This session provided an overview of six key areas that have, and will continue to impact the workplace as we know it, creating “The Perfect Storm.”
The six areas that were identified as the components of “The Perfect Storm” are:
- Technological and Work Changes
- Global and U.S. Demographics
- Educational Challenges and Opportunities
- U.S. Workforce Change
- Leadership-Employee Relations
- Change Acceleration
Technological and Work Changes were identified as having a significant impact on our society and workplace, and have also brought about a quicker rate of Change Acceleration, which Mouriño-Ruiz believes “has taken us from connected to hyper-connected.”
The use of technology has had an ever-growing presence in our society which has both helped and hindered the current and incoming workforce. “It’s like we’re living in the Wild West,” exclaimed Mouriño-Ruiz: “you see people come in with a cell phone on each hip.” This constant connectedness allows instant access, but it is also having a significant impact on our interpersonal skills.
The challenge that lies ahead for organizations will be the ability to innovate, adapt and change, or face extinction. Organizations will need to begin matching the fast rate of change. Organizations are often afraid to face the risk of failure, which is an outcome of innovation. However, Mouriño-Ruiz stated, “organizations need innovation to continue to reinvent themselves” to remain a presence in the global competition for talent - a talent pool that is expected to have an increasing shortage of skilled workers and an aging workforce.
Mouriño-Ruiz identified the increasing Hispanic population in the U.S. as one of the possible solutions to the labor shortage issue. Speaker José Cordeiro echoed that sentiment in a session titled “Latin America in 2030 and Beyond,” identified the U.S. as the 2nd largest Spanish speaking nation in the world. This may be a solution to the labor shortage issue in regards to population, but does not address the education and knowledge shortage. This issue, as identified by the cohort of speakers in the “Creation of a Future-Forward College” session addressed the much-needed reform in our educational system, and was also addressed in a session titled “Cultural Shifts Among Global Youth” which identified the lack of tools to build necessary critical skills in the workplace for the upcoming generations.
An echoed message throughout the day was the necessity for both individuals and organizations to take risks in order to remain relevant in the future market. It has been the reluctance to take a risk for change that has contributed to the above issues being significant challenges facing the current and future workforce.
In the past, companies have been afraid to take risks, but it’s the “breakdowns that drive breakthroughs,” said Hazel Henderson in the session “Latin America 2030, and Beyond. If people and companies are not growing, then they are not adding value. Many companies seem to be too risk averse to try something new. Employees are also afraid to take risks because it could end up costing them their job if things do not work out.
It is important for organizations to begin implementing changes that will support the shift toward the future workplace now. This will allow companies to be more agile if it is necessary to make a shift throughout this process. Things to consider are cultural factors that are different than those of the U.S. These factors hold the potential to make a big impact on the way we interview. It will change the questions, as well as the responses that recruiters and managers are looking for. It will also change how managers operate their department.
We must begin looking at the generation after the Millennials, and also be looking past simply appreciating diversity, and begin integrating greater diversity in practice.
This summer the World Future Conference began with a session entitled “The Perfect Storm,” a session by Dr. Edwin Mouriño-Ruiz. Dr. Mouriño-Ruiz, a 30 year veteran in the field of HR, began his career in the U.S. Air Force, making him a veteran in every sense of the word. He believes that we need to shift our paradigm in the way we think, to overcome the new obstacles we are faced with. This includes providing “thorough training to leaders within our organizations” to build trust and engagement in the workplace.