Future Friday: Tips for preparing for the future of work

Learning from executives on what the future of work may hold.

I came across an interview in The Business Times out of Singapore that I thought was interesting. The three interviewees were key business executives in Asia. The interviewer, Jacquelyn Cheok, was interested in their perspective on the question “How can companies better prepare their employees, and how employees can equip themselves, for the future of work?” Although these executives were not in HR I think their answers were instructive to HR professionals.

The panelists

The panelists were:

  • Marcus Low, head of channel and small and medium business, Dropbox (Asia-Pacific and Japan)
  • Trevor Clarke, partner and research director, Tech Research Asia
  • Kong Wan Sing, founder and chief executive officer, JustCo

They talked about trends and the role of collaboration, however, of all the questions, the one I found most interesting was “How can business owners and executives best evaluate what solutions will make the most impact on their business and stay relevant in the future?” Given that I present a program called Seven Steps to becoming a Practical HR Futurist, I found their remarks interesting.
Mr. Wan Sing said:

Keeping abreast of the industry is key, that is why at JustCo we emphasize heavily on members’ events and networking sessions. Our events focus on a wide spectrum of topics from business consultancy, corporate services to guest speaker events where the JustCo community gets to build contacts, relationships, and gain access to industry insights and resources by speaking to real industry experts. More often than not, they also get to shed light on the competitors’ environment. (My emphasis.)

I find that HR professionals keep up on HR, but quite often don’t do enough to keep up with industry trends. Are you aware of what is being developed in your industry? What new products, what new processes, and what new methodologies are being developed?
Mr. Trevor Clark said:

Start a conversation. One of the best things that any business executive can do is to start a process of discovery to challenge their existing assumptions and ways of thinking. That requires an open conversation with a diverse range of people across the organization and includes engaging people outside the organization and especially those in other industries or geographies. You need to pop your own bubble of influence and thinking. Then it is a matter of setting a vision that is ambitious, yet flexible, and setting in motion your blueprint. (My emphasis.)

You need to know what you don’t know. HR people, believe it or not, have a tendency to silo themselves, for any number of reasons. That is a bad idea. Burst that bubble, get out of that silo. Learn from others.
Following these two tips, and teaching them to upper management, will help you prepare your organization for the future.
Photo credit: MS Word clip art

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