Putting aside for a moment the significant personal and social impact of COVID-19 and focusing on the world of work, we will look back on 2020 as a year of revolution and change. The workforce trends that we had been seeing over the last few years and were predicting to revolutionise work over the next 5-10 years, have suddenly hit, with a very effective case for change that not even the most conservative of CEOs can ignore. 

The individual impacts of digital advance - proliferation of data and resultant risk, technological change, increased expectations of benefit realisation, together with socio-economic trends such as reduced career planning horizons, 100 year life and the emergence of workplaces have combined to make this a pivotal moment for the
world of work.

KPMG’s sequel to the ‘Rise of the Humans’ series - Reinventing work – is a thought-provoking viewpoint, exploring the new reality we face in the workplace.  Whilst some of us may not fully recognise or embrace AI (Artificial Intelligence) as a concept, we are surely all experiencing the widespread advances in RPA (robotic process automation).  This could be seen as the equivalent of the introduction of ‘macros’ some 30 years ago alongside the idea that we would have a paperless office and work 3 days per week!  

We have been working with clients from a range of sectors to address three key developments in the world of work which feature in this paper:

  1. Atomisation of roles into underlying skills – combined with discussions about future employment models.  In a virtual world, we will move away from a standard 40 hours per week which often fills people’s time with people management tasks they are not well suited to, and instead employing for the deep and in-demand capabilities people do have for the hours they are needed.
  2. “If an organization merely automates tasks within existing work and organisational structures, suboptimal outcomes tend to follow.” We have a unique opportunity for reinvention and organisations who fundamentally rethink their purpose and market approach, and enable this through the redesign of operating models will be the winners in the near future – not just long-term.
  3. The need to develop digital mindsets – this is as much about allaying fears of AI and engaging in the practical operational gains that can be made by embracing robotics and automation.  This will allow us to focus on the value add thinking and tasks we are designed for.  Ensuring that the culture and approach to learning is designed to support this digital design-based way of thinking will also be a key differentiator
    for UK businesses.

This is all about opening ourselves up to the possibilities that a more digital environment can offer us and embracing the case for change that the world is now facing, to redesign the work we do and the way we do it.

Mel Newton

Partner, Insurance and Workforce Transformation

KPMG in the UK