Tomorrow’s Workforce: The Impact of Digital Consumerization

Tomorrow's workforce

The rise of consumer technologies, such as tablets and smartphones, has not only changed the way people communicate and engage with their world, but how we interact with our workplace. Thanks to the digital revolution and resulting employee expectations, both the workforce landscape and HR are undergoing major shifts and anticipating new ones.

A Technology Driven Workforce Technology constantly changes the way we interact with the world, and consequentially, how we work in it. During the first industrial revolution, workers moved from the fields to the cities, spurring numerous societal shifts. Today, the consumerization of the workplace will have an equally impactful influence on the way we work based on the following trends:

  • The future workforce is diverse and dispersed. The internet and other technologies have allowed workers to be connected with their companies from anywhere in the world. Outsourcing and offshoring have created a global and dispersed workforce for many companies.  As a result, contingent workers will likely be employed in greater numbers to increase a company’s agility and flexibility.
  • The future workforce will demand a career lattice. While career paths of the past focused on linear, upward movement, future employees will make career choices that resemble a lattice –with employees working on and off for certain periods of time, and alternating their work life with other priorities. Employees will increasingly wish to design their own jobs in partnership with management. The accessibility enabled by technology leads many to expect shorter (three or four day) work weeks, with people spending the other days volunteering, taking on a second job or getting an education. Job satisfaction and overall experience will become more important than moving up the corporate ladder, and work will have to allow time for other obligations.
  • The future workforce be digitally divided. With all the technology and educational materials readily available on the internet, it’s easy to overlook the consequences of being unable to keep up with the speed of change. Career success will be less dependent on a fixed set of skills and a stable career path, and more on combining several advanced skills in a unique way while using the internet to collaborate globally.

The New HR The approach to human resources will need to change significantly to address the evolving needs of employers and employees.

  • Automated, mobile and social. HR must adopt a straightforward, practical and uncompromising digital strategy. This pertains not only to mobile applications, devices and social media, but also to the way technology is embedded into HR’s functions. HR landscapes will consist of (public or private) cloud-based HRIS platforms with added functionality, such as training courses, social media and location based services, delivered through SaaS,  apps and a seamlessly integrated ecosystem of service partners.
  • Global and local. With more companies having workforces that spread across countries, HR processes will need to be standardized globally while still allowing for local exceptions where necessary. Shared service centers will evolve into a hub and spoke model, allowing for the regional consolidation of administrative and transactional services, which will drive down costs and enforce standards.
  • Strategically-data driven. As companies advance their HR systems to integrated models, they will have access to richer employee data that can help them make more strategic workforce planning decisions. This will be vital in a time when employees demand customized career paths and job experiences.  A sound infrastructure to manage employee data will be key for companies looking to capitalize on the digital revolution.

When change occurs opportunities for advancement and growth arise; by leveraging strategic HR technologies, companies can prepare their workforce and HR departments for success in the digital revolution.

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