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Eight Trends Driving the Future of Work

“For the Silent Generation, work was like a steamship. You picked the company, the function, the direction, worked there your whole life, and then get the pension. For Baby Boomers, work was like operating a sailing vessel, navigating the winds and currents, as we make our way through our careers.  And for the Millennials out there, your career is going to feel like a kayaker – constantly navigating the water, the current, the disruption, and the rapidly changing pace of the world.” – Stuart Sackman

At the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival Stuart Sackman, Corporate Vice President of Global Product and Technology at ADP, highlighted 8 trends he believes will change the workplace in the future. Here are his top predictions:

Integration over balance

“The Baby Boomers were all about work-life balance,” Stuart said. “Millennials are all about a work-life integration.” Think: managing personal social media networks at the workplace, answering business emails at home on a Saturday afternoon, and a generally more fluid intersection of work life and personal life. To attract and retain Millennial talent in the future, companies will need to become more flexible with these new boundaries of work and play.

Flatness over hierarchy

“Millennials don’t have the same respect for hierarchy as I might have had entering the working world,” Stuart said. “Now, there’s an idea of challenging the status quo and making sure that all of the wisdom in a company isn’t just trickling down from the top.” 

Dynamic learning over training

Stuart predicts Virtual Reality will dramatically impact how the next generation of workers becomes educated. Not only is VR currently being used to teach everyday skills, like teaching students how to drive cars, VR is now also being used to educate people on more complex tasks. For example, interns at hospitals can “perform” operations in VR, as the training for their careers as doctors. In the future, this VR and AR education trend will continue to expand and shift more traditional modes of workforce  training. 

Purpose over pay

“For many Millennials, purpose is more important than pay,” Stuart said. “And as you build your company or organization, you will have to have a definitive purpose to attract talent and grow your team.” If you want to build a successful organization or company in the future, a values-driven mission is critical for both flourishing employees and your bottom line.

Machine learning rules

The trends of today, like mobile, social, cloud, and big data will be “crushed” by machine learning and robotics in the future. “Machine learning is going to be the driver for creating new solutions in the future,” Stuart said. “And machine learning and robots will radically change the way we work, as robots take over jobs (i.e. driving, cashier registers) we used to have to do.”

Automation increases

A report released by the Obama administration predicts automation will wipe out ⅓ of all jobs in the next twenty years, and Stuart agrees with this belief. “Automation is going to change everything, so we need to think about what we’re going to do next.”

A possible solution to all of this job loss? A living wage, or universal income for citizens, which is currently being experimented with in countries like the Netherlands, Kenya, and Canada.

Data develops a personality

“The data we collect now needs to have an opinion and a personality in the future,” Stuart said. “Then, we can start to use that data to try new things, solve problems, and create solutions. The stuff we have in our heads, we need in our systems.” 

Diversity is the key to success

Want your company to succeed in the future? Hire a diverse range of people, with varied life experiences, backgrounds, and talents. A more diverse workplace will mean more diversity of thoughts, problem solving skills, and ultimately – more innovation.

“Companies are going to become communities of unique individuals,” Stuart said. “And we need more diversity of people and opinions to create the next set of solutions that will innovate our world.”

Watch highlights from Stuart's talk at the at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:

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