The changing nature of the workforce and what it means for your business

by | 04.12.2015

Advances in technology, a more demanding workforce and shifts in priorities are combining to change the shape of traditional business and create a revolution in the workplace.

The way we work, the shape of our company structures and the expectations of our employees have all undergone a fundamental shift in the 21st century. With technology as the catalyst, the momentum of this shift is only going to increase.

Businesses are becoming more and more employee-centric by the day. And, according to The Future Workplace report by leading financial protection insurers Unum, it’s the employers who are shaping their companies around the needs of their staff that are likely to achieve a significant competitive advantage.

This extends beyond a good salary and a comprehensive benefits programme. It includes health and wellbeing, career development and a culture that defines the way employees work.

By 2020, more than half of the global workforce will be Millennials. When it comes to Millennials, they expect technology to be intuitive and to work simply, and they expect it to be mobile, social and collaborative. This is what they want and look for when it comes to employment. And it’s this that ensures they enjoy work and deliver results.

Here’s how to help make that happen and gain advantage over the competition:

 

Give them flexibility

Employees won’t just be happy doing one job anymore and looking for vertical progression within that job. Climbing the corporate ladder is a thing of the past. Flexible and flat structures allow employees to work across multiple areas of the business. This not only improves their own skills and keeps them engaged but it adds significant value to the company by building a base of employees who are familiar with different aspects of how the business operates. With this increased understanding the employee is then able to perform at a much higher level.

 

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Use technology to create a better experience

Tech isn’t something new to Millennials. They have been raised with technology readily available, especially smart phones which form the hub of the way they communicate, interact and socialise. That’s why integrating key business tools onto a mobile platform is absolutely essential for forward thinking businesses. At Quinyx, our mobile app is used by more than 300,000 users each day, who not only use it to see when they are working next but to also see who they are working with and communicate with them through the app. Their familiarity with mobile technology and expectations of being able to complete any task with their smart phone are all met. In making their lives more simple, it then allows them to focus on doing their job.

 

Put health and wellbeing first

Employers who manage their employees health and wellbeing successfully will reap the benefits of doing so. This covers everything from nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and even sleep. It also means creating an environment where employees enjoy spending time. Not only does this demonstrate a strong duty of care from the employer but it will also improve employee performance on a purely physical level. For example, an employee who has trouble sleeping won’t be able to perform at their optimum.

BP are using fitness trackers as part of an incentive programme to help employees reduce healthcare costs while UK supermarket Tesco’s use smart armbands as a working aid in their distribution centres.

Just like advances in sport science are helping coaches and athletes improve their performance through data, companies are now looking at ways they can do the same to optimise their employees performance to gain advantage over their competition.

 

Understanding the needs of your staff, and how these needs change over time, helps you create a business where employees enjoy work. It’s through enjoying work that employees are able to perform to the best of their abilities and deliver results.

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Tommy Tonkins

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