An analysis by Forbes and the World Economic Forum reveals that the future workplace, especially the human resources department, will have to focus on and invest in the following:
Technology and robotics: In the next two to three years, it is likely that 85 per cent companies will be actively using big data analytics and internet of things. They will be comfortable using app-based and web-enabled markets and will make wide use of cloud computing. About 37 to 23 per cent of organisations are seriously planning to invest in robotics. It is time for the HR departments to reduce manual work and focus more on digitalisation.
New talent sourcing and acquisition strategies: It is expected that 59 per cent of organisations will alter the manner of production and distribution and even change their geographical location of operations. The primary consideration for the same will be the availability of skilled local talent. The HR departments will have to discard the conventional ways of sourcing and acquiring talent, and focus on workforce planning.
Creation of new jobs: While half the organisations surveyed feel that automation will result in a shrinking of the workforce within the next two years, about 38 per cent of organisations feel the workforce will expand to include new roles. The HR departments will also have to re-examine their present roles and operations structures and see how they will be able to fulfil future needs.
Shift in required skills: With emerging and advancing technologies, and increasing rate of automation, most of the organisations surveyed are certain that, within the next two to three years, there will be a distinct shift in the skills required to perform jobs. The proportion of core skills needed to do a task or job that will remain unchanged, that is, the global average skills stability, will most likely increase to about 58 per cent. This implies that there will be an average shift of 42 per cent in the required workforce skills over the 2018–2022 period. In addition to other responsibilities, the HR departments will have to focus on collaborating or entering into partnerships in the primary and continued education space.
Human-machine interface: While the majority of the tasks were being done by humans a year ago, by 2022, it is expected that there will be a marked shift. Last year, on an average, 71 per cent of the work hours across the industries surveyed were attributed to manual work, done by humans, whereas machines performed 29 per cent of the work. It will be a challenge for HR to integrate and ensure an appropriate and balanced human-machine experience.
Demand for data analysts and scientists: In the times to come, there will be more demand for data analysts, scientists, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social-media specialists. There will also be a demand for people in the areas that require ‘human interaction’, namely customer service, organisational culture, sales and marketing, organisational development, innovation, as well as training and development. With more demand for core human skills, the HR departments will also have to look out for new attributes.