The Future of Your Workforce

January 9th, 2013 | Articles, Hiring Resources, Workplace Resources | No Comments »

Conditions are quickly changing for the modern workforce but as an employer, are you prepared for what is to come? Find out with the following article.

Let’s face it: we can talk about hot topics like Gen Y in the workplace, the rise of mobile and cloud computing, the retirement of baby boomers, the increasing skills gap, employee retention and more until we’re blue in the face.

But ultimately, we need to look at all these topics in the context of the big picture, at the interaction between all these factors, and their combined impact on our workplaces in this increasingly complex world.

And if we don’t? We risk losing the applicability of each individual lesson, making us all the less adaptable at a time when speedy adaptability is key to our survival.

If we don’t want to be left vulnerable to being blindsided by an unfamiliar or unrecognizable future workforce, we need to consider the big picture and how it can help prepare us for what’s next.

We consulted with some experts for their thoughts on the way demographics, technology, and the economy interact to affect the future workforce.

Changing of the Guard

Demographically, it’s already a well-known fact that Baby Boomers are edging towards retirement while an entirely new generation is beginning to move in. It’s this new generation and how to accommodate them that are the hot topics right now.

As Joel Gross, CEO of Coalition Technologies, notices: with the ongoing entrance of this younger generation comes a “trend towards a much more laid back and casual work environment.”

This includes flexible hours and a more lax dress code. It’s also a generation that is always connected and more concerned with how their work life fits into their personal life than their salary or title.

Although the emphasis is on this younger generation, Erica Orange, Vice President of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., points out that due to “the aging of the population, coupled with the transformation of the global economy… the older generations are lost in the sea of turbulent job surfing, too.”

As a result, the typical retirement age is being pushed further than ever before. When this fact is considered in relation to the rapid advancement of technology, it becomes clear that there is also a greater need for more effective training programs. As Erica adds, these older generations “simply do not have the skills. But they are able to learn.”

Technologically speaking, never before have we seen something with such an exponential growth rate that has managed to single-handedly overhaul the entire way we do business.

The Expanding Cloud

In particular, despite the existing widespread presence of Cloud computing, it really only seemed to become common “household” knowledge in the past year or so.

Dan Blacharski, Editor-in-Chief of Techie.com, pronounced that Cloud computing “transcends mere technology and has become a business model.” In other words, he says, “the Cloud makes it possible to do business from anywhere.” Blacharski is focused on how the Cloud is prompting a proliferation of tech start-ups, but in the big picture, the Cloud paves the way for so much more.

In addition to the Cloud, another major game changer is the array of new ways in which we communicate. This transformation of engagement is what makes the younger, ever-connected generation inseparable from technology.

David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, explains that, “there is a generation rising up that has cut its teeth in the digital age… Companies will need to leverage the strengths their new hires have and also embrace new modes of communication.”

The Economic Impact on Our Offices

Economically, we see a lot of turbulence. Most of the nation and various industries are still in recovery-mode from the latest recession. And while industries like Information Technology and Engineering weren’t as heavily hit, it was enough to make employers analyze just where and how they were spending money.

With a generation that has grown up with the idea that technology is a basic axiom of life, combined with advances in Cloud technology and communication that make business possible from anywhere there is an Internet connection, the question of economic efficiency becomes an easy one to answer.

Joel Gross perfectly sums it up in saying; “I see the interaction of these trends [in demographics, technology, and economy] moving us towards a more mobile workforce.” He predicts that within the next decade, “we are bound to see more employees working from home.”

For employers, the expense of a physical office location plus factors like company-paid-for employee devices is drastically cut by the idea of a totally or partially mobile workforce, built of a generation that already comes equipped with the latest devices. For employees, the concept of a mobile workforce saves them the time and expense of commuting and satisfies the preferences of the younger generation’s laidback mindset.

David Ciccarelli concludes that, “the companies best equipped to navigate what’s coming up next will demonstrate responsiveness, be nimble and steward their resources wisely.” Each factor is currently presenting such unprecedented growth and change, that the emphasis on any single one rather than the interaction between them all will be detrimental to any company that wishes to stay ahead of the curve.

Ultimately, it’s essential that employers keep the big picture in mind when preparing their workforce for the future.

by Clare Saumell

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