2018 and beyond: The Future of Work

The Future of Work has started: We’re seeing it evolve almost overnight as organisations wake up to new ways of accessing talent, plugging gaping holds in their skills matrix and empowering their ecosystems to produce better, work smarter and add more value. Permanent is becoming flexible, traditional is becoming fluid – and coupled with digital disruption, the economy as we know it is waking up to a holistic approach to talent, value and business longevity. 

We asked top consultants what their predictions for 2018 and beyond are and what the Future of Work looks like.  Here is a selection of what they told us.  

Organisational Culture and the Talent Landscape

  • "More and more big corporations will have to work on the culture & mindset change within their organisations. Blue and white collar workers fear to be replaced by machines or computers. If an organisation doesn’t address this fear, it will harm their employer's motivation and productivity."
  • "We are seeing a more competitive landscape for top talent.  For example, project managers; in the past if you were Project Management certified, that was enough.  Today, you need to know a variety of methodologies and know which to deploy and when.  If you don’t know agile; then you are becoming extinct in the project management world.  There are many other careers on a similar trajectory, we have thousands of people that will need retraining on new and more effective methods to completing their work."
  • "A trend I see is that corporations start to value more and more senior workers (people aged 50 and more), as they are more loyal, have bigger experience and tend to be more equilibrated. Companies will employ these people either on a reduced time schedule (part-time, i.e. half a day) as well as on a project basis. It will become more and more important to have a pool of these people that can be put into new projects or called when needed." 
  • "I expect mid-size local companies to start taking on international management expertise. This has been very limited, especially in Hungary, but growth now brings the need to apply more of the modern management planning, control and process arrangement techniques. As an independent consultant, I remain hopeful about this change and I trust that the right option for such companies is to try interim management or consultancy. I also expect multinationals to come with a sustained demand for consultant services.”
  • "Leadership Development supersedes management optimisation. Anyone who’s still focused on optimising management rather than developing leaders at every level will find themselves scrambling for talent."
  • "Winning organisations become innovation factories – new value adds, processes, organisational forms and norms evolve in and across every silo. The teams with the best innovation and product development strategies and practices win big."
  • "Cultural transformations borne out of digital transformation and social collaboration touch all working and power relationships"
  • "Bad behaviour has a long tail… that bites. Giants of industry, culture, and government can deservedly fall from a single tweet on an obscure Twitter account if they are not playing by currently acceptable cultural norms. What we are seeing in the public realm today will show up in the smallest organisations."
  • "Power relationships are shifting under a microscope and bright lights – leaders must improve their empathy, curiosity, consent and respect quickly… or plan their exits."

A continued Mobile Workforce

  • "I expect that the proportion of mobile workforce (consultant, interim manager, trainer etc.) will still increase."
  • "Increase in the use of contingent workforces, and better organisational management of this across procurement, HR, IT and beyond AI to move from hype to reality - narrow AI capability becoming accessible enough to plug-in to other products"
  • "I see a further development of independent workers serving the specific needs of organisations in limited-time projects. I think that society as a whole will get more used to this type of structures, and that laws and regulations will also become more supporting."
  • "Although I pride myself as being a "realist" whose outlook is rooted in "optimist" moorings, quite honestly, I see the workforce angling toward increased prospects for those involved in independent consulting.  Yet, as I have always discerned, the critical factor remains a consultant's capacity to network, particularly within the context of living and working in a small, developing nation like Belize."
  • "2018 brings some serious economic disruption, you will see a lot more people moving out of companies and into freelance roles, voluntarily and not.  You may see some margin independent workers seeking the "stability" of a salary from a company. But, I see the drivers here as something different.  If we look at Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, we see that as people's lives unfold that they care less about stability and group inclusion and more about self-actualisation.  Working independently gives me the opportunity to design my work and my daily experience to maximise the development and leverage of just those gifts and skills I most enjoy using, while work inside large orgs adds a lot of social and administrative overhead that takes me away from more purely employing my skills and talents.  So, I do not see going back, ever."   


The HR function as a whole

  • "Functional HR becomes increasingly automated, especially in recruitment, enabling the HR function to focus more on retaining, developing and managing the best combination of Human and Automated resources. The shift from Human Resources to All Resources."
  • "Status quo in terms of hiring practices as firms will have a combination of full-time hires and a contingent workforce (freelances, contract-to-hire, part-time)"
  • "Firms will need to adapt different strategies in training their workforce as demand for specific skills outweigh supply"
  • HR is going to become a smaller function – there’s no doubt about it. Many of the traditionally transactional tasks will become automated or hived-off into shared-service models. But what is going to grow, is the demand within the HR function for new skill internally to solve problems for the business – and add real value. The need for a future SWP strategy will be based on a proactive HR function that becomes a true business partner as opposed to a support function only. SWP will mean organisations will need to become more involved in flexible workspaces, increased collaborations, a more collaborative business culture that lends itself to an agile, more fluid way of working”

The role of Technology underpinning work ethos and practice

  • "Digital transformation will play another key role for almost all companies, as the future generations will want to do everything via their mobile phone. The big change is going to be implementation of this same digital transformation towards the internal workforce."
  • In my view, we will experience a deeper penetration of AI in many aspects of our work and society. In fact, we are already experiencing this trend now. How wisely we can control AI to work in our favour is the puzzle many of us are currently facing." 
  • "There will be a shift to digital labour.  It will be the emerging trend of labour automation and reimagining the intangible knowledge, which historically ensured employees kept their jobs, this will have the biggest impact to the workforce.   There was a time when technology supported the labor, but we are seeing a shift to labour supporting the technology."
  • "The AI being recreated will be able to replicate a human being, for example a customer service support person.  This digital customer service person will have conversational intelligence, can access the company’s data, and provide some level of support faster than a human.  There are companies already leveraging this technology to support customers, we should expect this to continue."


If you're ready to kick 2018 off with a strong start and find the right talent you need, for your organisation, then speak to Talmix today - and let us help to get you ready to deliver, from day 1. 


About the Author

Katy Roberts

Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.

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