How To Survive A Changing Workplace

Technology is often seen as a driver of change in the workplace. But there are usually more factors at play when such upheaval is taking place.

A changing workplace

Technology plays a part in the changing fortunes of businesses, as artificial intelligence and robots replace employees in every industry. New business models are developed as companies struggle to compete in a very different economic climate. In parallel, there is a strong demand for people with digital age skills, as businesses suffer from staff shortages in all areas of activity. Employee expectations have an effect too, as workplace flexibility is sought as a way to enjoy a better work-life balance. Staff are also more interested in working for companies that are clear about what they want to achieve and why. And customers are driven by their beliefs when deciding where to spend their money not least because the next generation display a greater awareness of climate change and its effect on the future of the planet. But they also struggle with a niggling sense of insecurity, as they have to endlessly retrain and up-date their skills in an attempt to stay employed and employable.

In such a climate of change businesses must attract greater numbers of women, older workers and people from marginalised groups, as a way to minimise the effect of labour supply shortages. Remote working is also on the increase, which means companies have to reorganise how they hire and manage staff. Freelance workers and independent digital platforms are increasing too, as companies find it difficult to provide the range of skills customers need through internal resources alone. Working with partners is therefore becoming a key requirement as developing such relationships is vital in a fast changing landscape. Government too has to find new ways to collect revenues to support public services, as many traditional taxes like business rates are out dated in an internet-driven on-line world.

Finding solutions

Given the depth and scale of workplace disruption business leaders must think beyond traditional staff training programmes and develop a culture of continuous and targeted learning for each employee. Companies must ensure greater levels of engagement with staff too, not least to understand what they want and how to respond. Companies must also widen recruitment practices to avoid losing out in the competition for future talent. Working in close partnerships with other businesses to gain access to as wide a skills pool as possible plays a part too, as collaboration becomes a key ingredient of success. Ultimately, the workforce of the future will be a hybrid model of permanent staff supplemented by significant numbers of contract staff with highly specialist and mobile skills.

So, success in a workplace that never stops shifting is possible but only when technology is recognised as just one of the factors driving change.