Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Future of The Workplace

One significant effect of India’s demographic dividend has been that the composition of our workforce has changed more rapidly than that of most other countries. While in the United States or Japan the workforce has aged significantly, in our part of the world it has become much younger. Technology, and the affinity and ease with which the younger generation of workers use technology, has changed the workplace, as they have changed the fabric of our society. The workforce that we see today is diverse in gender, colour, race, origin, orientation and their likes and dislikes, what is interesting though is that this workforce doesn’t allow these differences to affect their work or personal relationships.

While most organizations conduct orientation and induction programs to allow new workers to assimilate into the organization and its culture, forward looking companies have been long aware that the workplace of today, in terms of both amenities and culture, may not be able to attract and retain the talent of the future. Technology has changed the way that we do business, and continues to change the way we lead our lives. A couple of decades back when a large proportion of today’s workforce was entering their profession or were settling down in their careers, mobile telephony was the stuff of luxury and to some extent fiction. Today a business, or for that matter an individual, cannot dream of functioning without the same. Social networking has made connecting and communicating with friends and affinity groups easier, and the prospective employee today seeks more information about the future workplace from informal channels than from official channels. Across the globe more women have entered and re-entered the workforce, and structures and policies have changed and need to change to accommodate the aspirations and needs of this demographic, and to leverage the unique qualities of this ever growing workforce. The differently-abled today have access to knowledge and resources and are completely capable of significantly contributing to the economy, and organizations are creating spaces that take into consideration their special needs. The workplace is also becoming truly cosmopolitan and global. This new workforce takes flexibility for granted, is at ease with the concept of taking charge of their own careers, and unlike the workers of yesteryears do not expect job security. They are aware of the fast changing dynamics of the workplace and know the need of upgrading their skills on a regular basis. While they do not expect employment for life, they do expect that their organisations will help them to remain employable. These changes also mean that organizations require tweaking their work culture, their compensation and benefits, as well as their motivational tools to tune in with the requirements of this diverse and technology savvy workforce. In this issue we try to envisage from employees as well as employers the changes that they are incorporating in their workplace and the changes that they foresee in the future.

We have also incorporated a couple of new sections in this issue, and have tried to get news and a view from the middle-east, a market that is grows in importance with time. As always we hope that you find the magazine engaging and useful. Do write to us with your feedback, we depend on your views to improve The Human Factor with every issue.

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