most jobs will have shifted significantly. Global average skills stability—the proportion of core skills required to perform a job that will remain the same—is expected to be about 58%, meaning an average shift of 42% in required workforce skills over the 2018–2022 period. Along with business, HR departments should be initiating and investing in collaborative partnerships in primary and continued education.

Shifting human-machine task frontier Companies expect a significant shift in the frontier between humans and machines when it comes to existing work tasks between 2018 and 2022. In 2018, an average of 71% of total task hours across the 12 industries covered in the report are performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines. Along with business, HR departments should be visioning how to best design an integrated human-machine experience. Further, they should be invested in thinking through their current work experience offering in transition.

Emerging in-demand roles Among the range of established roles that are set to experience increasing demand in the period up to 2022 are roles that are significantly based on and enhanced by the use of technology such as Data Analysts and Scientists, Software and Applications Developers, and Ecommerce and Social Media Specialists. Also expected to grow are roles that leverage distinctively ‘human’ skills, such as Customer Service Workers, Sales and Marketing Professionals, Training and Development, People and Culture, and Organizational Development Specialists as well as Innovation Managers. As the focus of in-demand future roles shift to core human skills, along with business, HR departments should be considering how to grow capacity and introduce new attributes.

How is Human Resources preparing for and leading discussions?

To prevent an undesirable, lose-lose scenario— technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality—it is critical that businesses take an active role in supporting the work and workplace experience. Businesses can invest in the global workforces through reskilling and upskilling, take a proactive approach to lifelong learning and enable environments that support holistic human experience.

Human Resources can certainly lead the way in this transformation; however, it must ‘upscale’ its own capabilities first.

To do this, it is imperative HR Leaders engage in a dialogue around these four specific questions:

Who is HR? Considering the historic evolution of our function, who are we today and who we need to be tomorrow in support of our businesses?

What is leadership? Considering the historic ownership of leadership philosophy, are we ready to re-introduce the original terms of leadership and pave the way by living its honest value(s)?

What is culture and who owns it? Considering the current gaps in our traditional business models, how do we better understand what constitutes culture and take ownership back?

How do we empower our employees? Considering the power of language and practice over our workforce, how do we re-imagine our employee empowerment practices both outside in and inside-out?

Workplace transformations are no longer an aspect of the distant future. By the virtue of our mission and in collaborations with a number of accredited institutions, we invite 21st century leaders to engage in a regenerative process and 21st century organizations to take advantage of a rapidly closing window to create a new future of good work for all.

Here’s how top companies develop their people using HR tech, Human Resources Executive

Top companies like Kaiser Permanente use HR technology to ensure its workers are constantly developing new skills.

Employee development programs are no longer a “perk,” they’re an expectation. According to Deloitte, the No.1 reason people quit their jobs is because of an “inability to learn and grow,” according to its “2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends” report. Employees feel valued and are more productive when they feel their employers invest in their professional development.

At the upcoming HR Tech Conference and Expo, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how some of the world’s top companies are using the latest HR technologies to ensure their are employees engaged and learning at all levels, including sessions like:

Nurturing High Performance: How Technology Enhances the Vulcan Experience

Seattle-based Vulcan Inc. is the umbrella company for a host of signature Paul Allen-owned entities including Vulcan Real Estate, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Seattle Seahawks, the Portland Trailblazers, Vulcan Productions and Stratolaunch, to name a few. With a mission to discover and develop smart, data-driven solutions and create inspiring experiences that help tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges, the company has a saying that describes the one-of-a-kind environment that Vulcan teammates are part of at work every day: #OnlyAtVulcan. Join Tim Mulligan as he outlines how the Vulcan team implements performance management software to bolster the employee experience and drive increased performance. You’ll leave with new ideas, best practices and lessons learned from a CHRO who was an early adopter of TalentSpace and has now implemented it at two very different and unique organizations.

Using Technology to Unlock the Power of Human Connections at Work

HR software has traditionally focused on governance and bureaucratic tasks. And while this is important, most of these tools have done little to foster the sense of authentic connection and belonging that employees crave. Today’s employees are in the driver’s seat. They want to work for organizations where they feel valued and respected, and where they have a voice and a strong sense of purpose, meaning and community. As such, it’s the responsibility of every organization to build a workplace that inspires employees and enables everyone to reach their full potential. See how embracing technology will help your organization create a more human-centric and engaged workplace that builds more trusting relationships among colleagues and allows employees to thrive. You’ll learn how successful organizations are using technology to meaningfully connect employees at work to improve collaboration, innovation and performance.


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