Rain, Resilience and Recruitment

When you hear “the best way to predict the future is to invent it!”, what does that mean to you? It certainly brought intrigue and energy to the 4000 HR professionals who were together in a rainy city in the north of England last week for the CIPD’s Annual Conference and Exhibition.

The overarching conference theme was “The Future of Work”, and one particular session from a fellow Oxford-dweller sparked my imagination: Daniel Susskind, co-author of the best-selling book ‘The Future of Professions’. He spoke eloquently about our changing world and what’s to come as our society morphs from a ‘print-based industrial society’ to a ‘technology-based Internet Society’. Depending on which sources you choose to pay attention to, estimates for the number of today’s roles which will be done by machines in the future range from 20% to 60%. Fortunately, there will be new jobs to replace today’s roles – jobs that we’ve not yet even dreamed about.

Daniel Susskind related the decline of the professions; that they are “creaking” and increasingly “opaque, unaffordable, antiquated”. Professions such as the legal profession are getting left behind – the Susskind book references that eBay resolves 60 million disputes a year without a single lawyer involved.

Against this changing world, giving thought to who you bring on board is increasingly critical. Obviously there’s no crystal ball to predict what kind of jobs you may need within your organization. But bringing on board people with the right mindset will stand you in good stead. So ask yourselves: What sort of people will your organization need? What exactly do you need to be assessing?

Each organization will differ, but here’s our Top 5 of critical behaviours for the Future of Work:

  1. Learning agility– ability and motivation to learn new skills and continuosly develop will provide a competitive advantage
  2. Dealing with ambiguity – life is fast and data not always available so be comfortable with ambiguity and change
  3. Resilience – the ability to bounce back is core, and some would say much tested this year
  4. Creativity – don’t just streamline what is already there – think ahead
  5. Composure or self-control – ability to be contained and calm in the face of life’s obstacles

No one can make predictions, but you can influence who joins your organization – so to borrow Daniel Susskind’s parting words: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it!”  And to gain competitive advantage, just make sure you’re bringing the best ‘inventors’ into your organization, whether it be top tier leaders, or customer service staff with the potential and foresight to do things that little bit differently. Indeed, one of the oldest educational establishments in the world – our very own Oxford University – reported only yesterday that it is launching its first online ‘Mooc’ course [Massive Open Online Course] and today a thought-provoking blog on HR Zone discussed whether HR will be redundant in the digital world of work.

Find out more: www.panpowered.com    www.susskind.com

Follow: @panpowered @16pf @danielsusskind @CIPD @CIPD_Events