Ready for the ‘Workforce of the Future’?

Make sure your company is keeping pace with automation, other advances.
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Your employees are willing and able to keep up with technological advances in the workplace, so giving them opportunities to learn and investing in training will become an increasingly competitive advantage, according to a new report from PwC.

Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of 10,000 people across the U.S. UK, Germany, China and India surveyed for the PwC report, Workforce of the Future: The competing forces shaping 2030, said they are ready to learn a new skill in preparation for the arrival of automation, internet of things and other advances. They view keeping their skills updated as "their personal responsibility and not employers'."

"We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work," reads the report. "Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organizations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organizational, talent and HR challenges – at a time when business leaders are already wrestling with unprecedented risks, disruption and political and societal upheaval."

Some distributors, such as Miami, FL-based Watsco Inc., are investing heavily in technology and attracting talented – and young – workers because of it.

"We have people that grew up in the startup world – software developers, UI/UX designers, entrepreneurs who never in their wildest dreams thought they would work for an air conditioning distributor and now can't wait to get back to work and produce and have a lot of fun working for this company because of the technology that we're investing in," President A.J. Nahmad said in the recent MDM interview, Watsco Aims for ‘Bigger, Better, Faster’.

According to the PwC report, here are six takeaways for company leaders as they prepare for the next workforce iteration:

  1. Act now: This isn’t about some ‘far future’ of work – change is already happening and accelerating.
  2. No regrets and bets: Plan for a dynamic, rather than static, future. Make ‘no regrets’ moves that work with most scenarios – but you’ll need to make some ‘bets’ too.
  3. Make a bigger leap: Don’t be constrained by your starting point. You might need a more radical change than just a small step from where you are today.
  4. Own the automation debate: A depth of understanding and keen insight into the changing technology landscape is a must.
  5. People not jobs: Organizations can’t protect jobs which are made redundant by technology, but they have a responsibility to their people. Nurture agility, adaptability and re-skilling.
  6. Build a clear narrative: Anxiety kills confidence and the willingness to innovate. Start a mature conversation about automation in the future.
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