The Workforce Of The Future – Priti Jha From XLRI
Experiencing a plethora of opportunities and salvaging on different flavors would be the modus vivendi of the workforce in the years to come. More frequent shifts in industries, jobs, locations and companies would extensively be practiced by the upcoming working class. By far, the world has witnessed personalities who have acquired proficiency in a particular job for decades and went on to hold key leadership positions eventually. N. Chandrasekaran, current CEO of TCS being a prime example of the same. But this would not be the case in future. In the upcoming years, Job involvement would be similar to the present levels or may be more but the job satisfaction may go for a toss. Employees would want to experience new roles and responsibilities over the span of their career instead of attempting to scale new heights in one particular industry. People are not to be blamed for becoming so dicey on the jobs that they would take up. The gamut of opportunities would turn out to be too attractive to be ignored. Thus, Talent mobility in the next decade with the globally connected workspace would set the world stage for the competitive spirits to display their expertise in varied fields. The workforce in turn would have some of the qualities that will set them apart from the present scenario.
Most fundamental of all the qualities would be the prowess of Social Intelligence. The ability to connect with others in a deep and direct way to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions would be one of the key determinants of a person’s ability to become a leader and thus, rise in the levels of hierarchy of an organization. Not only does this ability help one make better connections at workplace but also ignites growth due to the good communicating abilities of the employee in public. It allows one to network more and get in touch with people equipped with different competencies. Social Intelligence would eventually demand a lot of New Media Literacy in the team. Deep connections within the team would generate a lot of ideas but the same coupled with New Media Literacy would give astonishing results for the organization. The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication is a quality that would extensively be honed by the upcoming generations of workforce. Connecting through face-to-face interactions has always been the most efficacious method of reaching the other party.
On the contrary, the new age technologies would require one to be tech-savvy and collaborate through all possible media. Social Intelligence and New Media Literacy would only prove to be beneficial if the individual is also competent in dealing with diverse cultures. Communicating within one’s comfort zone is certainly necessary but there lies another set of opportunistic crowd beyond our existing horizons. Hiring of foreign country nationals in key leadership positions exemplifies this. A vivid example of this is Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. This selection goes on to show that there aren’t any inhibitions on the part of companies in assigning key roles and responsibilities across talent pool from different cultures. Therefore, Cross-Cultural diversity is slowly gaining momentum across every nook and corner of the society and those days are not far off when the workforce would realize to a greater extent how vital it is to be Cross-Cultural competent.
Computational Thinking is often considered to be the testimony of one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ). It entails the ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract-yet-understandable concepts and to comprehend data based reasoning which may often seem like a jigsaw puzzle to someone who lacks this ability. With the inculcation of advanced concepts such as Big Data and Business Analytics, modern day professionals need to be adept with computational thinking. The present workforce does realize this but solely computational thinking won’t guarantee a person’s success in the long run. Instead there’s a lot more that an individual requires and one of many such qualities is Novel and Adaptive Thinking and this is slowly being realized by the new generation too.
Great Indian leaders like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi didn’t just woo the masses with their efficient mechanisms of attaining freedom but were also hugely admired because of their noble thinking. Gandhiji could adapt himself in all sorts of circumstances and overcame all odds with flying colors. These leaders were the epitome of adaptability since they lived in absolutely contrasting environments and yet came out as the most striking personalities of their generation. Similar skills would be attempted by the workforce of the future who in an attempt to try new tasks would not mind crossing borders and living with new people and being rational in dealing with them even if promoting one of them costs them the defeat of someone from their own landscape.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None might be a concept which wasn’t that appealing in the yesteryears but in future, Trans-disciplinary skills would help an individual in gaining favoritism among all employees in an organization. The literacy and the ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines helps an individual in governing diverse arena in his company and is also a contributing factor in achieving leadership positions. Thus, the workforce of the future, being more competitive, more enthusiastic about experiencing new flavors would endorse trans-disciplinary expertise to a great extent.
In the modern day workplace what has become a common phenomenon is the HR encouraging employees to change their preferred field of operations after a certain period of functioning in the said field as because today any big company with multi-country operations (or in some cases even multi-continent operations) has a host of portfolios that its business is spanned over. Therefore, in order to become an effective leader one has to have exposure that comes with working in various fields and not just confining one’s role to a particular portfolio. This is of late being realized by the evolving workforce and such thoughts will keep gaining momentum in future too. While changing job roles every once in a moderately long while may keep the employee enthusiastic about his work, in view of diversifying one’s expertise, one may sometimes end up on an absolutely different landscape that may not be beneficial to the employee even in the rarest of circumstances in his career.
Therefore, Cognitive Load Management would play a key role here. Despite trans-disciplinary behavior helping in keeping the employee zest remain piqued all the time, the ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques would be a widely practiced approach of the workforce, ensuring that one is on the right path.
After discussing at length about the anticipated ideologies of workforce of the future, the conclusion drawn is that in the decades to come, the workforce would become more complete and sound than what it is today. Even the aspects that are considered trivial presently, would be harbored and implemented with expertise. This would eventually make the organization more competitive, profitable and in demand. Thus, these would be some of the shades of personality of the workforce of the future.
About the Author:
Priti Kumari Jha