No matter what industry vendors serve, many of them are experiencing a massive change in the way they operate and compete both domestically and globally. Companies – from small to midsized businesses (SMBs) to larger corporate enterprises – are witnessing the need to address the changing market and provide a better workplace for all their employees. With the influx of mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops, as well as a more engaged, social community of employees, organizations must address the evolving workplace. This is the “New World of Work.”
The “New World of Work” flips the typical work environment. Business operations are not necessarily conducted during the traditional “8-to-5 workday.” Instead, innovative new people development platforms create today’s workplace as social, transparent, collaborative and a place in which employees are personally motivated to deliver quality, value-intensive work at any time. With increased technology in the workplace, the manner in which employees access and share content changes. The modern workforce is better connected to colleagues, customers and partners around the world, and can communicate anytime and anywhere. Generations entering the workforce also are taking a more active role in their personal and professional development, by engaging with new learning opportunities and collaborating with co-workers worldwide.
Disruption is common, and the “new normal” is not normal at all. Globalization means competition can come from any organization – at any time – and it arrives faster than ever. Products that were once rolled out country-by-country now are launched simultaneously all over the world. Consumers have raised their standards, too; generally getting what they want and letting everyone know when they are dissatisfied. Companies that ignore the collective power of their customers do so at their peril – both in what they want and what they don’t.
For some, it’s harder and more complicated to do business on a global scale. Governments aggressively are introducing even greater amounts of legislation to protect their consumers. Such regulation, for example, includes dictating how component suppliers operate, the working conditions they provide for their employees, environmental impact, safety standards and more. If organizations are not compliant, they might not be allowed to conduct transactions, could be fined and potentially face the impact of adverse publicity. As if that impact isn’t enough, it’s also clear that the pace of change is itself accelerating. So not only is the world of work changing, it’s doing so more rapidly than ever.
Moreover, organizations traditionally are structured in hierarchical bureaucracies, centrally managed from the top down and structured by silos of activity. This approach has worked successfully for decades; it’s what today’s economy was built on, yet the emerging “New World of Work” favors a seemly less structured organization. Successful business models are ones that enable employees to better connect with one another – regardless of device or location. For example, groups are formed around tasks and challenges, pulling in expertise and skills required for that particular issue and then as quickly as they form, disband to focus on the next challenge. As a result, these organizations are agile, they’re managed from the bottom up and their value chain is fluid and extends to partners, suppliers and even customers. This flexible, connected structure allows these organizations to get smarter, faster, and to preserve and distribute that knowledge with greater efficiency. Learning is taking place continuously and informally in a way that impacts positive outcomes across the entire organization, allowing them to operate more effectively in the business environment.
Lastly, new business practices favor the innovative, youthful entrants to the workforce. No longer is today’s workforce defined by two or three generations. Rather, the future holds many more generations as younger populations continue to be even more technically savvy than the previous and bring their skillsets to the workplace. Additionally, older generations are putting off retirement due to global economic uncertainty and have created an even more competitive work environment. Companies will need to address this diverse employee base in order to remain relevant and attract talent.
As companies look to conduct business on both local and global scale, they must address the changing corporate landscape. They must understand that tomorrow’s workforce, is more social, mobile and looking to be better connected to their work community. Employees want to deliver top notch work, regardless of where in the world they may be. Companies need to ensure they have the technology in place to support this change to not only retain their talent, but also successfully compete in the market in the “New World of Work.”
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