Who is the most important person in a business? If you ask most experts, they’ll say it’s the customer. However, really great leaders like Richard Branson will tell you it’s the employee. Which is absolutely correct. After all, it’s always the employee that takes care of the customer and creates the experience that brings the customer back. So why, when we talk about the future of work and the workplace, do we leave out the most critical asset, the worker of the future?
Probably because training and building amazing employees is one of the hardest things in business. People and relationships are tough!
But don’t stop reading here. It’s one thing to know your employees are important and another thing to actually walk the talk and do the work to treat them that way. Your future success will depend on how well you can understand, train, and build your employees to become the worker of the future. In a 2018 talk at BetterUp Shift, Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, told the audience that, “The future of work actually has little to do with technology, AI, or algorithms. It’s all about people, organizations, and how we manage people within these organizations.” And he’s absolutely right! People are people and they will always be the differentiator in growing our businesses.
So when we look ahead to the future, instead of asking ourselves questions like:
- Will my job be obsolete in ten years time?
- Is this booming business venture a momentary fad or something more?
- Will a machine take my job?
- If the workplace of the future changes drastically, will I be able to see it coming or will I be caught unaware?
Let’s focus on what we KNOW AND CAN control: our relationships with our people and how we can grow them to become the employees we need both now and in the future.
As Robert Bernard Shaw once said, “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” Rather than worrying about what the workplace of the future or the future of work will be, let’s focus instead on creating the WORKER OF THE FUTURE from the inside/out with a few simple steps!
Who is the Worker of the Future?
In his book The Future of Work, Jacob Morgan argues that there are five emerging trends:
- New behaviors shaped by social media and the web
- Collaborative cloud technologies
- New generations of workers with new attitudes, expectations, and ways of working
- Greater ability to work from anywhere, anytime
- Increased globalization and connection to diverse peoples
These trends aren’t just hypotheticals; they’re already permeating our workplaces and rapidly changing how we work. And not just in a few industries either. These workplace trends affect all of us, no matter who we are, where we are, or the type of work we do. To survive and thrive in the new future of work, we ALL must become the worker of the future. And we know that people are people and the thread is within: People are the workers of the future even when everything else changes around them. So, listen right here, right now. Universities, colleges, businesses, please, and I mean f*&^%n please, start creating the worker of the future by training them on themselves and relationships that add value to others.
So if you’re a worker (whether manager, front line, C- level) what will you do today to recreate yourself as that worker of the future? How will you navigate these trends? Who will you be while you’re doing that and how will you go about developing yourself to meet the challenge?
Here are a few tips:
- Know yourself
- Learn your story
- Create trust
- Build solid relationships, starting with yourself
- LEARN and GROW: update all those skills you need to survive today.
And if you own or run a business, then figure out how to teach and train all your employees these methodologies. We all know they don’t come to you with them naturally, they’re not teaching them in college, and there’s no school on creating the worker of the future. So go ahead and beat the competition and be that for them!
What Skills Will the Worker of the Future Need to Succeed?
Aside from the technical skills needed to complete their work, the WORKER OF THE FUTURE will need other skills that I would argue are much more important. After all, technical skills are relatively easy to acquire and train. These other skills aren’t so easy to come by and require significantly more time and energy to develop.
- The worker of the future must be:
- Obsessed with learning and growing
- Authentic and vulnerable with others
- A great communicator
- Knowledgable about what their “why” is and what they have to contribute to
- Entrepreneurial (even if your ambition is more intrapreneurial in nature)
- Certain of who they are
- Able to tell stories that connect
- A leader
Did you notice that the four skills at the top of the list are concepts we’ve been talking about for years?! As a matter of fact that is what we do and who we are. We believe are at the precipice of creating and building theWORKER OF THE FUTURE!
What Can I Do Now to Ensure I’m Becoming the Worker of the Future?
Whether you’re an employee who wants to ensure you always have a job, a manager who wants to keep climbing the career ladder, a freelancer who wants to make sure you’ll always be in-demand, or an entrepreneur who wants to build a business that people can’t get enough of, you need to start by ensuring YOU are becoming the WORKER OF THE FUTURE.
To do that, you start by focusing on yourself. Yes, you need to cultivate those thirteen skills on the list above, but you need to understand yourself first. Because you can’t help others and you can’t have the impact you want, without getting real about who you are, what your story is, and what you have to offer in the workplace.
If you’re serious about becoming, hiring and/or training the worker of the future, you need to invest in yourself now to make sure you will win in the years to come.
- Focus on What You Can Control.
- Deepen Your Relationship With Yourself.
- Know Your Story and What You Have to Offer.
- Develop the Thirteen Worker of the Future Skills You Need for Success.
- Make it About Others.
- Always be Learning and Growing