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10 October, 2019 00:00 00 AM

How will the future employee look?

The past employees worked 9 to 5 in a corporate office, using company equipment, remaining focused on inputs with a pre-defined work, and wanting to climb the corporate ladder
How will the future employee look?

Jacob Morgan categorically defines the principles and characteristics of the future employee, future manager and future organizations, which are relevant for India too.

The seven principles of the future employee include: has a flexible work environment, can customize own work, shares information, uses new ways to communicate and collaborate, can become a leader, shifts from knowledge worker to a learning worker, and learns and teaches/mentors at will. Future workers can and shall work from co-working spaces, and can be a part of a gig economy where s/he contributes to multiple organizations at the same time being paid by all, or focuses on one for a project and then on finishing it, focuses on another organization and project, without technically being employed permanently by anyone.

Such a work force will decreasingly depend on universities and long-drawn degree education. Already, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google have announced that they will hire from 2020 by skills and not degrees. The degree-centricity of traditional university system will lose its value. Education is becoming modular where students are taking courses they like instead of committing themselves to entire majors with a linear long drawn progression. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC), courses of Udemy or Coursera, Udacity or Khan University are examples where learners can learn at low or no costs, and the order of tomorrow is micro certification of focused courses.

The past employees worked 9 to 5 in a corporate office, using company equipments, focused on inputs with a pre-defined work, and wanting to climb the corporate ladder. S/he hoarded information, had no voice, relied on emails, was focused on knowledge through corporate learning and teaching.

But the employee of tomorrow shall work anytime, anywhere, use any device, will be focused on outputs, and create his/her own ladder. S/he will take up customized work, will share information, can become a leader, will rely on collaborative technologies, and will focused on adaptive and democratized learning.

The concept of gig or freelancer economy will also gain ground ahead. The freelancer economy is about people being able to leverage their skills and expertise to find work without having to seek full-time employment in a single company. Most of their projects are done in a virtual environment and include services like SEO, marketing and PR, content creation, web development, virtual assistants, designing, etc.

Future managers at workplaces

The ten principles of future manager according to Jacob Morgan include leadership, following from the front, understanding technology, leading by example, embracing vulnerability, believing in sharing and collective intelligence, is a fire-starter, giving real-time recognition and feedback, is conscious of personal boundaries and limitations, and adapts to the future employee.  Following from the front means that when it comes to the future of work, the goal of the managers is to remove roadblocks from the paths of employees in order to help them succeed while empowering them to work in a way that makes them engaged and effective. To be a fire-starter, managers of the future must challenge conventional ideas about management and work and not just take things in the face value, and can ditch the existing template to create a new one.  

The past manager commanded leadership, was supported by employees, relied on IT for technology, is unemotional, with a nature to control information, conforming to conventions, believing in annual reviews, and limiting himself to implicit boundaries.

The future manager earns leadership, supports the employees, understands technology, leads by example, embraces vulnerability, reaps collective intelligence, challenges convention, gives real-time feedback and recognition, and has dynamic evolving boundaries.

Future organizations to work for

On similar lines, the future organizations will also evolve or perish. Future organizations will be nationally/globally distributed with smaller teams, will have a connected work-force, will be intrapreneurial encouraging entrepreneurship skills at managerial level, will be big but operating like a small company, and will focus on want instead of need. Such a company will adapt to changes faster, will bring in innovation anywhere, will run in the cloud, will seek better gender balance in senior management, and will have a flatter structure (less hierarchy). Such companies will have stories to share, will democratize learning, shift from profit to prosperity (more holistic), and will adapt to the future employee and manager.

The Ringelmann Effect is a fascinating tendency for individual members to become less productive as the size of the group increases. Hence small units, small company approach, lean organization and intrapreneurial skills of managers will make future companies do well. Such managers will focus on what the company needs to survive and grow, and not on wants which often are wishes and embellishments.

Universities of tomorrow

Hence, going beyond degree-centricity, universities of tomorrow should consider degrees as an outcome by the way, and focus on real-life skills and literacies outlined above. It must collaborate with a myriad of learning systems, adapt to experiential brick and portal learning, focus on mentoring rather than teaching, and make education choice-based and learner centric. It must integrate formal with self-learning modules and skills. It should be focused on today and tomorrow more than yesterday, and on application of knowledge more than knowledge per se. It should create the human resources of tomorrow for economy yet not seen, rather than labour force for the economy of yesterday.

The universities of tomorrow hence prepare talent for Digital Marketers, Animators-Designers, Artificial Intelligence Engineers, Strategists, Market Researchers, Content Developers, Law Experts, Finance Experts, Multi-linguists, Behavioral Scientists, Entrepreneurs, Robotics Engineers, Communicators, Applied Scientists, Pharmacists, Design Thinkers & Designers, Big Data Analysts & Data Managers, Campaign Managers, et al.  

The approach of mentoring-learning in universities of tomorrow hence will include a blend of classroom learning (Formal), Workshop based learning (Hands-on), Peer Learning, Experiential Learning (Projects), Real Life Experiences (Internship), Case-study based Learning, Internet based Learning, Video-conferencing, International Learning (global exposure), Research based Learning, Degree & Beyond, Skill & Portfolio focus, Team-work, Problem Solving Learning.

The author is Pro Vice Chancellor of Kolkata

based Adamas University, and former Dean of Symbiosis and Amity Universities,

Pearl Academy & Whistling Woods International.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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