Over the past decade we have experienced the shift of ownership to access model. For many decades organizations and consumers had a strong preference for ownership, the concept of owning a space or a product. Shared office spaces and collocated teams has been the norm. Talent pool is disproportionally skewed based on the location and opportunities. Organizations focused on hiring talented individuals to make breakthrough innovations, scientific discoveries and to spur growth. In September 2009, G20 Leaders called for putting quality jobs at the heart of the recovery and committed to implementing recovery plans that support decent work, help preserve employment and prioritize job growth. By 2020, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia constituted for nearly 70 percent of high-skilled migrants. The wage gap between low– and high–skilled workers and limited talent pool for the companies to hire based on their physical location triggered never-ending debate on immigration policies. Employers are stifled with limited talent at the location they operate while employees are uncertain about their future in terms of residency and stability. For decades the United States has attracted some of the best and brightest. Now some are starting to see the reverse happen.
While this is happening, we have experienced something that is transformational and defined access model aka as “shared economy”:
- Digital assistant in lieu of personal assistant – Siri or Alexa provides an effective personal assistant to find information, perform tasks and send messages.
- Home-like experience on vacations – Airbnb connects hosts and travelers and facilitates the process of renting without owning any rooms itself.
- Digital music economy without physical CDs – Spotify connects artists with fans to drive music discovery on a scale that has never before existed.
Organizations should take a page from this playbook to facilitate the access of talent pool where it exists without physical constraints. It’s not a question of if but when ubiquitous access to talent will become the norm in workspace. This will level the playing field and differentiation will come in the aspects of employee experience, wellness and loyalty. It will not only have a greater impact to organizations in terms of talent acquisition but also provide a solution to immigration challenges in developed and developing countries.
A recent Gartner poll showed that 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 versus 30% before the pandemic. As organizations shift to more remote work, employees will need to embrace and collaborate digitally while implementing new policies to address employee experiences. Emerging technologies such as AI, ML, IoT and digital services are providing necessary building blocks to evolve to a remote work environment. With that in mind, the following themes could emerge as we evolve to a new way of working and living.
Shift from Organization-centric Brand to Human-centric Brand
Organizations will leverage technologies to put emphasis on workers’ health, quality of life and performance. Collaboration, emotional regulation and network with deeper connections will be the strategic levers for differentiation and growth. Leaders will look at investing in human-centric experiences and redefine the essence of a brand. Organization design will evolve to human-centered models.
DigiGlobalization – Redefining Globalization with Digitization
The world is more interconnected than ever. First time ever individuals have direct impact on globalization, using digital platforms to educate, find work and build personal networks. Spotify model is a great example where artists can connect with fans directly to drive music economy. Globalization not only provided a platform for economic growth but also made organizations more complex in their operations across borders. Digital technologies can minimize complexities with efficient access to talent and information across borders. Future of work will drive organizations to an access-model for efficient talent and asset acquisitions without immigration constraints.
Unleash Innovation from workplace to employee-place
Organizations never had an opportunity to really understand the power of workforce potential. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted almost all organizations across the globe and forced the economy to a reactive state. As author Natalie Nixon mentions in her book The Creativity Leap, the opposite of reactive might not be proactive but instead creative. Organizations were forced to make real-time decisions due to the COVID-19 crisis and enforced remote work for the employees to safeguard safety. They never realized that a reactive action resulted into a creative one. The most important lesson COVID-19 taught organizations is to empower employees and choice over what they do. They were able to witness employee’s trust, passion and interests that may otherwise remain hidden. Now it is truly up to organizations to unleash innovation by embracing employee-place over workplace-only settings.
The Final Word
There couldn’t be a better time for organizations to define future of work. Use technology to access talent where it exists, design organization to allow employees to perform at their best, and more importantly humanize the work experience by making it a human-centric experience. New set of leaders will emerge who can transform the work environment with creative ubiquitous access to talent and workforce. Intellectual property will be redefined by leveraging human intellect and human network.
All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.
Global Leader Empowering Transformative Outcomes; Startup Advisor; Northwestern University Alumni Admission Council Member