Sci-fi is now - how prepared are we?

With the rapid changes upon us (if we think we've experienced fast and scary, just wait for the next 2 years), with technology advancements such as AI and AR already playing a significant part in our lives, how many are still having the same conversation with their leaders about automating processes instead of how to disrupt and create new ways of working?  

I don't believe we're having enough conversations about how to equip our businesses for the immediate never mind the future - it seems we're all too scared to broach the subject because it's all so unknown - but if we don't, then the future will already be here and we won't be able to respond quickly to our workforce demands.  

The portfolio career has already been forced upon some people given the change they have had to adapt to post-recession - instead of having a permanent job, they now have to find a variety of short term gigs - some of course choose this lifestyle, but it's becoming something we should open ourselves up to embrace rather than fear.  If we only need someone for 2 weeks to solve a problem for us, then get someone in for that and move on.  Of course what this means to HR professionals is that we need to think differently about our whole approach to the employee lifecycle including, how to onboard and integrate faster, we need to offer a strong EVP, particularly components of the psychological contract that we may not have quite mastered yet; and of course, how to understand the value these people bring to the business in order to remunerate them accordingly.

I'm keen to hear how other people have been thinking about these issues as I'm not hearing much about it at a strategic or practical level in our community - I hear from WEF, CEB and others that these things are upon us, but nothing in response as to how we move these things along - let me know what you think!

  • Its an interesting idea if the next two years will see revolutionary technological change or if (as may be more likely) we will continue to see more evolutionary change to working lives. I have been around long enough to see that over the broad sweep things have changed but that actually change is far less linear than people tend to predict and actually many daily working lives haven't changed anywhere near as much as "Futurologists" often predict. But only time will tell I guess.

    I am not scared to broach the subject but neither is it wise to set hares running. Maybe we will see the dawn of the digital always on era, but for many roles (say retail, many office jobs, health, some manufacturing etc) will this change things as much as anticipated?

    I also think mixing the terms portfolio career (tends to be via choice at end of a normal career ) and the gig career (tends to be earlier and as you suggest for some less a question of choice - although not for all) is an interesting one. And actually most of the evidence shows that despite all the hype they apply to only a relatively small proportion of people.

    We have been getting temps or interims in for years so I am not sure if that's revolutionary either?

    I would be interested to understand what your prescription is, what practically you think HR really needs to do (rather than EVP - what?)
  • Hi Clare,

    I do not think that HR is particularly well prepared for either the impact of digitization on the way HR works or on the key strategic role it should have of preparing and guiding their organizations through the massive change that is already happening.  In terms of moving things along check out the resources and practical guides on the Centre for Digital Transformation  on The Conference Board website - https://www.conference-board.org/centers/centerdetails.cfm?centerid=16