New trends and opportunities show that the world of work is changing dramatically. Up to 60% of the most mundane, routine tasks will be automated. But, technology will not just automate work, it will also be increasingly integrated into human and organizational work processes to enhance productivity, communication and employee well-being. This will in turn necessitate continuous learning as workers must continuously adapt to new technologies. Knowing how to learn along with human traits such as empathy, leadership, and teamwork will be intrinsic to competitive advantage in the future job market.
This guide is designed to describe some of the core trends and opportunities in the future of work. It tries to summarize some of the important insights which were discussed in the Future of Work Pioneers Podcast. There is a great deal of nuance in these discussions and the reader would benefit from going straight to the original podcasts online, with the summary in this guide serving as a sign post for topics he or she finds interesting.
Discussion with Chike Aguh (Chief Innovation Officer, U.S. Department of Labor)
As is demonstrated below, a process of creative destruction is underway. This process will alter the kinds of jobs available, how we find those jobs, the skills required to do those jobs, and the support systems required to assist workers.
The term, the “Future of Work,” has come to mean many things to different people. While recognizing the Future of Work as an umbrella term, it would certainly be helpful to try to work towards some sort of definition in order to identify the relevant problems.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM IN TWO WAYS
Aguh starts by saying that we usually talk about the problem in the context of the future of work in two ways. One that is frequently and popularly talked about, and one that is less talked about.
First of all, the problem with the popularly talked about viewpoint is the issue of robots taking over our jobs and technologies that will make certain jobs obsolete. Aguh realizes the reality of such an observation, and gives the example of autonomous vehicles. If you look at the relevant data, they will be on the roads en masse between 2030 and 2040, starting in commercial trucking and public transit. They will add almost a trillion dollars in economic growth to the US economy. However, they will also remove the need for the most commonly held profession by an American man, namely, driving a vehicle. So, this is one half of the problem that has to be acknowledged and dealt with.
Secondly, Aguh argues that the other half of the problem, which we don’t talk about enough, yet is just as big, is the issue of jobs that won’t go away, but will change irrevocably due to technology. To illustrate this half of the problem, we can take a look at the example of the loan officer. Previously, if you wanted a loan, you would go to a bank and see a man/woman; bring all your documents; he/she would interview you; then decide whether you get the loan because of some factors that were concrete and some that were more subjective. In contrast, there will be someone in the future who will have the job of a loan officer, but that job will be very different from now. The “person” that makes the choice as to whether you get a loan or not will not be a loan officer. Instead, that decision-maker will be an algorithm – a multivariate regression model. The job of the loan officer now is customer acquisition, meaning getting prospects in the door in order to increase the bank’s revenue. Furthermore, the same loan officer of the future would have to do account management by keeping your customers happy, so they may come back for more loans. Aguh concludes that these are two very different jobs, and that you see similar transitions across a bunch of other jobs.
So, he raises the question: “How are we helping those folks keep up with what is happening?”
By combining both problems just discussed, you come to the conclusion that jobs will go away and that jobs will change. Aguh refers to McKinsey data that shows that these problems will cover about 60 percent of American jobs.
FOUR QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE FUTURE OF WORK
In order to address these problems holistically, Aguh uses the following four questions as a framework to address the issue.
The changes underway to the world of work are profound and broad-based. They will impact society at the social, technological, demographic, environmental, political and economic levels.
This exclusive content is part of ‘The Future of Work: Lessons from the Trenches of Corporate America’ | Download the eBook
Discussion with Dave Ulrich (Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan)
The future of work is a broad topic, and for Professor Ulrich, it is about anticipating what’s next and not looking back at what has been. The future of work has gathered a lot of attention after major conferences were held prior to 2020, followed by the pandemic, which sparked a lot of discussion about remote working.
“How do I live with that context and discover opportunities rather than threats?”
Professor Ulrich believes that content is king, and the future of work is being able to anticipate the next content in which we have to operate.
The four phases of technology-enabled H.R. in the digital world are efficiency, innovation, information, and experience. For Professor Ulrich, this is the set of systems and infrastructures that sustain a culture in the workplace.
TALENT VS. ORGANIZATION
Professor Ulrich did statistics and numerical taxonomy a few decades ago, and he has also had a passion for data for 40 years. Professor Ulrich has collected data from 1,200 businesses, and they had two very simple questions: How good are the people in your business, and Do you have a good organization? They looked at business performance indicators, where you can create your index of indices of performance, and they did a variance decomposition and regression analysis.
Organization was responsible for eighty percent of business success, while talent was responsible for twenty percent. You have to have a pipeline of great talent, and you should also have access to good talents, such as in clouds and marketplaces. If people don’t create a great team and a great organization, the all-star team is not as good or as well-conceived.
Professor Ulrich relates this to the sport where 20% of the time, you see that the leading scorers in basketball and hockey are in teams. It’s teamwork, its an organization, and the ability to put individual players together through leadership.
The best is yet ahead. That doesn’t mean the easiest is yet ahead. It is really hard to change, but the best is yet ahead.
This exclusive content is part of ‘The Future of Work: Lessons from the Trenches of Corporate America’ | Download the eBook
Discussion with Diane Mulcahy (Institutional Investor & Author of ‘The Gig Economy’)
When talking about the gig economy, a lot of people might be thinking that you are talking about Uber drivers. Mulcahy tells us that it is certainly true that we are talking about Uber drivers, but it is also much broader than this. The way Mulcahy talks about the gig economy includes consultants, advisers, freelancers, and people who might have a full-time job, but also have a side gig.
According to Mulcahy,
So, it’s an incredibly broad definition, and it really does include multiple sectors, industries, education levels, and income levels. It represents a significant portion of the workforce and of the economy.
Concerning the question of how big the gig economy is, Mulcahy tells us that she doesn’t get too caught up in the numbers. There have been a lot of studies and surveys trying to figure out how big it is and how fast it is growing. One of the issues is the fact that everybody has a different definition. Furthermore, the methodologies aren’t perfect. However, if you gather all of the studies together (academic, government, industry, etc.), you come up with a range that looks like approximately 20 to 40 percent of the workforce is participating in the gig economy. The evidence is clear and consistent that it is growing, and it is growing quickly. Furthermore, she reminds us that this is not even evidence and data that takes into account the kind of dislocation in the economy where you have so many people who are losing their full-time jobs. For many people, the gig economy actually can serve as a cushion to that.
So, what is driving the growth of the gig economy, apart from the current crisis? Is it technology or is it a generational thing? Mulcahy feels like it is a misconception to think that it is a generational thing, where millennials are driving it today. It’s really not like that. Instead, the data is pretty clear that multiple generations are working in the gig economy. For example, boomers are working in the gig economy to supplement their retirement income. Gen Xers are taking on side gigs as they think about starting something on their own. Then there are the millennials, who are experimenting with creating their own business or moving towards self-employment. To summarize, it is a widespread phenomenon.
CONTROL, FLEXIBILITY, AND SECURITY
When asking independent workers ‘why are you doing this?’ the answer is pretty consistent. Mulcahy tells us that the number one factor that is driving them to work independently is control. They want control over the work that they do, how much they work and where, and who they work with. Therefore, control is a big driver of the shift towards gig work.
Another big issue is flexibility. The idea is that when you can control your life, decide when and where you want to work, and when you do your best work, you can work more efficiently. A few more things of importance are the facts that there is no face time, no politics, and far fewer meetings. So, flexibility is also a big driver for people.
On the issue of security, Mulcahy notes that it’s not an obvious answer for people because there is the perception that if you have a full-time job and a paycheck, then you are all set, everything is stable, and you are super secure. Mulcahy believes that this crisis has revealed that that is more perception than reality. She continues by saying that we live in an incredibly dynamic economy, even in the best of times. Companies are constantly launching new products, shuttering old products, entering new markets, moving into new areas, creating new service offerings, etc. They will need different types of employees in different places. This means that even companies that are growing rapidly are, at the same time, conducting layoffs. That has become a common feature in our economy today. To conclude, even if you have a full-time job, there is no security associated with it.
WORKS VERSUS JOBS
Mulcahy makes an interesting distinction between jobs and work. A while back, Mulcahy wrote a Harvard Business Review article about why she tells her MBA students to look for work, not jobs. So, what is the difference between the two? A job fits the more traditional way of thinking of work. It is a full-time job. You have a full-time employee who is on the job and performing a variety of tasks. So, how do we define work? Mulcahy thinks that we should think about work by taking what used to be a job and breaking it into its component parts. In other words, it is taking that job and understanding what the tasks that represent that job are. Concretely, the question becomes: how do you break that into individual projects, assignments, and tasks that can be done by a variety of people?
Mulcahy provides the example of a VP of Marketing job and shows how you could aggregate that into a variety of work or a portfolio of work. Instead of a VP of Marketing, you would have a contract with a PR agency for crisis management, you might have an independent contractor who does marketing strategy, and helps you with product launches and different initiatives that you have.
Then, you would have different people, based on their specific expertise, who relate to the market or product that you are launching; for example, a social media contractor for a few hours a week. Traditionally, companies have organized their work into these full-time jobs that encompass all of these tasks. Going forward, Mulcahy believes that we will be seeing many more jobs that will be aggregated into a variety of projects, tasks, and assignments. Mulcahy concludes that work is going to look much different.
This exclusive content is part of ‘The Future of Work: Lessons from the Trenches of Corporate America’ | Download the eBook
Discussion with Peter Diamandis (Founder & Executive Chairman at XPRIZE)
High fixed costs modes of education are on the decline. The value of higher education has been severely diminished by its cost, the burden of student loan debt and its rapid obsolescence in a world characterized by rapid technological change.
Diamandis starts off by explaining the importance of having an abundance mindset. When asked about the source of his unbounded optimism, he tells us that he looks at the data from credible sources and ignores the news. The news media’s business model is built to attract people’s attention to their advertisers, and most of the content is negative in order to grab people’s attention.
Is higher education overrated?
Dr. Singh mentions Peter Thiel, and his idea that higher education is overrated and students would be better off dropping out and building their own startups. He asks Diamandis’ perspective, having trained at MIT and Harvard, and his thoughts on whether innovation is possible without a serious investment in higher education.
According to Diamandis,
“You know, I would say I use one per cent of what I learned in school today. Maybe that’s generous; maybe point one per cent.”
For Diamandis, what he learned in school was how to learn. He learned a lot of great ideas and vocabulary in aerospace that he would later use in his space companies. The most important attribute for any entrepreneur is having a vision, a passion, and what Diamandis calls a massively transformative purpose that can lead to a moonshot.
MASSIVELY TRANSFORMATIVE PURPOSE
Diamandis teaches and mentors in his Abundance 360 Community. He advises his community members to find their massively transformative purpose. He grew up being passionate about space, which resulted in solving the world’s biggest problems with XPRIZE and Singularity University around space and other pressing issues facing the human race. He says that his massively transformative purpose changes every five years or so, and right now, it is to inspire and guide entrepreneurs to create a more hopeful, compelling, and abundant future for humanity. He loves inspiring and helping them see the big world that they can solve, and how they can make the world a better place. Solving the world’s biggest problems, getting the biggest business Future of Work opportunities, even becoming a billionaire is in line with a world of abundance and creating wealth. It’s all about setting the right mindset.
He mentions the world’s greatest entrepreneurs: Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates. What was it that made them succeed? Was it the money they started with, the technology they first had, or their mindset?
Diamandis would argue and hopes everyone would agree, that it was most likely their mindset. If you took away their money and their technology but kept their mindset, they could rebuild their organizations. So, if the mindset is the most important thing for an entrepreneur, then for a leader, Diamandis asks this question – have you chosen your mindset? Do you work on building your mindset every day or do you just happen into it because of the random conversations or from the media around you?
Discussion with Jeffrey Schwartz (Former Senior Advisor at Deloitte, VP of Insights and Impact at Gloat)
As work processes are increasingly disrupted by technological change, adaptability and resilience are at a premium. Societies must invest in the enhancement of adaptability and resilience to support workforces.
In Schwartz’s book, Work Disrupted, he describes how 21st-century models are supplanting or significantly restructuring 20th-century work models, workforces, and workplaces.
For Schwartz, the future of work is here now, and being a leader in this field he has spent much of the last 15 years exploring and experimenting with the key pillars and components of the future of work. The shifts that he describes in the interview have been observed in most industries, such as retail, e-commerce, e-learning, and telemedicine.
Focusing on telemedicine, Schwartz believes that old ways of working and new ways of working were running in parallel, where they had the traditional way, along with new experiments. In 2020, the world was fused and each one of these experiments became our lifelines. Interestingly, the world saw a 10x increase in the adoption of telemedicine. Vaccines usually take a 10-year timeline to complete, and in the last year, the world has had multiple life sciences companies develop a COVID-19 vaccine is much less than a year. Using such use-cases, Schwartz advances the idea that the future of work is no longer a mere experiment, we are witnessing the future of work at both speed and scale. By doing things differently, we are gaining substantial advantages, giving us sufficient reason to give permanence to the new models of work.
NEW MAPS TO NAVIGATE THE FUTURE
Schwartz invokes Albert Einstein, reminding us that you can’t use an old map to explore a new world. Maps are valuable. Humans have been mapping as a species for tens of thousands of years, starting from putting maps on the walls of caves to carrying maps on digital supercomputers in our pockets.
What do we want to do? What directions do we want to set when it comes to the future of work?
These are interesting questions about the role of maps. They help us figure out what’s possible and how it looks, as well as help us focus on what choices we want to make, how fast we want to go, and how we’re going to take people on the journey with us.
The future is hard to predict, but we know more about the future than we let on, and the trends are relatively clear. We are not going back to the office routines we had before; a higher proportion of the population everywhere will be working in a hybrid way.
ADAPTABILITY AND RESILIENCE OD THE WORKFORCE
According to Schwartz, the main lesson he has observed around workforces in the COVID era is adaptability and resilience.
“The closer you got to the work, the more adaptability we saw and the more resilience that we saw. And, I’m hoping that that’s one of the big lessons that we bring forward, which is, how we invest in adaptability and resilience because it’s in adaptability that we can create.”
The closer you get to where the work is happening in the hospital, in grocery stores, and in labs where the development of vaccines is happening, the level of adaptability of workers is off the charts. The further away you get from the work and the more you get into management is where we see a little bit less adaptability.
NEW MENTAL MODELS
In the book, an illustration by Tom Fishburn, a business cartoonist, depicted a father asking his teenage daughter about what three or four dozen things she would like to do during her lifetime. This is the future version of the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”.
The traditional three-box model of getting educated, getting trained, and getting a job in your career is a linear career path. You get to have a clear set of gates that you go through. Schwartz believes that the new mental model of the future is having a career as a portfolio of lifelong reinvention – not just a career with work, not just a collection of experiences, and not just lifelong learning. It is an opportunity to think about a portfolio of ongoing reinvention.
According to Schwartz,
“What other species in the world get to reinvent themselves the way that we do as humans? We have this gift of longevity. How do we use that longevity in a training world?”
Job transitions, integrating work, learning, and personal pursuits become parts of that ongoing reinvention. Schwartz emphasizes education – not just education at the beginning of our lives, but education throughout our lives. There are implications for us as individuals, and implications for business leaders to form combinations of learning at work and personal pursuits into what they do. It also has implications for public policy in terms of job transitions and safety nets.
Discussion with Matt Mullenweg (CEO, Automattic)
Remote work is here to stay. Centralized models of management are being replaced by decentralized modes. The ability to manage distributed teams will be a critical competency going forward.
With a large population of the world’s workforce working remotely, managing distributed teams have become a skill for leaders and managers. When talking about the advantages of working from home, terms like autonomy and agency are often used from a philosophical perspective. How does this relate to work both as an individual and from a collective perspective?
For Mullenweg, these concepts are orthogonal; he describes an example of employers having their workforce work from home, but still being the worst micromanagers. He also points out that there are platforms used as surveillance over people, like having a webcam on and taking screenshots of the person’s screen, which can all be intrusive compared to being in an office.
Mullenweg suggests that whether you are in an office or not, employers should first hire the best people they can find and then manage up. He mentions Reid Hoffman and Patty McCord’s concept of maintaining a high-talent density. Increase that talent density, give people meaningful work opportunities, and let them work autonomously. However, employers should continuously support their talents by getting them the training, the hardware, the software, whatever they need.
According to Mullenweg,
“If you have smart, motivated people working autonomously, those teams will outrun more top-down managed teams, and more sort of micromanaging teams every day of the week.”
DISTRIBUTED TEAMS… IS THERE STILL A HIERARCHY?
When thinking about the organizational structure and hierarchy concerning distributed companies, are companies forced to adopt more of a flat structure or is there still room for some hierarchy?
Mullenweg believes that distributed companies allow transparency to happen internally, asynchronously with managers catching up with their teams and asking questions like “What did you do this week?” and “What are your challenges?” All of this can happen asynchronously. Leaders can ingest a lot of information, synthesize it, and communicate it in a sort of secret manner.
CREATING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
When we think about the future of work, the challenge of hiring and recruiting is central to an enterprise. For Mullenweg, the most important thing in order to improve the quality of people in a company is to look at a wider pool. If people can have access to the world’s best talent, they’ll be able to hire better people. The democratization of education and information has removed the barrier from hiring the best talents in different parts of the world, and the only existing barrier right now is that people can be limited more by their lack of motivation rather than by their access to education.
Another important thing to note is that companies should provide everyone an equal opportunity, which Mullenweg says is very powerful for the world. Many people are smart and talented in the world, even without access to the best universities or having the traditional credentials that they might think are essential to landing a job. If companies can create an equal opportunity for everyone, hire them, and get them the right training, it will be a benefit for the employee, the company, and the whole economy.
Mullenweg ends the conversation with the topic of compassion and optimism. As the world is going through challenges with the pandemic, and as everyone is trying to figure out how to optimize their work, it is important to be reminded of the importance of being kind and compassionate, both in public and in private struggles.
“This is an opportunity to reimagine things that you’ve done by default for a long time or just did it that way today because that’s how you did it yesterday.”
People have been forced out of their daily routines, and what used to work when people were limited to working inside their offices is no longer applicable for most industries. People should take this opportunity to come up with the best solutions, driven by collaboration and innovation, which would lead to better outcomes for tomorrow.
Discussion with Chris Fussell (President, McChrystal Group)
Although there are many challenges afoot, there is also reason to be optimistic about the future of work. Human beings are incredibly resilient in the face of change and this is increasingly evident now.
The future of work has become a major strategic focus for organizations over the past year, with a lot of challenges put into the spotlight in global conversations and organizations figuring out solutions to these problems. Fussell describes himself as a long-term optimist, and his hope is that the lessons in the past year will help us to move forward.
The ability to normalize remote communication is something the McChrystal Group, as a consulting firm, has been beating the drum about for over a decade as Fussell believes that this was critical for what happened in the military. Stan McChrystal took the traditional centralized set of units in the military and applied the learnings to the business world. In the military, he took small teams and scattered them around the world in a very short order. In the business world, he took these lessons of leadership to create digital leaders.
“[Y]ou have to learn to be a leader for the organization through this medium because we may never be in the same room.”
To be able to blend those two very quickly is traditionally a hard technique for a lot of organizations to adopt. This year has been an excellent forcing function, and a very unfortunate situation to drive this behavior shift, which Fussell thinks will have a good long-term impact.
BUILDING A TEAM OF TEAMS
Teams of teams is foremost an idea of communication and underscores the importance of information flow across silos and functional groups. Fussell doesn’t focus a lot on organizational structure. He looks at a person’s job, gets a sense of how they think in terms of their business function, and makes it a point to understand how it really works, which is different from what’s on paper. Fussell emphasizes that there need to be changes around processes, along with how teams coordinate, share information, and make decisions.
The world is changing, and it’s much faster and more complex, so leaders have to learn from that environment and start adapting their own processes of how to communicate and share information. What worked for Fussell and his team is that the way they communicated was the tip of the iceberg, and that there were plenty of things that came underneath that. Stan McChrystal and other senior leaders made a very deliberate decision to accelerate the rate of communication, and it sped up to become increasingly transparent and inclusive of who was part of it.
It then became a very honest, small, group-type conversation on a massive scale. It was a very aggressive approach because they studied their problem and they knew how quickly their problem was changing, which was every 24 hours, 7 days a week, and they had to match that pace.
Given what is going on in the world over the past year, Fussell offers his own reflections having lived through nations that suffered greatly under different circumstances.
“There’s a resilience in humanity that we all can easily underestimate.”
As Fussell has mentioned in the beginning of the conversation, he deeply believes that at the end of the day, the vast majority of people, regardless of politics or ideology, want to come home to those they love, see the people they feel safe with, and continue to have a good life. The level of connectedness that exists among families, among communities, and among nations is broadly universal in his experience, and that drives a resilience inside all of us to get back to what that normal life looks like.
Fussell is highly optimistic because he believes in our desire as people to remain connected to those we love among our families and communities, and this will see us through in this crisis, just as it has in times of previous mass change and disruption.
Discussion with Mark Cuban (Entrepreneur & Investor)
Whenever there is change, there is an opportunity for entrepreneurial leadership. The advent of technologies such as AI is providing a space in which entrepreneurs are charting a path forward for the US economy.
AI, JOBS, AND TAXING ROBOTS
When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, there has been a lot of trepidation around robots taking our jobs, with many professionals facing displacement through automation. Cuban has a company called Hirebotics, which is located in Kansas CIty, and they have welding machines and welding robots, and they charge what you would charge to hire a welder.
Cuban suggests the idea of a robotics tax–taxing AI machines by the hour like we would do with human employees. Part of the percentage of the tax could go toward research and development, while another part would go to Social Security to pay for future programs. The tax we put on robots would help pay for programs like tracking, tracing, testing, or long-term care and support for those who are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
Federally supported organizations like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, which allow hiring for community projects, would also benefit from a robotics tax by subsidizing these jobs that are a lot more community-driven than traditional jobs in some interim period of disruption. In the long term, Cuban is affirmative that it will work out because the whole infrastructure and ecosystem for robots require a whole lot more, from real estate to programming or whatever job it may be.
THE IMPACT OF IMMIGRANTS ON THE U.S. ECONOMY
The U.S. is a hub for creative innovation, built on the backs of immigrants, with 45% of Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or their kids and resulting in millions of jobs being created. This has contributed substantially to the GDP in the U.S. economy. In spite of this, there have been increasing restrictions that are engineered by Steven Miller and others in the Trump White House to phase out immigration.
According to Cuban, the best feature of the U.S. compared to other countries, and what gives us the biggest advantage, is the entrepreneurial spirit that the nation has. He strongly opposes restrictions against immigrants, noting that the reason why so many immigrants come to the U.S. in the first place is that it provides the environment to start, run, and scale a business.
If people are too afraid of the influx of immigrants taking the jobs available in the U.S., Cuban mentions that leaders should focus on supporting them by providing the untrained with the training they need in order to get better jobs. It is easier to provide subsidies for these people instead of losing all the upsides by not bringing great talent into the country.
Cuban makes us aware of how smart businesses do it; they hire slow and fire fast. Find the best people and talent and don’t let them go, and if they happen to be immigrants, there shouldn’t be a problem. If leaders are concerned about making Americans better at competing with immigrants, they should invest more in education and make our systems stronger.
ADVICE TO ENTREPRENEURS
For the people who have been struggling with the effects of the global pandemic, Cuban sheds light on the importance of thinking ahead and having great communication.
“[T]ake all your stakeholders, employees, shareholders, vendors, customers, and prospects, be brutally honest, communicate early, communicate often, be authentic, and be transparent.”
See what is best for your business, make the decision, and run your business in order to give yourself an edge. He also mentions the importance of being agile and being innovative in this day and age as the world is going through a huge reset. He makes the prediction that 10 to 15 years from now, there are going to be a lot of companies that are world-class game changers, and that were created because of this pandemic. Large companies can’t be as agile as small businesses can, and with that, he encourages people not to be afraid to start a business. Every CEO and every entrepreneur goes through the process of innovation, starting from talking to their customers and their employees, and asking them for ideas on how you would do things differently.
Cuban concludes, “There will never be a better time in our lifetime, our kid’s lifetime, and hopefully, their kids’ lifetime to start a business than now.”
Change is the only constant. While there are profound disruptions to the world of work on the horizon, there is also the reason for optimism. Technological change provides the opportunity to improve the world of work. Increasingly, we will be freed from mundane, routine tasks by automation and AI. As a result, work will grow more humane as humans use skills like emotional intelligence, leadership, and teamwork that can never be automated.
Discussion with Punit Renjen (Global CEO, Deloitte)
After a year of disruption around the globe, technology alone won’t be enough to prepare people for the future of work and its uncertainties. This is not to say that technology won’t be important. As we move towards the uncertain future, we will see technology and work more intertwined than ever before. Organizations have accelerated automation and other emerging technologies to boost productivity, communication, and support workers’ well-being.
Interestingly, Renjen puts the focus on three things when asked about the future of work: purpose, potential, and perspective. These three are all essential human attributes that can humanize work and create a lasting value both for the workforce and the communities that organizations operate in.
Purpose serves as a foundation on which organizational values are built. Organizations should focus not only on economic values, but also social values. The potential of workers should be capitalized with upskilling and reskilling in order to navigate future disruptions better and boost agility within an organization. Perspective is the way that organizations see and approach things.
WorldClass is the social impact initiative by Deloitte, where the company seeks to empower fifty million people with education and skills by 2030 in the communities in which it is engaged. As a purpose-driven organization, Renjen tells us that they’re committed to making an impact for their clients, for their people, and for the communities they live and work in. Taking an example in their commitment to India, Renjen tells us that there are one hundred and seventy-five million women and children who are not educated, which means that they will not have access to the Future of Work opportunities offered by their rapidly developing country. In Papua New Guinea, Deloitte’s commitment is towards the seaweed farmers, educating them on the value that they’re creating in order to avoid exploitation.
The beauty of this is that in every community, Deloitte professionals are able to volunteer to impact their community in a positive way under the umbrella of WorldClass and under the umbrella of uplifting individuals through upskilling, reskilling, and education. Renjen sees the potential of these communities, and he has devoted himself and Deloitte to help them realize what they can do in order for them to improve the world around them in a fundamental way.
Renjen reminds us that while the pandemic has been very hard on all of us, he sees some flickering light at the end of the tunnel. He hopes that people are able to build back better, build back differently, and use the pandemic as an opportunity to reassess at an individual level and at the community level what their purpose is and how to make the world a better place.