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.
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.
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.
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