How technology can help you prepare for the future of work

The innovations that will help your business get ready for its next chapter

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By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

After two years of non-stop disruptions and challenges, it’s easy to understand why leaders are turning their attention toward the future. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for agile operating models, and businesses are now looking to adjust their frameworks and operating models accordingly.

Although most executives know that the future of work is a topic that deserves their attention, the challenge is understanding what that future will bring, and how companies can change their patterns to meet new paradigms. Mindset shifts and new frameworks are crucial, but leaders can’t overlook the inseparable role digital tools will play in bringing these new perspectives to life.

Fortunately, cutting-edge technology can help businesses unlock the level of agility that the new world of work requires. But it’s up to leaders to identify these game-changing innovations and figure out how to use them to their advantage.

What does ‘future of work’ really mean?​

Although the term has recently gained popularity, “future of work” is far more than a buzzword. The phrase is used to describe any projection of how work, workers, and the workplace will evolve in the years to come.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated just how quickly things can change, underscoring the need for agile operating models. Now, every business is striving to embrace more dynamic ways of working so they can respond to whatever disruptions our next chapter brings.

Redefining work and reimagining the employee-employer relationship are at the heart of conversations about the future of work. Employees are calling for change and making it clear that they won’t settle for employers that stick with the status quo. Consequently, every element of the professional world is up for discussion, from the role of the office to the way work is structured.

The advantages of becoming a future-fit organization​

At this point, no business can afford to put preparing for the future of work on the back burner. We’ve seen how quickly things can change, and the only way to keep up with this accelerated pace of disruption is by transforming the way we work now.

How future-fit organizations meet these challenges head-on:

Enhanced efficiency
At many organizations, emerging knowledge gaps threaten to slow productivity to a halt. It’s predicted that 30-40% of all workers in developed countries will need to upgrade their skills by 2030. Many organizations already recognize the dangers that widening skills gaps pose and are taking action accordingly. Most notably, Amazon recently pledged $700 million to retrain 100,000 employees for higher-skilled jobs.

Better revenue performance
Limited talent pools and hyper-competitive hiring landscapes will create talent shortages that could cost businesses as much as 8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. Organizations that prepare for the future by developing their talent from within won’t run into the same shortages that their competitors will face.

5 ways technology can help HR prepare for the future of work​

The right technology can help businesses set themselves apart in the new world of work. Here are some steps to prioritize:

#1. Identify skills gaps before they emerge
Most executives have their sights set on skills, with HR leaders identifying building critical competencies as their top priority for 2022. However, many are mistakenly looking at skills as an inventory problem, rather than understanding that skills needs will continue to evolve as business priorities and employee ambitions change.

This is where a robust talent marketplace comes into play. Technologies that can capture both the demand of rapidly-changing priorities and evolving talent pools bring better clarity of workforce capabilities, equipping business leaders with the insights needed to stay competitive. The platforms provide full visibility into workforce skills, enabling leaders to identify potential knowledge gaps before they emerge so they can adapt upskilling and reskilling initiatives accordingly.

#2. Embrace workforce pixelation
Since it’s clear that agility is the ultimate differentiator in the new world of work, many organizations are embracing workforce pixelation as a way to get ahead. Breaking down jobs into projects and gigs allows talent to flow freely across the organization, making it easier to access the skills needed to get key projects across the finish line.

Companies that utilize pixelated workforces will be at an advantage in the new world of work. But in order for pixelation to take off, businesses need a mechanism that enables segments of their workforce to move and organize freely, like a talent marketplace. The technology matches employees to projects, gigs, and mentorships based on their skills and capacity, ensuring that businesses always have the right talent in the right places.

#3. Develop meaningful long-term career paths
A big part of retaining and engaging your talent for the long run is ensuring that they see a future with your company that excites them. Traditionally, employees were expected to follow linear career paths that didn’t take their interests or long-term goals into consideration.

Fortunately, a new generation of dynamic career pathing is here to change that. The best tools show your people several different directions that their careers can take, empowering them to choose the path that aligns with their ambitions and your business needs. Gloat’s Career tools even present employees with short-term opportunities, like projects and gigs, that will help them develop the skills they need to reach the long-term professional goals they’ve identified.

#4. Uncover talent that was once overlooked
Impending talent shortages pose a serious threat to future revenue goals. In many organizations, latent biases cause high-potential employees to get overlooked, exacerbating these scarcities.
Rather than letting preconceived notions sway talent management decisions, AI-powered platforms level the playing field. Talent marketplaces match people to open roles based on skills and experience, in turn opening leaders’ eyes to qualified candidates that they may have never considered before.

#5. Get succession planning right
Succession planning needs to be part of every discussion you have about the future of work. To ensure your business is set up for success in the future, leaders need to identify the next generation of decision-makers and prepare them for the challenges ahead.

But how can you make sure you’re picking the best people for the job? For a long time, selection processes were manual and influenced by external factors, like personal connections and networking. However, the right talent marketplace removes bias from the equation and spotlights employees with the skills and experiences needed to step into crucial roles.

The businesses that begin preparing for the new world of work today will quickly become recognized as the leaders of tomorrow.

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