10 Ways Organizations Can Prepare for the Future of Work

The workplace continues to evolve. Here’s how to help employees get ready for what’s ahead.

Written by Randeep Purewal
Published on May. 03, 2023
10 Ways Organizations Can Prepare for the Future of Work
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What will the workplace look like in five years? To start, demographic changes are going to tilt our focus, as Millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. 

10 Ways to Prepare for the Future of Work

  1. Lead with inclusion.
  2. Foster teamwork and collaboration.
  3. Support workplace wellness.
  4. Encourage innovation.
  5. Focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
  6. Invest in learning and development.
  7. Improve the employee experience. 
  8. Adopt agile workflows.
  9. Launch career mapping.
  10. Use advanced technology.

We also cannot ignore the explosion of technological innovation and generative AI that is completely transforming how we work. And don’t forget that the days of working five days in the office are becoming extinct, so where we work is continuously being redefined and rewritten. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as the most effective contributor to the future of work is going to be skilled talent and the employee experience.  

According to a recent Forbes report, 70 percent of people do not feel prepared for the future of work. What can organizations do to help?

Read More About the Future of Work 7 Tips for Building an Inclusive Team

 

Lead With Inclusion

Leading with inclusion will separate the winners from the losers. The leader of the future is a connector and talent enabler, inquisitive and agile, flexible and comfortable with ambiguity. 

The skills and expectations of leadership in the future will transcend basic qualifications and experiences and instead emphasize superior soft skills. No longer can managers lead with a traditional one-size-fits-all. Leading is going to require a more customized approach, an important aspect of inclusion. 

Leading inclusive teams means that you are creating an environment where everyone feels that their contributions are appreciated and valued. Inclusive leaders will need to have a clear vision of the future and the ability to inspire and motivate their teams to achieve that vision. 

 

Encourage Teamwork and Collaboration

The 9-to-5 day is dead and remote work is here to stay. The potential of the 4-day work week continues to gain traction and distributed global teams means working asynchronously and autonomously is more popular than ever.  Collaboration is key and leaders need to think about how technology can help drive collaboration and productivity. 

Leadership will require extremely high social and emotional intelligence to manage these adaptive changes and preferences. Meanwhile, employees will require the tech tools and applications to communicate and work together in an efficient and accessible way. 

The most important aspect will be communication. Whether it is regular cadence of meetings, productivity tools or interactive Slack channels, how information is shared will be a critical determinant of successful teams.

 

Support Workplace Wellness

How will your organization support wellness for your employees?  Whether it’s providing access to mental health support, creating psychologically safe spaces or preventing burnout, workplace wellness needs to be addressed in creating the future of work. 

 

Foster Innovation

Diversity of thought and experiences is directly correlated to innovation, as is a mindset of growth and disruption. To innovate, workplaces must be deliberate about creativity and failure and encourage the sharing of new ideas and concepts. 

Depending on the industry and nature of the business, embracing new technologies and experimenting with projects while pivoting and iterating will be the best teacher for the most impact.

 

Promote DEI and Belonging

Diversity is much more than representation and although important, it is just as important to incorporate the many dimensions of diversity while taking into account intersectionality (intersecting identities). Creating equitable workplaces involves leveling the playing field so everyone has equality, yet structural barriers and obstacles are addressed for. Inclusion means no one is left out. 

These terms are not mutually exclusive. You can have diversity but if you don’t have an inclusive culture, the true benefits will not be realized. Further, being a purpose-driven organization with a focus on ESG is going to be a leading indicator for being a top-tier talent organization. 

 

Invest in Learning and Development

Learnability. Remember this word because it is arguably the most in-demand soft skill for the future of work. The learning and development industry is becoming more and more prevalent and globally it is estimated to be valued at $357 billion

Because the work environment is evolving so quickly, companies need to invest in the development of new skills and capabilities to meet business needs. The organizations that invest in L&D will improve innovation and performance and develop and attract top talent.

 

Offer a Flexible Employee Experience

If your organization does not offer flexibility, you are missing out. And not just flexibility in where one works, but also when and how. 

Expecting employees to come into the office x days a week needs to be personalized. Let them choose which days work best. Working asynchronously and autonomously is the way of the future, so employees should have the options to determine when they perform best.  

It is not about the number of hours worked but about output and outcomes. If these goals and expectations are not aligned, neither is performance. Most importantly, we as humans are all different and one of the most underrated dimensions of diversity is cognitive diversity, which refers to the inclusion of people who have unique ways of thinking. Different people have different approaches to working, processing information, and solving problems therefore organizations need to adopt workplaces to accommodate that.

 

Adopt Agile Workflows

Creating agility in the workplace is table stakes. Do this by embracing digital tools and applications that help streamline workflows and enhance operational efficiencies. By implementing these tools, organizations can improve communication, increase transparency, reduce manual work and tasks and optimize financial performance. Where possible, apply generative AI to help create new opportunities and enhance existing workflows.

 

Try Career Mapping

If your organization plans to retain its employees, career mapping is a must.  Employees are craving career development opportunities, and it is often the No. 1 reason why they quit. 

Career mapping helps employees identify potential career paths and create a plan for achieving their career goals within an organization. This involves defining paths that include the necessary skills, experiences and qualifications for the role matched with employees’ desires, motives and capabilities.

Read More About the Future of WorkRemote Work Is Great for DEI. Here’s Why.


 

Use Advanced Technology

Since the pandemic, technological adoption has already expedited the beginning of the transformation towards the future of work, but we are literally just getting started. The most common use cases include:

  • Automation. Replacing routine and repetitive tasks with machines and software.
  • Remote work. Cloud, video conferencing, collaboration and employee experience platforms will make it easier for people to work from anywhere.
  • Artificial intelligence. Likely the one with the most potential, it will transform the workplace by automating decision making, improving efficiency and enabling new products and services.
  • Data analytics. Data analytics can provide organizations with deep insights into their operations, talent, customers and industry.

Creating a strategic plan on the above recommendations will better prepare organizations to create workplaces for the future that work for anyone and everyone. 

According to a recent report by Accenture, only 26 percent of CEOs have a future-ready strategy that is holistically focused on changing how, why and where we work. Looks like we have a lot of exciting changes to look forward to in the workplace.

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