4 tips for future-proofing your workforce

A white paper from AON explains how organisations can start preparing for the future world of work.

There is probably no hotter topic in HR than what the workplace of the future will be like. Technology has changed so much about the way we work that it has prompted us to start thinking ahead regarding how the evolution unfolds. While most millennials can’t imagine what work life was like before the internet and smartphones, the older generation will remember, even though few would have anticipated the impact that those innovations would have had. 

AON’s recently released white paper entitled Unlocking the Power in Your People explains how workforce planning in the digital age is not a challenge that should be left for future CHROs to solve. Rather, it is a real problem that organisations across all industries are struggling with today.

The paper recommends the following four actions that organisations can take as part of their effort to design jobs of the future and prepare for the future world of work. 

1 Examine your overall organisational and leadership structure
If nobody on your leadership team has been through a digital transformation, who can show your company the way? That is why the paper says it is important to note what organisational and leadership skills will be critical to business success and plan accordingly. That means looking closely at your leadership structure and the people in those roles to assess whether they have skills or capacity to learn the requisite skills and attributes necessary for future success. 

2 Consider how you can best fill high-value, emerging roles
If you already have the aforementioned skills internally, include those individuals in your succession plans. If not, create people analytics-driven processes to identify people who have the potential for building those skills. Also, have a presence in locations that will provide access to rich talent pools and be attractive to the people you would need. Lastly, makes sure your learning and development programs support and incentivise your people to develop their skills for the jobs of tomorrow.

3 Consider people's competencies and skills holistically
Adopt a talent model that evaluates the totality of the person's experience to determine how his or her skills will translate into business value. For example, consider whether the value of someone who understands Python but doesn't understand how your business makes money is equivalent to the value of someone who may not have the programming language skill set but understands your business.

4 Replace the career ladder with the climbing wall
Employees don't just move vertically up a ladder at an organisation anymore. As you develop your people strategy, think about skills and competencies in terms of a climbing wall. This is an apt metaphor in the digital age for understanding the way that people grow their skills through the lifecycle of their career. They move up but also over, acquiring new skills or experience. Make sure your rewards program is flexible enough to accommodate these kinds of moves.