It’s no longer far-fetched to imagine people using implanted microchips as their metro pass. If this is how people choose to live, how will they want to work? The late Stephen Hawking said: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change,” and this focus on human adaptability certainly weaves through Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends Study Unlocking Growth in the Human Age.
What struck me this year is that people feel apprehensive and excited in equal measure about technology’s heady mix of challenges and possibilities. After years of fretting about disruption, there is a readiness to take action as we reimagine a new future.
This year, the findings reveal organizations poised for action that puts people first, taking advantage of human resilience, empathy, creativity, and our strategic thinking. In pursuit of new technologies, it has become easy to lose sight of how people connect and collaborate, how teams co-create, and what motivates different segments of the workforce. To drive change, employers are focused on human skills such as innovation, a global mindset, and complex problem solving that are highly sought-after this year. Indeed, 94% of companies have innovation on their core agenda and are looking towards their people to drive this.
This new focus is exciting for HR because it requires, and benefits from, unprecedented collaboration between HR and the business. And it’s good news for individuals, too, who crave involvement in innovation and seek jobs that unlock a sense of purpose.
From the 7,600+ voices that make up this year’s report (Board Directors, Executives, HR leaders and employees) we identified five trends shaping the workforce in 2018:
As I’ve been sharing this year’s trends with clients and colleagues, it’s clear that one of the biggest challenges is how to bring people along on the transformation journey – a top ask from employees this year was for leaders who set a clear direction. As companies reimagine the future of work, they must bring an understanding of how the workforce is changing and be careful not to neglect the human operating system that powers their organizations. Only when we are living digitally, working flexibly and being rewarded uniquely can we truly build a workforce for the future.