Workplace culture is no longer a boardroom and break-room culture. With the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital and societal transformations it brings, our talent pool is transforming in new ways, too — ways that impact how we communicate, connect, and relate to one another.
A big question in my mind and within the organizations I work with is: how will new talent trends influence organizational culture?
Trends to Watch as Influencers for Culture Change
Artificial intelligence. It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) advances continue to surge, with rumours of new job displacements growing by the month. Many people raise the topic with fear and trepidation, hoping they can make it to retirement before their careers get wiped out of existence by machines. Take heart: AI is not replacing the need for human workers. Rather, it is changing the way we work. And just as humans have adapted to new technology for decades, so we will learn how to put our unique logic, strategic thinking, and empathy to work alongside machines.
The gig economy. Temporary positions are becoming more commonplace as organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. According to a study by Intuit, 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors by 2020. This transition radically affects an organization’s strategy for employee hiring and retention, workforce planning, and talent development. Embracing this movement saves employers resources in benefits and office space; culturally, it improves employee well-being with greater flexibility and work/life balance.
Re-skilling employees. With machine learning and contractual work on the rise, employers are realizing a need to retrain workers for skills required by new terms of work and new jobs. Re-skilling is defined as gaining new skills for success in a different career. For example, an agency outsources its survey development to a contractor and automates survey deployment with the aid of digital tools and artificial intelligence. The person formerly responsible for these tasks now takes on a program management role. This new position requires rapid re-skilling — perhaps via a two-week boot camp that blends formal learning with on-the-job shadowing and performance support.
Social media and crowd sourcing. Peeking at employers through a “Glassdoor” has been around for years, but today’s unemployment numbers show that it’s an employee’s job market. The economy is strong, and opportunities abound. Social media and crowd sourcing tools have helped give job seekers the upper hand — the culture, values, and norms of your organization can be exposed before a new candidate walks in the door. Take a hard look at your organization; it may need a culture facelift to entice new employees and retain current talent.