HR| The Future of Work

With the advancement of technology over the years, the future of work is a major concern in every industry today. A budding question at the top of everyone’s mind is if they will be needed for work in a few years. It is impossible not to wonder if an employer will need employees when machines can get the job done. The structure of organizations is under attack with the impact of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics which are replacing human tasks and changing the nature of work in companies.

The world of work has evolved from paper filing to database systems, face-to-face interviews/meetings to online and video discussions, and machines performing tasks humans used to. Work has also become dynamic and somewhat invasive as work is not only limited to the office any longer, and the barrier between “work” and “life” is hanging on a thread. With increased mobile phone capabilities, there are an array of mobile applications that make you perform work related tasks on your phone. According to Worldometer, NCC and Stat Counter reports from 2017, 91.5 million Nigerians which is 47% of the population are mobile internet users.

“If you don’t think and plan for the future of work, then your organization has no future.” – Jacob Morgan

This advancement in technology has also impacted human resource management critically. The HR of today is different from the HR of 20 years ago because the world is changing and organizations are looking for new, effective and productive ways to meet the evolving demands of doing business. HR has shifted focus to the use of HR Analytics for talent acquisition, management and utilization to achieve desired objectives. Work is no longer just a factory with mundane tasks, it is now more of a cluster of independent thinkers and the depth of skill talents possess is crucial to the survival of an organization. The digital age has enabled work run smoothly and seamless, and successful HR leaders of the future will be those who are able to accept change and adapt to the world around them to successfully navigate through these changes.

The work of the future will be one where humans leverage on technology to thrive in the workplace. Will machines do more than 50% of work on human behalf, YES. Will the workforce be significantly reduced, YES. However, while technology has reduced jobs, it has also created new ones. Work will be more mobile, and certain jobs will be obsolete but new jobs will also emerge. The fear of the future is that we do not know how many jobs robotics or artificial intelligence will replace and how many it will create.

No industry will be immune from this revolution and HR must be at the forefront of this change helping employees acquire skills that will be necessary to remain relevant in the fast changing workplace of the future. It is also important to note that because the work place of the future will be heavily automated, people skills will become the real edge for competitive advantage.

The future of work offers the opportunity to provide the most engaging and motivating environment we have yet experienced and it is filled with infinite possibilities. One can assume there will be more intrapreneurs than regular employees, and more flexibility at work as the work force will be filled with the millennial generation, who are used to technology to perform basic tasks. In addition, work will also be more engaging with interactions and collaborations. The future worker will expect tools in the workplace that mirrors what they use in their personal lives.

At it’s core, though work will be done majorly by computers, it must still be coordinated by people to create maximum value. For instance, robots can now perform intricate surgeries but we still have and need doctors. Organizations still need great leaders, managers, and employees at all levels to get things done in an efficient and effective way.

Thanks for reading.

What do you think the future of work will be like???

Mariam Shittu

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