To say that technology is changing the workplace is a huge understatement, as you know. While many fear that AI, data, and tech spell the doom of human jobs as we know them, I’m not seeing evidence that the need for human skills is diminishing. As technology-enabled solutions replace jobs, others are created—new roles, skills, and relationships between talent and businesses are forming in the process.
In fact, I am really excited when I see the human side of the trends around technology. Every week, we hear from companies that are developing work structures and roles in new ways. Here’s what you should consider.
Uniquely human skills are needed now more than ever
Yes, some jobs are being eliminated by tech but most jobs are simply changing. Change means adapting. Human skills such as curation, integration, problem-solving, imagination, curiosity, and empathy are vital to these new structures.
We have seen this across businesses in the Open Assembly Collective. Recent Deloitte research confirms that “automation, by removing routine work, actually makes jobs more human, enabling the role and contribution of people in work to rise in importance and value.” The real value of automation and AI is to augment the workforce and reframe human work to support problem-solving and furthering knowledge.
Businesses are building teams with flexible skillsets
Many organizations are reimagining the employee-employer relationship and adopting a new philosophy of work that matches business needs with workers in flexible, skills-based interactions. We see greater recognition that outdated corporate workforce/talent strategies may not offer the adaptability or flexibility needed to grow or sustain business.
HR leaders and executives are shifting away from the talent models of the past—from more rigid roles and responsibilities and hierarchical team structures—toward skills-based open talent models that integrate freelance or contract talent for nimble innovation and problem-solving capabilities.
An open talent mindset is shifting classic “job” mentality
The 20th-century job-focused talent model isn’t well designed for a world in which skill needs are rapidly changing. Over 60% of businesses report that it’s challenging to find experienced hires and 37% struggle to identify full-time talent with the right skills.
On the other hand, emerging open talent strategies take advantage of hyper-connectivity that allows for non-local talent to participate in all levels of business. Companies are more and more likely to locate experts in the on-demand talent pool. Open sourcing talent makes it possible for businesses to gain skills as needed to solve real-time problems/challenges toward strategic outcomes. This approach has significant advantages for both workers and businesses:
1. Businesses can optimize their workforce through access to non-local talent via networks, gaining new skillsets rapidly (in hours, days, or weeks) where re-skilling or up-skilling can take months or years
2. Businesses get problems solved when they need to be solved
3. Workers gain access to projects and challenges that match their unique skillsets and drive their own careers forward
People are choosing purpose and meaning over predictable jobs.
The number one reason that people quit their jobs is the inability to learn and grow. More people than ever are choosing to work in the open talent economy where they can find flexibility, work-life balance, and opportunities for learning, skills growth, and challenge.
As Baby Boomers retire, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z are leading the pivot toward more flexible work models, redesigning teams and work structures to take advantage of the growing freelance/contract open talent workforce.
The expansion of the open talent economy in part reflects workers choosing autonomy and control over their day-to-day tasks as well as influence over their career trajectories, charting their own path of learning and advancement. What could be more human than that?