The workplace revolution has begun.
The way we work hasn’t changed much over the last 50, 60 years. For the most part, people still head off to work in the morning and return home in the evening, paid for productivity and efficiency, moving up gradually from entry level to managerial positions. But this industrial paradigm is changing fast, and it’s not just about employees working remotely. Technology, cultural changes, and employees’ expectations are reshaping how, when and why we work, what we do and the talent needed to do it. Companies need to rethink everything including corporate values, leadership, recruitment and retention strategies, policies, org structure, titles and roles, process, collaboration, space, incentive structures, skills, and training. Everything.
Melanie Redman, Senior Researcher for Steelcase’s Workspace Futures Group, explained: “Instead of being a director, the new leader has to be an enabler. She has to enable teams to succeed by connecting them to the right resources at the right time. By advocating for their work at the higher level. By removing roadblocks so they can move faster and by protecting them when they fail. We’re seeing a shift away from internally-focused, linear-process-oriented teams toward more complex ones, including multiple internal functions working with various external partners to test ideas in a rapid iterative cycle.”
As well, workplaces are more intergenerational, staffed by Baby Boomers, Xers, Millennials and soon, a flood of Gen Z workers. Employers need to figure out ways to adapt to get the most from these workers, many of whom don’t plan to stay more than a few years and demand increased flexibility that enables them to work in different ways.