The world of work is constantly changing from advanced technology in the workplace to the expansion of the workforce to include all types of flexible talent. The COVID-19 crisis accelerated existing trends and caused organisations to reevaluate many aspects of work. What changes could be in store for the workplace, the workforce, and the nature of work?
Oncore’s new podcast ‘Flexing Up – the future of work’ draws on the latest perspectives on all of these changes and the need for businesses to be more strategic about leveraging their on-demand workforce. The first episode, co-hosted by Oncore CEO Damian Bridge and founder of Restra, Craig Watson, features Adam Walker. Adam is a leading commentator on the world of work, current VP of Avature and former Director of Talent Advisory (Future of Work) at Deloitte.
The inaugural episode discussed the movement toward Me Incorporated – a concept whereby the focus is on the individual and what they want to achieve. Amplified by the pandemic and the shift towards remote working, Adam suggests that “work won’t go back to what it was.”
Hyper-personalisation in the future of work
“You can’t restrict employees to these convenient little boxes, doing 40 hours a week as an organisation,” says Adam. It’s outdated and archaic.
Instead, think about how we need to make workplaces fit each individual and their needs.
Damian called it “mass customisation” – everyone has different reasons and motivations for working. For some it will be flexibility to take the kids to school, for others it will be getting paid in crypto, and still, for others, it could be about working for different companies at the same time.
Talent teams are learning from other professional disciplines like marketing the importance of personalisation for retention and loyalty. Being able to hyper-personalise the whole experience of work so it benefits both the company and the individual.
The war for skills – Is it time to share?
It’s no secret we are experiencing a skills shortage. So Craig, Adam and Damian discuss the question – Is it time to share?
The trio discussed the possibility of working out ways for businesses, even competitors to utilise the same person and their skill set. “Of course, you’ll need to decide where and how IP is treated,” said Craig. He mentioned he knew of two businesses doing just that. They both needed a certain level of skill but couldn’t afford an FTE in the role so they split the person’s week between both companies.
The panel discussed in depth the implication for businesses missing out on upskilling of talent due to not letting them work for themselves or other companies and the great benefit of having a resource that is continually upskilling themselves through different means.
Damian added that this is what workers, especially contractors actually want. Contractors want flexibility and the ability to expand their skills and work in different places. They’re looking at the role as an opportunity to upskill and as a company, you benefit from those varied experiences.
But what about career progression? The concept of moving up an organisation where those skills inevitably expand through full-time employment at a major brand. Damian believes these days, “Career progression doesn’t have to be at a large multinational company. Work is available on your phone, and going out on your own is easier than ever.” Damian insists that “climbing the corporate ladder is now available through your mobile phone.”
The implementation of a psychological contract
The trio also discussed a key concept; the continued development of a psychological contract. Adam believes that psychological contracts ought to carry more weight than just the formal, engagement contracts modelled on the industrial revolution 100 years ago.
What is a psychological contract? It’s the unwritten set of expectations between the employee and the employer based on a mutual understanding of ambitions, goals, and obligations. It’s important to be building and fostering affinity and trust with your workforce. You continue to focus on the wellbeing and the headspace of an individual day to day knowing that this leads to better performance in the long run because they are actually enjoying what they are doing.
Adam said. “Don’t call it work; work should be considered doing a shared activity together and doing meaningful things.” The new push for flexibility coincides with the fact that millions of people are realising and reevaluating what is ‘meaningful’ to them.
As we see inflation rise and a possible recession in the US, how will organisations and workers alike react over the coming months?
Stay tuned to the Flexing Up podcast – our content series aims to touch on ideas about contingent and on-demand workforce strategies and how we can enable and manage the rapidly changing nature of work.