Although executives, analysts, and experts regularly try to predict where business is headed, the pace of innovation continues to exceed our expectations and imagination – especially when it comes to the world of work. Not only is technology impacting how we work and interact with each other, it’s transforming what we actually do for work.
Consider this: 2 billion jobs that exist today will disappear by 2030, according to futurist Thomas Frey. 2 billion. That’s roughly 50% of all of jobs worldwide. Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University professor, backed up this prediction in her book Now You See It, noting that 65% of children entering grade school this year will assume careers that don’t yet exist.
How can you possibly plan for a future workforce in jobs we can’t today know? And how can we develop talent when we don’t what our business will need not just in a few years, but even in a few months from now?
The future of talent acquisition relies on a broad footprint enabled by technology
The dynamic of workforce mix is changing. Employees no longer fit neatly into a box, nor should they. Salaried employees. Hourly employees. Contingent employees. These categories are more fluid than ever.
As digital businesses like Uber and Airbnb have shown, the understanding of “employee” is being redefined to include people who are not employed in the traditional sense or necessarily found on the company payroll. Rather, they are customers – on the other side of the seller-buyer relationship.
This new approach does not come without risk. Once the salary-wage relationship is removed from the employer-employee equation, the degree of employee loyalty and affinity seen in the past will slowly deteriorate. This forces CHROs to adjust how to relate to their existing workforce, and as important, their future employees and the people who influence them.
To create an employer brand that is more fluid and differentiated, CHROs should consider four things:
1. Your employer brand matters whether you’re actively recruiting or not.
Your employer brand needs to be an interaction that happens consistently – whether or not you are looking for new talent to join your team at the moment. And while the brand is not the sole purview of HR, HR is in the best position to shepherd it.
2. Expand your footprint to attract the best – before they’re even in the workforce.
In our age of social media, people follow brands they admire. But here’s a secret: This also brings an opportunity for following high-performing professionals within or outside the industry as well as students of all ages who are mastering valuable skills.
As I look at my two school-aged boys, I see firsthand how their new generation – Gen Z – will create their own definition of work and career fulfillment. Pretty soon, new graduates will be less concerned about job titles and more interested in working for companies with whom they feel an affinity. And increasingly, these interactions begin long before a job search.
3. Master the science of data – no PhD required.
How many of us groan when terms like “data science” and “number crunching” get mentioned? Today’s technology is taking away the fear factor; analysing data is becoming more intuitive and delivering more valuable insights. And increasingly, the machines are doing it for us, melting processes along the way.
4. Engage before Day 1.
HR today has the tools to become less about process and more about employee engagement. Onboarding is a perfect example of how, and why it matters.
Typically, onboarding has been about providing the physical things a new employee needs to start working: security badge, laptop, desk assignment, setup of a 401k account, and payroll deductions to name a just a few. None of this generally happens until the person walks through the door on Day 1.
Now we have the ability to make onboarding a social interaction, allowing a new employee the opportunity to be engaged before they even start. HR can provide the ability for new employees to connect with their manager, along with peers who can help them better understand and navigate the organisation, and potential mentors who can help them become successful – reducing the traditional ramp up process that can take months or longer.
In today’s digital economy, it’s less about the job and more about the talent. How are you preparing?
This article is published in collaboration with SAP. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Mike Ettling is the Head of Global Cloud HR at SAP.
Image: A woman walks on the esplanade of La Defense. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes.