In August I was privileged to be invited to join a panel of experts on the future of work at a Dell research workshop. It was a great day as we debated and explored what the new world of work would look like in the future and what the generational impact would be.
Dell has just released the results of the study and they make for interesting reading. There are ten key findings and I’ve listed the executive summary below:
Dialogue with our experts revealed how the impact of the trends is potentially contributing in a number of ways to a polarization of the workforce and increased tensions between diff erent employee groups, as well as between employers and the workforce. The degree to which these tensions exist today and how they might intensify tomorrow, as well as how tensions could be pre-empted or overcome, provides a great deal of rich insight to further deepen our understanding of the trends.
1) The Generation Divide
Being a digital native does not necessarily translate into higher demand for the Consumerization of IT. Many Generation X employees also have a healthy appetite for new technology that needs to be satisfi ed, as well as the infl uence and seniority for their voices to be heard. Younger, more junior workers, despite being digital natives, may be more eager to ‘conform’ and less willing to rock the boat.
2) Suspicious Minds
Mistrust between employers and employees is holding us back from embracing new technologies and working practices. Transparency and a constant dialogue may have to underpin any process changes.
3) Access to the digital world
The choice of devices and operating systems will become more of a personal and situational preference, rather than a technological necessity, as the move to cloud computing gives more choice in how we access the digital world. Form factor will become secondary, although still important, as the portal through which information is accessed.
The increase in use of Crowdsourcing and Crowdsource services will continue to push compatibility to the forefront of IT challenges. Employees and employers across the world will need to work seamlessly together and any technological hurdles that present obstructions will be heavily resented.
5) Are we ready for employee-led innovation?
The benefi ts of employee-led innovation are fi nely balanced with the challenges they present, and companies will have to find a way to overcome these and support new ideas if they are ever to truly exploit the advantages.
6) What’s it worth?
As the shift to a knowledge-based economy continues, the means to measure productivity is becoming ever more challenging. The
role that IT can play in this is still to be determined, but could be signifi cant.
7) IT Managers…the next generation
CIOs are often seen as the barrier to technology advances as they must balance the need for evolution with the inherent security risks
and any budget constraints. Rapid advances in technology require a new breed of ‘nimble’ IT Managers, who proactively integrate
developments into an organization rather than delay and block the transition.
8 ) A company divided?
The increase in Crowdsourcing and changing working patterns mean groups of people are often brought together for a single task and
then disbanded. This makes it increasingly diffi cult for companies to build a unifi ed workforce, sharing common values and goals.
9) The new generational conflict
The idea of intergenerational confl ict is nothing new, but as the speed of technological advancement increases, are we beginning to see
the fi rst signs of an intra-generational confl ict, where a divergence of technological interest and ability is rife amongst peers?
10) Simplification and segregation of expertise
As IT applications allow workers to carry out increasingly sophisticated tasks with simple IT devices and interfaces, we question whether
the notion of specifi c areas of expertise and knowledge become redundant, or whether they will shift to a higher plateau.
You can download the full research results here Dell Evolving Workforce