September 1, 2016
A new report from The Future Laboratory and UBS Wealth Management claims to identify the key factors that will drive workplace change in the near future. According to The Future of the Workforce report, the next two decades will see the way we work completely reshaped by forces such as artificial intelligence and an increasingly multigenerational workforce. The report claims that the entry of more Millennials into the workplace, their differing values to older workers, a growing propensity to turn freelance and the dissolution of the old bonds of loyalty could mean that employers struggle to create a strong culture. The report also claims that there will be a growing emphasis on the provision of wellness programmes, driven partly by growing demand from employees as well as a greater focus on improving productivity from employers. It also suggests that employers need to act to remove any biases they may have to appeal to the values of the new generation of workers.
The four key areas of change predicted in the report are:
The report claims that a growing number of workers will find their roles supplanted by AI. This will be a particular problem for semi-skilled workers and have less impact on the low and highly skilled because low skilled roles will not be worth automating whereas the highly skilled will find they are freed of certain tasks, allowing them to focus on key aspects of their role such as developing client relationships, creativity, personal development and research.
The end of a unified corporate culture
A survey cited in the report claims that around three-quarters of managers in companies think that the creation of an increasingly multigenerational workforce will become a significant issue. The report says this divide is most likely to be witnessed between Generation X, who will run companies in a similar way to their predecessors, and Millennial and Generation Z workers, who will attempt to run companies in new ways and based on different values.
Less loyalty to employers
Millennial workers will demonstrate less loyalty to employers and be more inclined to work as freelancers: this trend is already happening, with HR already occupied with the task of retaining younger workers for longer. Companies will have to adapt by offering new forms of incentives and rewards, focusing less on money and instead offering a workplace ‘experience’ that allows for the lifestyles of staff. They will also be expected to remove any conscious and unconscious biases they have on certain issues.
Employees will expect a strong wellness programme to come as standard in the same way as other benefits are currently expected. The report claims that productivity rises by an average of 13 percent in those businesses which have formal strategies to boost levels of wellbeing.