United Kingdom


  • Service: Advisory, Management Consulting, Insights, P3
  • Type: Business and industry issue, Publication series
  • Date: 01/07/2013

The importance of corporate connectivity in tomorrow’s workplace 

The importance of corporate connectivity in tomorrow’s workplace

In ten years time, I believe that the single most important and noticeable attribute of our workforce will be employee connectivity: the forming of interpersonal relationships through personal and professional networks across various communities (online or offline) and in wider society. We are already seeing the value of the internet to businesses and individuals because of its resultant connectivity through networking with regard to recruitment and business success. But I think that this trend will be even more important in determining the success of businesses and individuals as employees or contractors.

As the latter years of Gen X enter the workplace, followed by Gen Y and Gen Z/“Millennials” that will follow, I think that we will continue to see a growing change in mindset at all levels of business and society in the importance that connectivity will have in driving personal, professional, business and community development. Employees no longer want to stay at one organisation for their career; they will want roles that are closely tailored to their professional interests as they develop, progress and evolve.

Consultancy-style careers

There will no longer be standard “careers” but more of a consultancy-style career model, where projects and roles therein, rather than standard job roles, are posted on networking and recruitment sites. Progression will be about using that connectivity through those networks to find interesting work where an individual is motivated to develop their skills as opposed to just moving up the company ladder.

A recent survey found that 80% of companies surveyed said that they were currently using or are planning to use social media to find and recruit candidates this year . As time goes on and the importance of this portfolio style of working increases, the emphasis on connectivity will almost certainly rise in the workplace and become more embedded than it is now. In order to remain relevant, and retain the ability to attract the best talent, businesses will have to modify their recruitment and employee communication models so they can find the skills they need through this hyper-connected environment.

Because of this heightened connectivity, businesses will also need to radically rethink how they retain, develop and reward people. As a result the HR function will be looked upon to provide solutions to meet this developing trend in a hyper-connected business world. 


No 'off' button

In the hyper-connected workplace, the distinction between “work” and “life” is likely to become more blurred, with no “off” button at the end of the working day. We are already seeing the emergence of multi-faceted positions in the workplace, especially with stronger links to community organisations and more support for family units. This will continue to grow, shifting from being a privilege to a workplace requirement.

These changes will likely bring about a change in the psychological contract between an employee and employer and thus, create more adult-to-adult relationships in the workplace, built on mutual trust and loyalty where productivity is measured in agreed outputs. Furthermore, those agreed outputs will not need to be constrained or limited by geographic location like an office. Increases in connectivity will lead to increased workforce mobility.

This is not to say that everyone will be working from home, but the commute as we know it will have less relevance for employees. Nonetheless, a physical workplace will still need to be redefined by companies and could take many forms. An example is working in a social space like a coffee shop or shared meeting room spaces where multiple businesses can be operating under one roof.


The end of recruitment agencies

Increased connectivity in the workplace will bring about significant changes not just to business models, but more importantly in the manner of recruitment to that business. As an example, consider the way in which LinkedIn’s “People You May Want to Hire” algorithm already provides its premium user base with a highly tailored search function to pick and choose candidates. The implication for traditional recruitment agencies is that as more sophisticated technology like this continues to emerge, we can expect that recruitment agencies as we know them will become obsolete within the next ten years.

Job seekers will also be affected and will “have to get with the times”. The way in which they connect and network with others - both online and offline - will play an ever more important role as it will dictate their success in both gaining interesting work and job satisfaction.


Honest communications

A likely consequence of this is that in the future, organisations will also need to be far more transparent and honest in their communications to their employees, especially around their reward packages, if they are to continue to instil trust in the company and maintain its reputation. In addition to increased connectivity we will see other widespread changes, such as flexible working. Today’s companies that have this are generally seen as being more in touch with their workforce.

From websites such as GlassDoor, we can already see how easy it is to find this type of information online and suppressing it could create an employee engagement and recruitment backlash. 

The pervasiveness of social media and technology has encouraged individuals and organisations to develop an online presence and to be connected now. Looking to the future, both parties need to stay abreast of the requirements demanded of each other in order to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace. For employers this will mean being fully attuned (or “connected”) to the needs of their workforce in order to maximise engagement of their future and current employees, and for job seekers and employees, building their professional network and remaining virtually connected which will  lead to better work opportunities.


Ingrid Waterfield is Reward Senior Manager at KPMG in the UK

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Ingrid WaterfieldIngrid Waterfield

Senior Manager, Reward

KPMG in the UK


020 7694 8027

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