The future of work probably sounds like a vague and ambiguous term, but it is affecting your business whether you realize it or not. What does the term future of work really mean? This refers to the result of how different forces of change are affecting the three main dimensions of work: the work itself, who does the work, and where the work is done. It is likely that you have heard or read a lot of discussions about artificial intelligence and technology replacing individuals, and this is one example of a force of change that is shaping the future of work. There are many other trends and perspectives behind how work is changing, but it is possible to prepare for these changes and adapt to them now. That being said, the future of work is not something that happens to your business, but rather something that you create within your organization. In this article, we discuss what these changes mean for your business and how to prepare for the future of work.

The Role of HR

As your workplace changes, HR can make sure that your workforce has the tools they need for success. HR has a very important role in helping organizations prepare for the future of work. Leading research and advisory firm Gartner explains this role in their article on the future of work, saying “HR leaders should advise executives on the future roles and skills they will need, leverage evolving employment models like gig work and change organizational processes to manage technology-driven workflows.” Utilizing the agile methodology, collaboration, and software solutions can help every department of your business get on the same page for a smoother transition. Helpful technology for helping HR adjust includes Planbox’s services, which are described in 451 Research’s report as being “built for the C-Suite, as well as roles requiring continuous feedback loops to measure success, such as research and development, marketing, new product development, and HR.”

Initiating Digital Transformation

One of the most critical ways your business can be prepared for the future of work is embracing and adopting new technology. If you have been putting off a digital transformation, now might be the time to update your systems. In our previous blog 7 Tips for a Successful Digital Transformation, we discuss how to make this daunting task a successful process. Artificial intelligence is growing, and human workers will have to learn how to collaborate with their technological counterparts. Collaboration is a very important element that your entire organization should embrace, and creating a culture of collaboration amongst workers will also help your employees adjust to collaborating with technology. Job roles and functions will change, and your workforce will have to learn new skills. HR can help identify these new roles and skills to better prepare employees for the changes to come. As a whole, your organization should empower employees to overcome the obstacles that will be a by-product of change.

Building a Culture of Continuous Innovation

As positions become more fluid and team-based work is valued more, the agile methodology is also more helpful for adapting to the upcoming changes. Agile works to streamline processes and develop more efficient ways of doing things than other methodologies. This, combined with the need for rapid change when preparing for the future of work, makes creating a culture of continuous innovation very important for your business. Generating new ideas and being able to successfully implement them keeps your company ahead of competitors and potential problems. Embracing an innovative culture within your organization also helps empower employees and create leaders.

Developing Leaders for the Future

The future of work forces us to evaluate our current roles and skills. As technology and automation re-shape the work environment, there will be more workplace competition. Every individual will have to be a more agile employee and leader in their own right. Furthermore, the space in which work is done is going to undergo changes as well. This space will become more flexible and lead to more remote work. So, you want employees to develop a stronger sense of themselves and their work regardless of the environment. As HR guides and empowers employees to prepare for the future of work, it should also be creating stronger leaders for the future. Using the tools and resources at your disposal to solve issues as they emerge is an important element of agile, and ultimately contributes to the sustained well-being of the company. As such, it is crucial for your workforce to tackle changes head-on.

Thus, building an adaptive workforce and embracing new technology will help you prepare for the future of work. HR plays an integral role in your organization as it ensures these processes go smoothly, and employees feel confident and capable of handling any kind of change that comes their way. Indeed, there is no need to fear the future if you keep a flexible mindset.

Want to learn more about innovation and the future of work? Watch our informative webinar on Driving Sustainable Innovation through Collaboration, with guest speaker Wayne Kurtzman from IDC.