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How to prepare your workforce for the next decade

  • Story Highlights
  • Study: 2/3 of managers believe "teams will be more multi-generational" in 2018
  • Individuals will have more control of where and when they wish to work
  • Bearing in mind cyber attack, securing IT systems will be a major priority
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From Jo Causon for CNN
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(CNN) -- In terms of our long-term business planning, what sorts of trends can we expect to see in the workforce over the next 10 years?

Jo Causon, Director, marketing and corporate affairs, Chartered Management Institute

Jo Causon, Director, marketing and corporate affairs, Chartered Management Institute

If the rate of change in the last 10 years is anything to go by, work and management are set to undergo some significant shifts in the next decade. A recent study by the Chartered Management Institute identified 17 possible scenarios facing organizations in the future.

These ranged from a world run by robots, where advances in artificial intelligence gradually increase our dependence on technology, to an aging population, where changing demographics alter the needs of the workforce. You are certainly right to be looking at the longer-term future though, as across all the scenarios, it is clear that to be successful in the future, organizations need to do more than just embrace change, they need to anticipate and drive it.

Clearly, many of the changes and scenarios presented in the Institute's study are having an impact today. We are already experiencing an aging, more diverse workforce. But the trend will continue with nearly two-thirds of managers believing that "teams will be more multi-generational" in 2018. Market and competitor knowledge is also a critical success factor for any business. So in the future, organizations need to consider how they will use specialized intelligence systems and services to capture knowledge on environmental issues, social change and competitors.

The study also finds that business models will be more customer-centric. Involving customers in the value chain, proactively seeking their input and treating them as part of the organization will be critical to improving products and services. In other words, you will need to build a business model and a workforce that not only exceeds customer expectations but anticipates and provokes them.

Changes in technology will have a major impact on the business strategy. Although in the Institute's study only a small proportion of managers think that technologies such as holograms, robots and bio-chips will be used to drive business efficiency in the next 10 years, the overwhelming majority think that virtual business will be commonplace and this will lead to increased virtual contact.

These advances in IT will raise a whole host of management and development issues for your organization, especially around home/work environments and the concept of remote working. The Institute's study reveals that individuals will gain increasing levels of control around where and when they wish to work. You will need to consider issues such as how your line managers will motivate and manage their teams from a distance. It will be crucial that the workforce is developing skills to cope in an environment where business activities and IT are intrinsically linked and, bearing in mind the potential for cyber attack, securing IT systems will be a major priority.

It is important to focus on the business issues of today, especially in the current economic climate, but having the foresight to look ahead and prepare for the future will have a significant impact on your success. Change is inevitable but a greater degree of intelligence about how people work and their reactions to change will ensure you remain competitive.

Jo Causon
Director, marketing and corporate affairs
Chartered Management Institute

The Chartered Management Institute is the only chartered professional body that is dedicated to management and leadership. It is committed to raising the performance of business, supporting and advising individuals and organizations, and to help tackle the management challenges you face on a daily basis.

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