The Covid-19 pandemic alongside increasing automation is causing a “double-disruption scenario” for workers – that’s according to The World Economic Forum, in their 2020 “Future of Jobs Report” released at the end of last year. The report explores how jobs, and demands for different skills, are rapidly changing. It should serve as a wake-up call to leaders in every industry.
After years of growing income inequality, concerns about technology-driven displacement of jobs, and rising societal discord globally, the combined health and economic shocks of 2020 have put economies into freefall, disrupted labour markets and fully revealed the inadequacies of our social contracts.
Klaus Schwab Founder and Executive Chairman, WEF
Saadia Zahidi Member of the Managing Board, WEF
The WEF’s research finds that resulting from the profound disruptions of 2020, there is an acceleration of the changing skills that employers require. They reveal that 84% of employers are looking to accelerate the digitalization of work processes, such as the use of video conferencing and other digital tools. While this is a good start, our research at Globant has shown that limited tactical actions, such as investing in additional licenses for your video conferencing, is insufficient to replace what we have lost in our in-person interactions. In the long-term, this will impact everything from productivity to employee well-being – we found that 49% of US workers believed their productivity had decreased since they started working from home. What we need therefore, is to rethink the future of work, and build the tools and processes to let people thrive in this new environment.
Rethinking the future of work
In light of such profound transformation, we commissioned Forrester Research to conduct a study to explore what the future of work means, and how organizations can adapt. In addition to the survey we went out and spoke with leaders to get further color into what organizations need to do to avoid being left behind in a time of such upheaval.
The degree of profound change was one of the clearest and starkest findings of our research. 91% of the decision-makers we surveyed stated they had undergone significant or extreme change in 2020, attributing this “mostly to the impact of the pandemic on the broader economy and their companies’ revenues, as well as employee health concerns”.
While the WEF argues that the “future of work has already arrived for a large majority of the online white-collar workforce”, our research shows that organizations are actually still lacking the “cultural, technological, and operational agility to fully respond to rapid change”.
Despite all the talk about digital transformation over the past several years, we found that organizations still lack the people skills, the processes, and the technology to be where they need to be. Indeed, just as 2020 shone a light on political mismanagement in many countries in their responses to the pandemic, so it has been the floodlight in which business leaders could finally, and unequivocally, see that their incomplete digital transformation efforts are hindering their ability to adapt to new circumstances.
The importance of cultural fitness
In our research we found that 83% of leaders are concerned about keeping their company culture alive with the move to remote working. 76% want to use AI and automation to improve employee experiences, but are unsure which technologies to invest in. To achieve success in the future, forward-thinking leaders are already prioritizing their “cultural fitness” – which blends both employee and customer obsession, using everything from continuous learning, agile organizational structures, to leaders being measured on customer experience metrics.
To find out more about the research and how companies are adapting to the future of work, download your copy of the report “Thriving In The Future Of Work Requires An Adaptive Workforce”
You can also watch our webinar on the future of work together with Forrester on-demand.