The future of work. A topic that dominates the corporate agenda, headlines global conferences, and makes the biggest global think-tanks, such as the ILO or the OECD, set up working groups, with the participation of the brightest minds of policy and the business world to respond effectively and understand better the challenges that come with it. Are machines and AI going take all our work away? Is Amazon going to deliver our orders with the latest drone technology to our doors soon? Will 5G going to be available on our smartphones in the next year?
Questions, we all want answered.
One thing is certain: innovation and technology are changing the way we work and live in a rapid pace. Even the most obvious things, such as waking up in the morning or getting a ride midtown, have all completely got new meaning over the last couple of years.
The fast pace of modern life requires a high degree of flexibility, courage and emotional intelligence from employers and employees alike. The result is a constant need to adapt to new market conditions, the development of new forms of collaboration and last but not least, the fusing of human intelligence with artificial intelligence. In short, we find ourselves in perpetual beta.
What opportunities and challenges does this present to employers and employees? What will the working world of the future look like? How do we want to work in the future and who will decide?
We want to explore these issues in more detail taking our inspiration from the motto of the exhibition Zukunft Personal Europe 2018: “work:olution – succeed in permanent beta”. With this in mind, we are calling all bloggers to take part in the blog carnival: “How to succeed in permanent beta?” #permanentbeta.
If you work for a single company for a long time, especially a large company, you’re probably familiar with the common workplace rituals that have developed which mark the beginning and the end of the employee life cycle. The welcome cards, the little speech when someone starts, the little mementos people buy for you when you start. Then there are the leaving parties, the speech on how great an asset someone has been and how sorry everyone is to see them leave, and the post-work trip to a local pub with a few of the people the person leaving became close to. Perhaps you’ve shed a few tears yourself or had others shed tears on your behalf after moving on from a company you grew attached to.
As negative as the actual experience of leaving a job can feel, losing people is an absolutely necessary part of the work ecosystem. People come and people go. It’s in the very nature of most forms of social human activity. Whether it’s a circle of friends, a royal lineage, a scientific project, a private company, or a public service, fresh blood is regularly introduced and others move to something new. It’s a vital part of how social structures adapt themselves to a changing world or try to influence the changes that occur around them. Without this exchange of people stagnation and weakness sets in.
Are employers caring for the mental wellbeing of their employees? If not, perhaps it’s time to reconsider well-being programmes and extending them from yoga classes and smoothie bars. Latest reports from the UK and Germany show, that the majority of sickness absence in organisations are motivated by psychological or mental health issues, rather than physical sickness. A 2017 study in Germany by the AOK, the federation of social security secretariats, has shown that out of 12.5 million employees that took a sick-leave following a life-event, 79% had to take time off work due to mental health and emotional problems. In the UK a staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.
Recruitment, one of the principle functions of HR, has become such a sophisticated and involved process that it is now handled mostly by specialist people who know the questions to ask and the qualifications that matter to the role. Whole businesses have proliferated, worth millions, which do nothing more than offer specialist recruitment services. The reason it is such a weighty topic is obvious – having the right people work for you will make the difference between success and failure.
There have been numerous articles written on recruiting in HR publications across Europe, and even more on the internet. Besides from some notable exceptions, few have impressed me. An overreliance on buzzwords and corporate phrasing (“Reach out and pick a dynamic candidate who’s core competency gives them an attitude of thinking outside the box, enabling them to synergise rapidly with your business ecosystem!”) might be good for grabbing the reader’s attention, but such articles do nothing to advance the readers actual knowledge of the topic. One of the problems is that a lot of these articles are simply stealthy advertisements with email addresses or clickbacks to recruitment agencies, so exist to sell the process as opposed to inform about it.
As someone has done a fair bit of recruiting, let me try to inform, or at least illustrate the enormous amount of variables involved that make recruitment such a massive task.
Photo: John Stepper
A podcast interview with John Stepper
How to give everyone in the company a voice and allow their expertise to be sought by other colleagues? In this blog post we are bringing you an exciting podcast conversation with John Stepper, creator of the Working Out Loud movement. This is a special episode for Europe’s biggest HR event of the year, the Zukunft Personal Europe 2018, where John will be one of the key-note speakers.
“Working Out Loud is an approach leading to the purposeful discovery of opportunities. Its combined elements are like superpower. A lot of people don’t know that they have it, or not comfortable using it.”
You can listen to the conversation on iTunes, Acast and other podcasting apps. What follows here are excerpts from our conversation with John, edited for length and clarity.
Photo: Negative Space
There is perhaps no other decision faced by Human Resources professionals, that comes with such great responsibility, and yet so much uncertainty at the same time, than hiring a new person. There are endless resources with good advice on how to manage the entire process from advertising to appointing the candidates, and recruitment over the years has become its own industry, from agencies to thought-leaders, apps and software, to certification and training organisations.
And even though the industry is booming, particularly in the current labour market context, the majority of tools and methods we apply to attract and hire employees have proven to be not efficient in predicting future work performance, employee engagement and organisational success. As so much depends on finding and holding on to the right people, I venture it is time to spend some time on reflecting about our recruitment habits and re-consider some of the tools and approaches we deploy.
Photo: spring Messe Management GmbH
Is employee onboarding still managed manually at your company? What is the best way to create recruitment videos fast and easy with your smartphone? How can companies track current skills gaps and identify areas for improvement easily through an app? How can you connect your employees with opportunities to take part in team-based challenges or fitness competitions?
In today’s business reality, companies always need new ideas and approaches, and now more and more often they do not come from the largest solution-providers in the industry. HR startups, many of them providing traditional companies with solutions to the above questions, have become the lifeblood of technological and service innovation over the last 5 years. From advanced recruiter-bots to alternative approaches to attracting and keeping the best talent, we love getting to know the up-and-coming startups who are pushing the envelope of the HR world a little bit differently, and a little bit further.
Modern technology has made travel easier than it ever has been. I can buy an airline ticket today and be in Australia by tomorrow. When I was interviewed for a job in Germany I boarded an aeroplane in my native Britain, flew to Berlin, spent several hours with the team I would be working with, and then flew back home again, all in a single day. Before I made this trip I had several initial interviews remotely via Skype. When I was offered employment I gave serious consideration to working here, staying here during the the week, and then flying back to the UK for the weekend, such is the ease of travel that being able to cross several hundred miles and a few countries every week is simple and easy.
Photo: negative space
In an e-mail to his Tesla employees sent in April this year, CEO Elon Musk instructed colleagues to “walk out of meetings if you are not adding any value”. He goes on to say, that it is not rude to walk out of a meeting, rather it is rude to stay and waste somebody else’s time. He is not the only mogul introducing policies to help employees navigate the modern world of work with an intention to increase productivity. Jeff Bezos of amazon has introduced the “weirdest meeting culture you will ever encounter” and ended PowerPoint presentations, and now requires the employee to prepare a 6-page narrative memo, a sort of story-telling, which meeting participants spend 30 minutes reading and taking in at the beginning of the meeting – in silence.