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The new breed of worker

By Kerryn Kohl – 

Top of mind for the new breed of worker is flexibility, opportunity, collaboration, meaningful contribution and unconstrained work space – no longer workplace.

With the advent of social media, the need for social networking in the workplace has decreased. The vast amount of communication and collaboration tools furthermore enables remote and flexible interactions. There has therefore been a move towards greater emphasis on being able to make a meaningful contribution and focus is on the work I do rather than the work place or workforce I belong to. This new breed of worker stems from the changes in the socio-economic climate in which jobs for life are a thing of the past and a current reality in which people feel time bankrupt and long for better work life balance and the flexibility to explore and pursue a multitude of interests.

More and more people are seeking more balance. They want to make a meaningful contribution and they want to work on those things that inspire them. They have shifted their focus onto the quality of work that they can produce and making a meaningful contribution.  They express a desire for increased autonomy, wanting to decide for themselves what they work on, where they work and when they work. From the plethora of engagement studies that have been conducted we now know that autonomous and engaged workers are far more productive than those who have these parameters set for them. “Accenture recently estimated that contingent workers make up between 20% and 33% of the workforce in the U.S. alone.” – Accenture

Technology has enabled this new breed of worker. People have increased mobility, work can get done anywhere at any time. They are focused on finding “Gig’s” (jobs) that utilize their unique set of skills and continue to develop their experience while being able to maintain control over their work life balance. In the spirit of the abundance mindset, most organisations think about having a few people committed full-time. This only places constraints on the organisation and the individual. Organisations should embrace a shift to fewer full-time staff, but have access to an abundance of on demand, high quality talent. “When it comes to meeting heightened talent needs, top HR organizations must increasingly learn to integrate and leverage the part-time and contingent workforce. More than seven out of ten executives and HR leaders (71 percent) ranked the trend as important or very important.” – Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016.

This new breed of worker provides organisations with on demand talent and skills in areas where there is often either a high cost associated with these skills or a complete shortage of these. This flexible workforce will become increasingly attractive to organisations as they transform themselves to harness the power of talent on demand.  “83% of executives indicate they’re increasingly using contingent workers ‒ at any time, on an ongoing basis.” –Workforce 2020, a study conducted by Oxford Economics and sponsored by SAP.

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Kerryn Kohl is the CEO of Fourth Talent. I am an organisational behaviorist and learning strategist, focusing on the interface between human behavior and the digitally emergent organisation. A design thinker by nature with a passion for Learning, believing that it underlies any transformation or change that we wish to make.

kerryn@test1.co.za

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