What the future is telling us

What the future is telling us: the emerging workforce and the future of work


I recently hosted a discussion panel in the US that included a high school senior and three university students (junior/seniors) – representatives of the emerging workforce. The focus was on the future of work and what that could mean for knowledge/learning development in organisations.

These are some of the things they talked about:

  • Don’t ask for my opinion unless you are going to listen and demonstrate that you care – be authentic and show me my opinion matters.
  • Why do I have to conform to a 9-5 or 8-4 work schedule? I don’t work well between 8 and 12, so why are you going to pay me for 4 hours of low productivity?
  • Treat me as an individual – I don’t like one-size-fits-all solutions
  • Family is important, what happens if I want to stay home and be with my children while my wife is at work? Can I work from home? Why do I need to be in the office and why do I need to work 9-5? (this from a male student)
  • Understand me and my situation. Nurture me, be transparent and show me a path for progression.
  • I like to collaborate, don’t stick me in a cubicle!
  • When you position a problem in my world “it is like being punched in the face,” but when you speak in general terms that don’t relate to me I just lose interest.
  • Don’t give me “tests”, give me real world problems to solve.
  • Put trust in me and don’t feel as if you have to control me.
  • Show me you care!

Times are changing. It is not up to the emerging generation to conform to the ways organisations currently work. Organisations are battling for talent in a competitive knowledge/talent economy. This is a talent war. Therefore, it is up to leadership and management in organisations to adapt to the needs of the emerging workforce. 

What are you doing now to prepare your competitive advantage in 2020-2025?

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