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24 April 2019

Erika Bannerman

Inevitable and unstoppable change: are you ready to embrace the future of work?

Capita People Solutions’ latest white paper reveals the thoughts of more than 2,500 employees and business leaders in the UK. How do they feel about the rise of digitisation in the workplace? What do these changes mean for HR?

Technology is changing everything. In our homes, our social lives and especially in the workplace, nothing looks like it did two years ago, let alone when I started work or went to school. As someone who remembers life before computers and mobile phones, the speed at which technology has reached into every aspect of our lives and augmented our capabilities never ceases to amaze me. And what amazes me even more is that it’s speeding up and offering us possibilities that were seemingly in the realms of science fiction just a few short years ago.

The latest discussions around technology have conjured up dystopian visions of the rise of the machines and the terrifying impacts of uncontrollable AI that knows everything about us – scenarios that any sci-fi fan is familiar with. But its real impact on the world of work has been less explored. That’s why we decided to survey 2,500 business leaders and employees to find out what they think, feel, fear and hope for in the future of work. Our research focuses on the likely technological advancements and changes, but also the importance in managing a ‘people first’ strategy.

More than ever before, it is people that will be crucial to business success in the future. In an economy where all organisations have fast, scalable and affordable access to technology to handle operational processing tasks, it will be the skills, creativity and ambition of people that will truly differentiate brands, drive innovation and deliver growth. Technology in itself should not be viewed by businesses as the key to future success; instead it should be regarded as a powerful enabler, giving people the support, time and confidence to take on higher value, strategic work, and to fulfil their potential. This is what we mean when we talk about the shift from a Human to Hybrid workforce – a future workforce where humans work seamlessly and harmoniously alongside technology, understanding and appreciating one another’s role and recognising each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Human to Hybrid: The biggest challenge facing organisations

Our latest whitepaper – Human to Hybrid: The Next Workforce Frontier – reveals that business leaders know they must invest in technology but are uncertain and need support. 72% sees the transition to a hybrid workforce as the biggest challenge they face over the next five years – 67% fears that their organisations will become irrelevant if they don’t meet that challenge – while 93% believes that they need to start proactively managing it now.

If organisations don’t make this shift successfully, or if their employees believe there’s a distinct lack of innovation and forward thinking, they could lose their most talented people: over half (51%) of employees told us that they would leave their organisation if it didn’t manage the ‘hybrid state’ transition properly.

I was surprised by this statistic and the fact that so many people are prepared to hand in their notices if they feel their employers have made a hash of transitioning to a hybrid workforce – but it does really highlight the overriding importance of getting this right.

People at the centre of strategy and culture

Our research shows that, while companies are investing in their digital capability, they have been less focused on developing their people and using data to drive improvements. With 82% of business leaders saying that HR’s role will need to radically change to fully maximise the potential of a hybrid workforce, it’s crucial that organisations put their workforce at the centre of their strategy and create a culture of flexible learning, change and continuous upskilling and reskilling.

Change is inevitable and unstoppable. The rate of technological innovation is not going to slow down, so organisations must embrace the transition to a hybrid workforce and cultivate a culture of agility and continuous learning to avoid being left behind.

Photo of Erika Bannerman

Erika Bannerman

Executive Officer, Capita People Solutions

Erika joined Capita in July 2017 and has responsibility for a portfolio of market leading HR businesses. She has 25 years’ experience within the HR managed services industry, managing and developing businesses to achieve their strategic objectives, including major public and private sector UK and global enterprise partnerships. Prior to Capita, Erika was a plc board member within the Manpower group of companies and was appointed Vice President within the global sales organisation and a member of the Manpower Global leadership team.

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