A glimpse into the forces shaping tomorrow’s workforce

What according to you, will the Workforce of Future look like?

The workforce of the future will be more adept with technological advancements and adaptable to working seamlessly from a remote location. There will be less command and control cultures and much more focus on energizing and enabling. The term employee will expand to include all types of engagement – short term, contractual, gigs, project-based, and long term. This will ensure continued efficiency and offer key leverage in operations as more and more companies move towards a distributed and flexible workforce.

Additionally, it will be imperative upon companies to instill a culture and value system which encourages employees to be motivated even if they are working remotely. However, organizations will need to watch out for an exacerbation of the digital divide. The ability to work in a digital and fully networked organization will become a necessary skill and this will result in a younger workforce; with an assumption that the people who are older will take more time to adapt to the new norms. The less privileged who have less access to digital will tend to get left out. On a positive side, hopefully, we will have less congested cities.

When we look at the workplaces post-pandemic, what should be the new normal? What is the top of the mind issues/priorities for key stakeholders – HR and employees?

Organizations are becoming more and more receptive towards having a majority of employees working from remote locations while implementing strict social distancing norms for the small percentage of employees working from the offices. The new normal of the future will include a workforce which is well equipped to function without necessitating their physical presence in the same location as their colleagues, while also having the tools & capabilities to collaborate productively wherever required. We will need to metricize work more effectively to enable remote working and invest disproportionately in enhancing managerial capabilities as well as managing remote teams. Reskilling talent will become imperative due to the discovery of new formats of work and the galloping use of AI, ML & Automation to replace logical, routine & repetitive work. From a macro-level perspective, the new normal will have strong implications on real estate, city planning & public infrastructure where the focus will be on mix-use development so as to reduce daily commute.

However, the utmost priority will undeniably be the health and safety of the employees.

What has been your experience with digitization, AI & Robotics in HR? Is India ready for such a huge transformation?

The impact of Industry 4.0 which is led by artificial intelligence and digitization has been witnessed across industries for a while now. These new-age technologies have been enhancing our lives for years, in ways we may not even be aware of, however, its effectiveness has become extremely evident now. The transformation is happening at a fast pace, whether we are “ready or not”.

In the current pandemic, companies across the country have become privier to the use of AI and robotics in their functioning. Increasingly HR practitioners are managing things that haven’t traditionally been in their remit, BCP planning is one such example. Automation of routine, repetitive, and logical tasks has become the new norm. In order to keep the workforce engaged and motivated, employer brand and internal communication has emerged as one of the key focus areas for the function.

At ZEE, our priority is to drive technology to ensure efficient data capturing and analyzing which will lead to a sharper data analytics platform that improves our decision making. We also use technology to broaden our reach and reduce biases in talent acquisition as well as to improve the overall employee experience.

About the author

Animesh Kumar is the Chief People Officer at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL). Having over 25 years of experience, Animesh has led the HR function at large scale Indian and Multi-National Companies for over 15 years. In his previous stint, he was associated with the Future Group as the Chief People & Transformation Officer wherein he was responsible for driving the internal transformation

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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