Future of Work: 5 Trends to Know in 2018

  • 1 December 2017
  • Expert Insights

1. Grow or Die in Fast-Paced Markets

Once upon a time, people learned and followed simple step-by-step workflows. Whether in the factory or on the farm, our predecessors performed the same basic tasks over and over again.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, new technologies replace old ones at an alarming rate (especially for older generations). Tech corporations, which must compete fiercely to survive, need to grow fast. Those that grow faster than 60% are 8 times more likely to grow from 9 to 10 figures (in revenue). Companies that grow slowly (under 20%) are 92% more likely than others to go out of business in just a few years.

Grow Fast or Die Slow – McKinsey

As companies constantly re-tool to stay on the cutting edge of profitability, they must invest in (and constantly update) digital workplaces, cloud platforms, and employee tech skills.

We will be training students a little differently in the future to keep up with the pace of technology. The big discussion now is on the impact that disruptive technologies (e.g., machine learning, artificial intelligence) may have…– Dr. Shawn Mauldin, CPA

2. Constantly Acquire & Update Technology

By 2020, Software as a Service (SaaS) will account for 25% of all software. Traditional packaged software will make up only 10% of fresh enterprise installations.

New companies are edging out the old at an ever-increasing rate. To future-proof your business, you must dedicate a significant portion of your resources to looking ahead. Yes, you can use technology to optimize your efficiency and automate your processes – but those very processes can quickly become obsolete.

Mathias Rosenthal/123RF

You may acquire new technology by updating your SaaS platforms. You may pour resources into market research to learn what today’s hottest startups can teach you. You may invest in headhunting, attracting, and keeping top talent in your R&D departments. You may even acquire technology (and the innovators who create it) through direct acquisitions and mergers.

We look forward to welcoming the Trooly team [digital background-check specialists] to Airbnb in the coming weeks. [July 16, 2017] Tim Rathschmidt, Airbnb

3. Welcome the Millennial Workforce

Over the last couple of years, millennials have become the majority generation in the U.S. workforce. It’s time to adjust to these professionals’ new attitudes towards work, lifestyle, and technology.

According to an Indeed poll, these workers are least likely to choose repetitive jobs susceptible to elimination via automation (such as construction, transportation, administration, and sales). Younger workers’ interest in these occupations equals 52%, considerably less than Gen Xers (55%) and Baby Boomers (61%).

Indeed Poll

Millennials tend toward jobs that require creativity and human interaction – and are less likely to be replaced by robots. Likewise, your company stands a better chance of surviving technological change and innovation cycles by focusing on these hard-to-quantify “human touch” intangibles.

[Automation-proof careers] often involve managing and developing people…decision-making and strategic planning, or creative work Mariano Mamertino, Indeed Economist

4. Engage with Your Customers Where They Are

Nothing separates young people from older people like their easy (and early) adoption of technology. According to a recent study, 25% of older people say they never use certain computer functions in their daily life; only 1% of younger people said the same.

In today’s high-tech marketplace, you must engage with your digital audience in their digital environments.

Wang Tom/123RF

For example, if you create a software product, devote massive resources to greeting your customers and showing you understand their needs. Test and optimize your User Experience (UX) metrics and ensure your product(s) interface seamlessly with your users’ other apps and devices. Companies that understand the humans who use their products will survive and thrive as businesses offering bare-bones go the way of the dodo.

Remember, whether in the cloud, via subscription services, on social media, or nested into the Internet of Things (IoT), you must present your brand to your audience in the places, formats, and communication styles) they most prefer.

Where before you might have sold a customer a $1 million piece of hardware, now you might be selling them $1 million worth of service on a monthly basis over three years Meredith Bronk, Open System Technologies CEO

5. Embrace Real-Time Workplace Analytics

Both corporations and government agencies benefit greatly from lightning-fast feedback. Manufacturing companies and Agile managers use these metrics to optimize production, productivity, and resource usage. Service and non-profit organizations can get instant feedback from customers – and respond immediately to ever-changing user needs.

For example, the City of Chicago’s WindyGrid real-time analysis system collects 7 million pieces of data each day from city departments.

Whether you’re mapping city services, industrial plant logistics, or marketing funnels, leveraging the vast amount of data available to your organization can mean the difference between bankruptcy and billions.

Most of the data we have is very stove-piped right now, so we see this migration to the cloud and this migration to enhanced platforms as a way for us to be able to better share data, better analyze data Karen Jackson, Virginia Secretary of Technology

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