The world of work is changing at a rapid pace. Technology is widespread, diversity is key to attracting and retaining top talent and the line between personal and professional has started to blur. This presents opportunity for business leaders, government entities and society to reimagine how work is done and reshape the workforce of tomorrow to create a place where everyone is empowered.

Creating a Future-ready Workforce

Future-ready organizations are defined by their ability to adapt to changing situations. Most these organizations are built on the principles of digital innovation, agility, resilience and partnership.

To shift from a traditional workforce to a future-ready organization, here are three components that can help lay the foundation:

  1. Identify technology drivers that can positively impact your organization’s growth. Automation, internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are just a few of the solutions that are helping generate high-quality changes to cater to the organization’s technology needs.
  2. Predict the adoption of these technologies.
  3. Identify the impact of current external forces (such as a widespread shift in working culture after the COVID-19 pandemic) and anticipate and plan around its impact on the future market.

After laying the foundation, it’s important to create a roadmap to implement the necessary changes. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • Use an agile approach: Adopting an agile approach with a refreshed and modernized recruitment and selection process can decrease overall recruitment costs and increase employee productivity.
  • Leverage transformative learning: Remote work has brought a significant shift in the ways employees consume information. By adopting the right technology to offer a more comprehensive and engaging learning experience to your employees, you can accelerate internal growth and generate sustainable outcomes.
  • Make it personal: Delivering an improved employee experience is critical. This can be achieved by focusing on a more personalized experience that empowers people to be innovators, values everyone and provides ample opportunities for employees to feel heard. By delivering a personalized employee experience, organizations can notice tangible decreases in attrition and ultimately improve employee productivity.
  • Improve the consumer experience: Prioritizing customer requirements are imperative to being a future-ready company. This can include shifting to a customer-centric technology strategy, overcoming technical debt and anticipating future digital needs.
  • Build a digitally-fluent workforce: Top talent is an essential component to organization’s long-term success. To achieve this, future-ready organizations are focusing on optimizing current systems, upskilling and cross-skilling existing employees, automating processes and recruiting top talent to fill existing gaps.
  • Remove outdated procedures: Outdated and legacy systems suppress business growth and inhibit organizations from achieving its goals. Therefore, it’s important to review your current procedures and evaluate where changes are needed.
  • Update technology: Seeking and implementing new technology should be an ongoing strategy. When evaluating options, look for solutions that fit with your business strategy and can support forward thinking business goals.

Supporting Continuous Learning

With your roadmap in place, it’s critical that you don’t become complacent. A future-ready organization that places its people’s development as a priority is deeply rooted in a culture of continuous, lifelong learning. It embeds learning into employees’ daily responsibilities using tools they are familiar with. Some immediately applicable learning solutions that companies can implement include:

  1. A blended learning training experience with a combination of digital and hands-on learning, as well as professional and personal development opportunities that can help employees enhance productivity and support future employability.
  2. Formalized training programs, as well as less formal on-the-job training such as project-based teams that support high-priority work completion, internal gigs, inner company movement based on respective skills, etc.

Organizations that incorporate these principles into their working and learning approaches can help empower their employees with the experience they need to sustain and grow in the future of the workforce.

Culture of Learning Supported by Leadership

According to a study by Deloitte, published in 2020, more than 80% of respondents said that they have either created or were in the process of creating a culture that supports lifelong learning. But can a culture survive without the support of leaders? How can leaders support the change? To start supporting a culture of continuous learning:

  1. Your organization needs to give up the old ways of working along the legacy system that doesn’t align with the organization’s current and future goals.
  2. Your upskilling and reskilling approach should not be a short-term, but rather a long-term commitment.

To make continuous learning a culture, it needs to be formalized by setting up a specific time, regular assessment, feedback and measuring impact.

Encourage Employee Engagement

Keeping employees engaged is key to weathering industry changes. Transitions can be difficult but prioritizing your employee’s happiness and well-being can help them accelerate your organizations growth. Also, as new generations apply for jobs, keeping up with changing trends can help you attract top talent. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Promote a supportive work environment.
  • Provide flexible work arrangements, higher remunerations and growth opportunities.
  • Reexamine your human resources (HR) policies.
  • Empower your workforce today to achieve sustainable outcomes tomorrow.

Organizations are in a race against time to keep up with the high demand and change where technology is only part of the solution. Automation, AI and IoT can cater to specific aspects of becoming future-ready, but human workforce reinforcement is also vital to an organization’s overall success. Creativity, empathy, imagination and other human qualities can unlock the innovations that your company needs. And the recent experience with the pandemic has taught us that our business and our people are resilient and can embrace any transformational changes that come their way.

On a scale of one to 10 how future-ready is your organization currently? How empowered are your people? Now is the time to get your roadmap in order!