2018 is a Year of Action and Cyber Convergence: Welcome To The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

By Stephen Landry

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We are in the midst of what some have called the Human Age and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"When we are living digitally, working flexibly, and being rewarded uniquely, we will unlock growth in the Human Age." Kate Bravery, Partner, Global Practices Leader, Mercer Career 


According to Mercer’s new 2018 Global Talent Trends Study; there are some important insights to keep watch for.

Here are 5 Workforce Trends in the rearview mirror, and by reading this article, you will have the edge as an insider (I have also added a section for Manager’s under each point to guide them to support you to achieve your full potential, and for you to have conversations about, with your new or current boss).


1.  Change @Speed (Agile Organization Design): Employees who can react to change and excel at lifelong learning and change agility will be in demand. Organizations that can be supportive to foster lifelong learning in their employees will be the leaders. Organizations will need to be aware of finding their “new equilibrium in a flatter, distributed and networked world” for achieving a more efficient business operation. We will see an increase in self-driven teams towards a shift to a more networked approach. Organizations will also have to focus more on their vision, communication and strong leadership roles.

Manager’s Role: Clarify direction and build change readiness, Champion change, embrace the new, and model lifelong learning, promote transparency and objectivity in feedback to encourage learning for the future.


2.  Working With Purpose: (The Thrive Contract): Organizations will support an employee’s potential and encourage employees to be their own change agent. Organizations will be intent on creating a strong sense of purpose that resonates with the personal values of their employees.

The Thrive Contract will build upon an employee’s growth needs, which will include the purpose, the meaning and the impact of the work they do for an organization. As Simon Sinek described in the popular TedTalk, https://tinyurl.com/yb2sebwh organizations will need to understand the Why of their existence, not just the What and the Who. Thriving employees are 3x more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose.

Manager’s Role: Act as talent advocates for facilitating movement and understanding employee career goals, have “career conversations with purpose” to help identify learning opportunities for employees and monitor workload, complexity and change fatigue to support the team’s physical and emotional well-being.


3.  Permanent Flexibility: This is interesting in that it incorporates a “revisioning” of what work is, how it is done and in how it flows. When do organizations use bots over people? Organizations will need to reflect work environments that support on-demand flexibility, moving from “ad-hoc” models of flexibility that may require a culture change, high levels of trust and technology to support employees wanting work arrangements that put them more in “control of their personal and professional lives”. Employees surveyed in the report said more flexible work options are most important when polled, ahead of clearer career path information and performance feedback. A team of “elastic” workforce of freelancers and contractors will support critical talent core. 78% of full time and part time workers polled say they consider working as a freelancer, not attached to an organization in the traditional relationship seen in years past.

Manager’s Role: Redesign roles for flexibility considering how to get work done using a better leverage model and alternative talent pool. Define resourcing criteria, helping employees make smart decisions about what work to retain in-house, and what to outsource externally. Promote flexible working in the hiring process and beyond. Encourage employees to try alternate work pathways to help create blueprints for new work patterns that can be re-used.


4.  Platform For Talent: The platform economy “has overhauled the way we live and…what is possible at work from the sharing of talent to the democratization of opportunities”. Organizations will maximize “human creativity” and ambition, developing workplaces that are intelligent and encourage maximum human creativity and ambition. The organization is no longer a hierarchy of employees, and instead is a smart platform that matches skill supply with work demands while maximizing human creativity and ambition – connecting people to their passion projects, connecting organizations to the skills they need in real time…”. In essence how organizations look at talent will stop being linear, speeding up the movement of jobs to people and people to jobs. Organizations will develop the skills to meet current and future needs through a talent value proposition, replacing the employee value proposition.

Manager’s Role: Broker talent by forming fluid project teams, source diverse portfolios of skills (human and machine) and build communities to retain the best talent and most relevant skills.


5.  Digital From The Inside Out: Technology must augment the human work experience, fostering a digital culture and building diverse workforces. Organizations will need to ask if they are truly “digital and delivering a consumer-grade employee experience and empowering employees in a human connected relationship?”

Manager’s Role: Communicate a compelling vision for the future where the organization is going, why it’s relevant, what employees will learn-and update people on progress. Support team learning on digital infusing teams with an aptitude for digital business. Encourage the use of data and experimentation ie: have team pilot new technology that could be applied to (or disrupt) their work.


One final note: Having this knowledge now, will help you plan your career journey in your pursuit of employment. Knowledge really is power!!

About the Author: Stephen Landry is a Certified Career Development Practitioner residing in Ottawa, Canada. He works as an Employment Consultant and is responsible for 1-1 client interactions, researching local labour market information, career development workshops, job development and case management. Connect with him on LinkedIn @ linkedin.com/in/stevelandry1

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