Hello PPMA Members and friends

This week, guest blogger Maude Julien, Senior Consultant, Workforce Analytics & Planning, at Mercer, looks at the emerging workforce shifts making worldwide waves.

“The world of work is being reshaped — transforming employee’s expectations for their careers, their approach to work, the nature of the work they do, and the makeup of the workforce itself. Three major shifts are continuing to influence HR management: growing diversity of the workforce, disruption through technology and fragmentation of the workforce.

SHIFT 1: GROWING DIVERSITY OF THE WORKFORCE
Diversity in this context goes far beyond the usual considerations of age, race, and gender, to consider diversity of location, education, and experience. With emerging markets representing the greatest growth opportunities, we can expect not just the customers, but also the workforce and leaders of the future to hail from the developing world.

SHIFT 2: DISRUPTION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Artificial intelligence is revolutionising technology, endowing robots with pattern-recognition skills, enhanced dexterity, and the ability to learn, thus enabling them to perform a broader range of tasks. Despite its vast potential for self-improvement, machine-learning technology lacks intuition and social skills. Humans therefore remain a crucial part of the workforce equation, but will have to develop new technical and creative skills to support these changes, including cross-cultural competency, adaptive thinking, virtual collaboration and design mindset.

SHIFT 3: FRAGMENTATION OF THE WORKFORCE
The very existence of the employment relationship as the normal contractual arrangement between enterprise and worker is being called into question. The classical employment model of permanent full-time employees has given way to the so-called ‘talent ecosystem’: a collaborative, transparent, technology-enabled, rapid-cycle way of doing business via partnerships, joint short-term ventures or projects, freelance talent, and crowdsourcing, all operating outside the traditional boundaries of the organisation. Yet most HR departments report that it is difficult to track the cost and performance of their total workforce; talent development and productivity suffer as a result.

Successfully managing workforce risks means rising to meet the complex workforce challenges that organisations are facing. It’s not enough to just hope for the best; HR must plan and take action now to build the future. That’s where analytics and planning come into play. Measuring and benchmarking are good, asking the right questions is even better, but knowing how to get the right answers from the data is best of all.

My goal in 2016 is to stay on top of these trends to be able to advise my clients on how to make better decisions during these times of change.”

Maude Julien is Senior Consultant, Workforce Analytics & Planning, at Mercer