Before we delve into the findings, a little about The ADP Research Institute…
Our research institute is essentially BIG data
Because of our market leadership, we are able to leverage over 40 million records to bring insights to you
We have our National Employment Reports in the US. And we’re going global, with a recent launch of an employment report in France
Our Workforce Vitality Report takes our employment report one step further by allowing us to look at the workforce across different metrics like compensation and turnover rates
The Research Institute embarked on THIS study to gather insights that will help you navigate the complex and ever-evolving global workplace.
There’s a lot out there on the topic of the future of work. But it’s all around technology and the economy. It’s missing the “human,” HR perspective needed to truly understand the impact on employees and employers.
So we decided to fix that. We surveyed over 2,000 employers AND employees, across the world, and across age groups, to capture this new perspective.
The needs that we uncovered should not be surprising, as they are very consistent with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Freedom, Knowledge, Stability, Self-Management and Meaning
These human-centric needs affect the way employees engage with one another, with the tools they use to get their jobs done, and with the organization as a whole.
Let’s start with a look at Freedom:
Technology has introduced new flexibility to both employees and employers. People EXPECT freedom. They want the control and flexibility to do their work when, where, and how they want.
95% of employees believe they will be able to work from anywhere in the world.
82% of people will define their own work schedule.
Let’s see how your organizations track against these results. If you can please pick up your polling devices that we tested earlier today, and tell us:
[Polling Question] What percentage of your workforce is remote today?
Is this now table stakes? A price of entry for access to the best talent? The study found that many employees are NOT convinced that their companies will adapt to these new trends, especially in the area of Freedom. They believe their leaders are too fearful of taking risks and making changes.
[Considerations] Some considerations for leaders here in this room:
Would this freedom hamper or enhance productivity? Is it a reasonable expectation? How can we create a true sense of “team” when most people will work remotely on their own schedules?
Cisco Systems (which is represented here today) is an example of an organization that empowers its people to define their own schedule. They allow workers to take unpaid breaks of one to two YEARS – with health benefits for the first year — to pursue a graduate degree, care for an ill parent, or just to recharge their batteries.
Now let’s look at Knowledge:
Technological advances allow employees to tap into resources, tools, and information rapidly – to learn new things, solve problems, and keep their work moving.
The study told us that:
98% of people will use technology to learn anything, anytime, anywhere.
88% say social media will become the collaboration platform for work.
Let’s see how your organizations are addressing this need.
[Polling Question] Since technology is the most critical enabler for your workforce, is HR driving your technology decisions?
For those answering No or Sometimes – This is a problem…your voice needs to be big enough in these decisions to ensure your organization is delivering what your workforce is expecting.
[Considerations] Some things for you to consider:
What is the potential risk in using social media as a primary collaboration tool, and how will you ensure it reflects your employment brand? There are some inherent risks of using social media as a tool to share company data, business intelligence, intellectual property…Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
How will you make learning easier and more accessible to an increasingly remote and mobile workforce?
Speaking of having access to learning anywhere…Mitsubishi Electric is redefining learning with Augmented Reality glasses. They give them to technicians who service air conditioning units. The glasses place instructions in the technicians’ field of view, with arrows and highlighted areas of the units that they’re servicing. The solution eliminates the need to carry around manuals for hundreds of models of air conditioners.
I could use this when I’m _____________________________________________________!
What about Stability?
Again a common theme around technology emerges. The interconnectedness we now have can enable companies to significantly expand their search for talent.
For employees, this could also be seen as a source of security. Their skills may be desirable to a much larger pool of potential work around the world, than limited to the jobs available where they live.
Individuals previously defined job security by tenure. Today, employees define security by professional network and the ability to tap into relationships to further their career paths.
According to the study:
97% think companies will search globally for the best talent.
88% believe that companies will exclusively hire contract workers on a project-by-project basis.
Let’s hear how your organizations are adapting to this new normal.
[Polling Question] How many of your strategic roles have been filled with a truly global hiring process – where you hired the best talent from anywhere in the world?
Note, this might mean that you needed to adjust the location of the role to accommodate that talent.
[Considerations] Some considerations around Stability:
How will you source the best talent globally, taking into account local and cultural aspects?
What are the competitive or business risks involved with hiring contract workers to work on your most strategic projects? The US has the most contract workers, and it’s growing. Also need to consider any regulatory constraints.
How can we improve knowledge sharing in an increasingly global workplace?
An example of engaging the best talent across the globe is represented in this room. In 2013, General Electric held a contest called the "3D Printing Design Quest." They released their original design for their titanium jet engine bracket, and invited the public to riff off of it to create a lighter version that would be 3D printed. Over six weeks, more than 700 entries from 57 countries came in. The winner was a 21-year-old PhD student in Indonesia, who reduced the weight of the bracket by 84 percent. Through this contest, they learned that open innovation can work. But a big part of the reason why it worked is that they tapped into a large group of people across the world who are all thinking differently about engineering challenges and how to solve them.
Let’s dive deeper into Self-Management:
Recent advancements will redefine the relationship between workers and their managers. Automation, smart machines, and artificial intelligence are beginning to replace people for repetitive work.
Also -- in the future, workplaces where departments and hierarchy cease to exist could become common. In these organizations, people will be free to focus more on work as opposed to managing others or being managed.
The study revealed that:
94% think automation will replace people for repetitive work.
58% believe departments and hierarchy will no longer exist.
Where does your organization stand on this today?
[Polling Question] Are you replacing your workforce with automation, machine-learning, and/or artificial intelligence?
The study validated that the increase of automation, smart machines and A.I. is one of the most feared trends among employees. So it’s critical to help your workforce understand and prepare for these changes that are coming to most industries.
[Considerations] So what questions does this raise for HR leaders?
With technology and smart machines driving increased expectations for productivity, how do we ensure our people don’t hit “workload overload”?
How will your organizational structure need to adapt if departments and hierarchies do, in fact, cease to exist?
Speaking of artificial intelligence, IBM (which is represented in the audience today) has developed “Watson,” which I’m sure you’re all familiar with. It’s a technology platform that uses natural-language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. IBM is collaborating with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to use Watson to diagnose tumors and suggest treatments. Watson can ingest more data in a day than any human could in a lifetime. It can read all of the world's medical journals in less time than it takes a physician to drink a cup of coffee. It can review patient histories; keep an eye on the latest drug trials; stay apprised of the potency of new therapies; and ultimately suggest a range of potential treatments. So these are really fascinating advances being made…
Finally, let’s look at Meaning:
More and more, employees are motivated by more than a paycheck. They want to work on projects that are personally meaningful, have a positive impact on society, and benefit people’s well-being.
Organizations and HR departments are now involving their employees more closely in the mission of the organization, recognizing that each employee makes a significant contribution to the company’s success.
The study confirmed that:
89% of people will choose to work on personal interests and things that impact society.
93% of respondents believe that they will work wherever their skills are needed.
How does your organization incorporate Meaning into your talent strategy?
[Polling Question] Is personal meaning and societal impact a differentiator for your organization? Do you use this focus to enhance your recruiting and retention efforts?
This is not a new concept. However, it is now an expectation and any company can do this. It can be a differentiator for you in your talent and recruiting strategy.
[Considerations] Some questions to reflect on:
How do you create a sense of meaning across five generations of your workforce? From those referred to as “Traditionals” (born before 1945), to Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y, and now what some are labeling “Linksters” (born after 1995)
Is this sense of Meaning woven into your talent management and retention process?
Unilever (represented here today), has woven “meaning” into the very core of the business with its Sustainable Living Plan. They’ve demonstrated how a multinational company can improve the lives of people, heal the planet and boost profits at the same time. This plan touches all of their products. For example, ethical certification of farms that provide ingredients for Lipton tea; fair trade-certified ingredients for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream; and Lifebuoy Soap’s “Global Hand-Washing Day” which was co-sponsored by the UN and saw participation of over 250 million people. Internally, this program has had a key role in engaging the company’s employees. Supply chain staff, marketers, and R&D now consider sustainability and social impact as they continue to innovate, obtain materials, and roll out products. It’s no wonder that Unilever was ranked #3 on LinkedIn’s list of the 100 Most In Demand Employers (following Google and Apple).
[Polling Question] In one word, how does this all make you feel?
[Read out some of the words from the word cloud…]
Knowing that your competitive advantage is your people, are you ready to truly rethink what the future of work really means for you?
In this room, we have leaders from organizations who impact over 8 million employees.
You, in this room, will be shaping the future of the global workplace.
So let’s continue the dialogue…
Start tonight by sharing your thoughts at dinner
In your inbox, right about now….you’ll find the full research write-up in the form of an eBook – which delves further into regional differences, as well as some key differences in perceptions between employees and employers.
And let’s stay connected, beyond this event. We’ll invite you to a series of webinars and open discussions over the course of the next year, so that we can all keep our finger on the pulse of these workforce needs as they continue to develop and evolve.