Your Evolving Workforce: 5 Changes You Need to Understand
The past 50 years of technological and social change have truly left their mark on the office. Shifting workforce demographics, computing advances, and the growth of the knowledge-based economy are changing the face and pace of business, and the workplace as we’ve known it.
This new, quicker rate of change will continue as workforces and workplaces of the future emerge, affecting the way companies approach hiring, development, work design, and management. The workforce of the future is diverse, technologically dependent, and increasingly virtual. Here are some of the areas where the most dramatic and significant changes are taking place right now:
1. Generational Shift in the Workplace
As the Baby Boomer generation moves into retirement, more and more Millennials are entering the workforce to take over their positions. Many companies are bringing in younger employees early, to eliminate potential gaps in staffing and facilitate smoother transitions.
These generations approach work, reward and communication differently, and their collaboration can result in disputes and culture clashes. Businesses of all sizes and in all industries must be prepared to handle the challenges that come with a multigenerational workforce.
2. Increasing Cultural Diversity
Companies in every industry employ workers from a variety of races, cultures, ethnicities, and skillsets. While diversity is a popular buzzword, it’s also a reality. Thanks to globalization, the American workforce of the future will continue to diversify. Companies must be prepared to nurture environments where all individuals are valued, and all viewpoints are welcome when in decision-making and daily operations.
3. New Technology Taking Over
Computing and mobile technologies have become essential to more industries than ever before, rapidly creeping into every aspect of work. Jobs that never relied on these tools before are now completely dependent on them for daily operations. The workforce of the future will have to be comfortable training in and advancing their computing technology skills, in order to meet the demands of jobs at all levels.
In the medical field, for example, charting and record keeping used to be a manual task. Staff kept written records, which would be turned into computerized data by offsite workers trained in medical technology. In the modern healthcarefacility; however, nurses, support staff, and physicians must now be able to work with and analyze computerized charting and data systems, which requires them to develop completely new skill sets. Employers must be prepared to train and support employees as their jobs become more dependent upon technology.
4. The Rise of Telecommuting and Virtual Workers
It is miraculously no longer critical for all employees to be located under the same roof, at the same time. Web conferencing, instant messaging, and cloud computing allow managers to stay connected to virtual employees and create a cohesive team, even when workers are geographically dispersed.
A virtual workplace option can help employees achieve work-life balance. It also allows employers access to a wider pool of applicants to draw from when filling positions. Rather than relying on the skills of the local workforce, companies can leverage top talent across the country, and in some cases, around the world.
5. Doing More With Less
In a post-recession economy, businesses are still reeling from lost revenues and increased regulation. Nowhere is this more visible than the healthcare field. Rules and regulations are constantly changing, and healthcare organizations must be prepared to adapt quickly in this environment. They must also be prepared to handle more patients without adding new staff, and to make cost-effective decisions about the technology that they will adopt in order to streamline their processes.
As we move towards the workforce of the future, it will be critical for companies to develop a forward-thinking approach to staffing, training and development of their current workers. By championing a mindset of diversity and adaptive learning, organizations can remain agile and effective well into the future.