Jesuthasan and Boudreau call for a “new operating system of work,” and see that one is already emerging. Workforce agility platforms play a major role, combining the capabilities of talent marketplaces, which match people to opportunities based on skills, with workforce intelligence that gives organizations better insights into their workforce’s collective skills and capabilities. These skills-based organizations engage work in an agile manner that wasn’t possible under traditionally-siloed structures.
Under the new operating system of work, these four principles serve as a guide to unlocking agility:
#1. Transcend the legacy of “jobs” through deconstruction
By breaking down jobs into their core tasks, companies can better understand what skills are needed to complete business functions and internally develop those capabilities in a more targeted manner. Sometimes called pixelization, atomization, or segmenting, the core idea is that as work constantly changes in scope, a company can only be as agile as it understands the work being done.
#2. Find the right balance of human and automated work
As AI and broader computing power become more widespread—and capable—different skills will be needed from employees. Highly repetitive rules-based work can usually be taken care of by software and systems, giving people the chance to engage in more creative, strategic functions.
#3. Connect people with work on their terms
Jobs may not completely disappear, but their standing as the lone determiner of work stifles agility. As organizations deconstruct the work being done within their enterprise, the use of internal gigs, projects, and tasks can be determined based on the skills needed for the assignment. And there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The key is looking beyond what was done and accepting that as new capabilities emerge, they may not fall neatly into categories created in the early 20th century.
#4. Reduce friction between people and work
Talent marketplaces serve as the main platform to connect people with the work that’s most relevant to their interests and skills. Traditional models of work silo talent into rigid structures, contributing to the skills gaps many companies are facing today.