Today’s workplace is the most multi-generational the world has seen, with up to five different generations working together – each with different skills, experiences, work habits and motivations. Most organisations recognise that today’s employees are evidently different than they were ten, five, or even three years ago. However, according to Workforce 2020 (a sweeping global survey of more than 5,400 executives and employees in 27 countries conducted by the Oxford Economics Group), they don’t understand how or what makes employees tick.

Organisations lack comprehensive strategies to manage change

It is predicted that by 2020, Millennials will represent more than 75% of the workforce. This new generation is significantly different from past workforce generations in certain key ways. Having grown up in the digital age, they are technology savvy and their worldview challenges management thinking across multiple dimensions, including: what information we share; the ways in which information is shared; how brands are perceived; how we buy and consume; and how we work.

Millennials are looking for more flexibility in where, when and how much they work, placing greater importance on a work-life balance compared to the non-millennial generations that are found to be more concerned with pay and opportunities for development. They are also looking for more opportunities for global work and believe that a strong team-oriented culture within the work place is important. Organisations will need to adapt to the shift in employee values and attitudes that will accompany the future representation of the workforce, with the major proportion being employees of the millennial generation.

To truly optimise the workforce, organisations need a comprehensive yet flexible strategy that is fully integrated with all other business processes. To get and stay ahead of the competition, businesses must be able to innovate and adapt their processes quickly to capitalise on new trends and market shifts. Most importantly, it is essential that they ensure that these processes – and business technologies – are tightly integrated across all functions, so that business can be flawlessly executed anywhere, anytime from any device. 

The Workforce 2020 survey revealed that most companies lack both comprehensive strategies and flexibility. While 53% of executives say workforce development is a key differentiator for their firm, they say they do not have the tools and organisational processes to support that insight. From a skills perspective, just 38% say that they have ample data about their workforce to understand their strengths and potential vulnerabilities. Only 39% say that they use quantifiable metrics and benchmarking as part of their workforce development strategy. Finally, only 42% say that they know how to extract meaningful insights from the data available to them.

Organisations need to be prepared to keep a competitive edge

When it comes to preparing for the ‘future of work’, knowledge is power. Knowing that tomorrow’s workforce will be more diverse and work differently from the past allows organisations to better understand their needs and how to respond to workplace challenges ? enabling them to be prepared for the inevitable changes within their organisation.

Organisational change is the key to success in today’s digital world. By being prepared and having change management processes in place, organisations can train employees to be innovative in ways that will delight customers and generate profit.