#MercerChats Rewind: Never Stop Learning, People Skills Aren’t Going Anywhere in the Future of Work

#MercerChats Rewind: Redesigning the Work Experience in the Future of Work

Each month, Mercer brings together in-house experts and external thought leaders, subject matter experts and influencers for an online discussion of the most pressing issues in the future of work and health. The program is called #MercerChats and takes place entirely on Twitter, where individuals around the world engage with Mercer’s intellectual capital and other leading thought leadership to share insights and discuss the best solutions to help organizations thrive. Below is a summary of our December 2019 tweet chat, highlighting some of the key themes discussed and the best insights shared.

Put away your crystal ball, your tarot cards, and your Ouija board. We don’t need a fortune teller to know what’s coming in the future of work, because we’re already here. From gig workers to automation, we’re living through the fourth industrial revolution, and the only question is whether you and your organization are coming along.

In these revolutionary times, we’re all forced to consider how and where we fit in. As individuals, the modern talent market can seem unrecognizable, with new jobs and in-demand skills that didn’t exist when we received our formal education. As organizations, the near-constant disruption invites questions about who can compete in the modern landscape and how companies can keep up with the pace of change.

These questions dominate conversations about the future of work, with senior leaders looking for new insights and paths toward the future of work. That’s why we hosted our own global conversation, with thought leaders and industry experts from around the world weighing in on the keys to staying relevant in the modern economy. Here are some of the key takeaways from that conversation, which I hope can help you as you kick off the New Year.

New Day, New Skills

For all the talk of tech and automation, we may still be underappreciating how different the workforce of the future may look. Consider that many of today’s jobs didn’t exist five years ago, then project what five years from now will look like with the accelerating pace of change. While we may not be living and working in an automated Jetsons-esque world, it’s undeniable that every one of us will need new skills and competencies to remain relevant tomorrow.

The good news is that today’s HR and business leadership recognizes this challenge, and they’re committed to upskilling and redeploying current talent in a way that works for the future. Whether it’s introducing new education programs, placing greater emphasis on workforce analytics to identify weak points, or mining new talent pools, leaders are exploring all avenues to be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. 

 

 

 

 

 

People Skills Aren’t Going Anywhere

Creating a new-look workforce doesn’t mean recruiting an army of engineers and data scientists. Though these are critical new roles to competing in the new economy, there’s also a growing need for the softer human skills that supplement and counterbalance hard tech. This is because as tech proliferates and becomes a core component of every organization, it’s the human skills that become a real differentiator.  

 

 

 

 

 

As Your Workforce Evolves, Evolve with It

A changing economy necessitates a changing workforce, but it also means changing organizations. As you build new talent streams and new support structures to attract, recruit and train them, it’s critical that you understand how your broader organization is growing and, more importantly, how it can evolve to accommodate your new workforce.

This puts HR into some of the most strategic conversations as organizations plan their own digital transformation. From the introduction of talent programs like flex working to the redefinition of company culture, every component of your organization must be calibrated for your new-look workforce. 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

There’s no stopping the future of work, but we can all prepare for it. Whether as individuals looking to update our own skill sets or as organizations preparing for the client needs of tomorrow, there are simple lessons we can all learn to ensure we stay relevant in the new economy:

  • Never stop learning – The days of one diploma carrying you through your whole career are long gone, and we’ll all need to reinvent and reimaging our futures throughout our careers.
  • People matter – Though tech will leave an indelible imprint on future organizations, it’s people who will run and grow them.
  • Make room for growth – We all can be guilty of focusing on immediate needs first. If you want to build a future-ready organization, give your people time to do it. 
Danielle Guzman
by Danielle Guzman

Global Head of Social Media