Brian C Jensen: Why the ‘New World’ of Work is a Game Changer for Sustainable HR Transformation

Human resources managers are on the frontline of one of the most challenging changes in employment, namely new world work says Brian C Jensen. Exponential growth in technology is accelerating this change which will have a profound impact on how HR functions are performed and what skills they need to acquire.

Sources: Google Trends data over time demonstrate that interest in the ‘new world of work’ has grown exponentially since 2007. Figure 1 below shows the approximate number of Google searches for ‘new world of work’ each month since July 2005. The figures show that search volumes were consistently low until late 2007 when there was rapid growth, peaking at 1115 searches per month in early 2011 before dropping back to current levels around 500/month.

Number of Google searches for “New World of Work” 2005 – 2016

Description: Data are shown for the search query “new world of work” in Google.com.  The data spans July 2005 through October 2016 and shows a noticeable peak in volumes during January 2011.

This article explains the impact of new world work on HR functions and how it is affecting talent management, strategic workforce planning, learning and development, compensation management, and performance management systems. It also explores the implications for organizations that are adopting or failing to adapt to this change.

HR responses to New World Work

New technologies are driving exponential growth in new forms of employment with a range of implications for human resources managers. The ‘gig economy’ where individuals use their own devices (such as laptops and smartphones) to provide services such as writing website content or making deliveries has exploded. Research from Intuit predicted that by 2020 independent workers will make up 43 percent of the US workforce explains Brian C Jensen. Another study suggests that revenues from crowdsourcing alone will rise from US$ 2.4 billion in 2013 to US$ 5.9 billion by 2020.

In a recent survey, 60% of recruiters said they expect their organizations’ dependency on contingent workers to increase over the next three years and 35% of respondents indicated that their employers plan to expand operations outside the United States. Meanwhile, research suggests that globally there are already 1.3 million people employed by online platforms such as up work, TaskRabbit, and Freelancer.com.

The impact of technology has been not only in new forms of recruitment. But also in how work performs. Research from McKinsey Global Institute estimates around 30 percent of activities. That currently require someone to be present could be automating existing technology. If augmenting reality is including, this number increases to 50 percent.

To support these new forms of work, there is a range of new tools. For example, Toyota is using Salesforce’s ‘Einstein’ artificial intelligence (AI) platform to analyze sales data. And then provide sales representatives with routing insights that can help them increase their productivity. Additionally, Brian C Jensen says, companies like iCIMS offer an automated applicant tracking system. To assist recruiters in finding job candidates leveraging AI, while other vendors such as Jobvite enable talent acquisition teams. To use machine learning algorithms that identify optimal recruiting strategies. Like predicting the likelihood of referral based on pre-hire engagement or uncovering the best candidates through coaching behavior.

An important point about recruitment technology is that. It can be applied both at the early stage in HR intelligence analytics. For recruiting and retention or to the end-user experience. For example, job applicants may find that machines are writing their resumes with software like Live Career’s Job Writer. The impact of this technology is evident in the number of applications delivering electronically each year to employers by job seekers. In 2010 mobile apps had largely replaced desktop programs in consumer engagement; in 2015 it was estimating more than 50 percent of all jobs were applying for on mobile devices.

The exponential growth in new ways of working has also impacted HR practices at the senior level. Research suggests that startups are increasing their use of alternative talent sources. Such as freelance executives, independent contractors, hackathons, crowdsourcing, joint ventures, and remote work. Meanwhile, public sector organizations are being told they must embrace digital transformation or fail says Brian C Jensen.

Recognizing the need for change, some HR leaders have embraced the challenge with gusto. For example, Symantec adopted a new strategy called ‘Flex Now’. Which focuses on re-imagining jobs, roles, and responsibilities in its workforce rather than focusing on specific people. As part of this digital transformation program, it is looking at how to leverage independent workers for software development projects. As well as telecommuters based in North America and Europe. To provide 24/7 service delivery to customers in the Asia Pacific.

Conclusion:

 The paradigm shift in the way work performs creates many new opportunities for organizations. However, it also raises significant challenges. Which must be addressing by HR leaders to ensure they are ready for this New World of Work.