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The future of the organisation 3

The future of the organisation 3

How technology and the multigenerational workforce are shaping the future of work

The age of organisational change is upon us, with even more fast-paced, vigorous changes set to hit organisations in the years to come. Technology, disruption, connectedness and globalisation are just a handful of the forces driving the future of work. 

For my third article in "The future of the organisation" article series, I spoke with Mel Newton, Partner in KPMG’s People Consulting team in the UK, about the future of work in TMT organisations. Mel is an expert in organisational change and workforce transformation and advises clients on workforce, learning and HR solutions designed to address key people and talent issues to drive business performance.

We are soon going to have five generations in the workforce coupled with the introduction of new technologies. What does this mean for the future of work?

The speed of change is really increasing on both technology and the wider population. Technology, RPA, artificial intelligence, connectivity everywhere, data everywhere and workplace design are all having an impact on the way we work.

We also have the demands of five generations in the workplace at the same time, and that is exacerbated by life cycle events. So having children or an elderly parent, or being twenty and entering the workplace - all have an impact on when and where you want work. Disruption is really increasing now.

Historically TMT organisations have really found it quite easy to attract talent, being creative and innovative. How does an organisation continue to attract and retain top talent in today’s world?

We are finding that organisations need to think outside of the box of just the package offering and having to think about whether the brand values of the organisation fit their own personal values. They are considering questions such as “am I going to have an opportunity to develop my skills in the short term? What are the roles you’re going to offer me? Have I got access to the latest technology?”. These are all becoming very important things in attracting and retaining talent.

How does the future of work lend itself to the diversity agenda that organisations are trying to focus on right now?

In the future of work, we are focusing much more on capability, it is about individual capabilities. We are less worried about the hours that people work in the office, where they work or how they dress. This enables us to attract and retain a wider selection of the population, as well as attract women back to work, for example, after raising a family. It gives us many opportunities to look at other areas of the population that we haven’t focused on to date.

Connectivity today enables us to set up people to be able to work from pretty much anywhere. This enables organisations to extend the reach outside of the big cities into pretty much anywhere you want to work anytime.

What role does technology play in the future of work?

Technology has a role in two ways. Firstly, is the introduction of RPA and AI. Whilst they are taking away the repetitive tasks and administrative tasks from people’s roles, they are also creating opportunities for creation of completely new roles and careers for people in organisations. Secondly, it enables people to have access to data, applications and systems in a secure way petty much anywhere and anytime.

There is a lot for organisations to grapple with, where do they start?

You must start with business strategy, only then can you start to think how the organisation supports this. The shape of the organisation, the planning of the workforce and, crucially, the culture of trust that you create are important to deliver the business outcomes, no matter where people are sitting and working.

What are the skills that an organisation needs to respond to new ways of working?

Crucially organisations need to stop thinking about roles, grades and titles, and focus on the individual capabilities that people need to fulfil the work that they’re being asked to do. This is a fundamental shift in the way businesses think about things. It makes us much more agile, it also means that we can move people from role to role in a much quicker and more agile way.

How is KPMG helping organisations look at the challenge of the future of work?

At KPMG, we work with organisations to understand their business strategy and to develop a supporting workforce management strategy that covers shaping, planning, sourcing, resourcing, and the cultural elements of it. We also help organisations to build their own capability and capacity to be able to execute workforce management on an ongoing basis, which comes partly from HR but is generally driven by the business.

If you would like to explore how for HR leaders can reposition themselves as new strategic leaders within the organisation in the light of digital disruption, download “The future of HR in the technology sector” publication. 

Watch the next interview: