New Ways To Work

The employment landscape is in flux, impacted by forces that are transforming the workplace and introducing new ways to work. The most powerful of these…

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Mark J. Barrenechea

October 17, 20184 minute read

The employment landscape is in flux, impacted by forces that are transforming the workplace and introducing new ways to work. The most powerful of these forces? Shifting demographics in the workplace, digital technology and globalization.

We are at a tipping point where in the next three to five years, the workforce will be predominantly made up of Millennials—Gen Y and Gen Z.

Together, these demographics are the “digital elite.”

The average Gen Z’er has the attention span of about eight seconds. I’ll let that sink in (for a few more seconds). As Millennials, they are causing a seismic shift in the workplace through new technologies, values, work ethic and expectations. They are creating new ways to work—a geography of jobs that calls for entirely new skill sets, approaches and management styles.

Millennials march to the beat of a different drum and the Intelligent and Connected Enterprise will have to embrace their work habits.

Gen Z’ers multitask across at least five screens a day and spend 41% of their free time on computers or mobile devices. They expect to use the same tools in the office that they use in their leisure time, like social media, mobile connectivity, gesture-based interfaces and wearable devices. Mobility and flexibility guides this workforce.

Gen Z’ers are attracted to organizations that are entrepreneurial in nature or function like a startup with more freedom and much less control. Organizations will need to support diversity and equality to stimulate productivity, as well as a highly evolving and inclusive workforce.

The new workplace infrastructure will be fluid, dynamic, global and diverse. Hierarchies will flatten, organizational structures will decentralize and the work environment will be collaborative and highly social.

Employees will expect easy and open access to information, knowledge and expertise. Large volumes of data will lead to greater insights. Information will drive intelligent action in the enterprise.

HR practices will also transform to support recruitment and retention of top talent. The entire hiring process will become digitized from end to end. Video resumes will feature prominently while interviews, onboarding and training will occur via video conferencing.

Managing the Millennial workforce, the new skill sets they bring and new job functions will also require new leadership qualities with flexible approaches and attitudes. Gen Z values transparency with clear expectations on performance, strategy and accountability. They want to be set up for success, not failure and will respect strong leaders who mentor, coach and direct them successfully, each step of the way.

Digital technologies support new ways to work. Over the next few years, open communication platforms, collaborative technologies, video conferencing, sophisticated machine-language translation technologies, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and holographic technology will fuel a global workplace.

As workloads and data moves to the cloud, people will follow.

In what has been referred to as the “human cloud”—sites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk are matching freelancers with employees to complete projects and tasks. The demand for these kinds of workers is growing. McKinsey estimates that by 2025, there will be 540 million workers in the human cloud.

Inside the enterprise, crowdsourcing will deliver competitive advantage like faster time-to-market and lower development costs. On-demand, high value connections with consumers will help organizations produce better products and services.

The Intelligent and Connected Enterprise will rely on data, AI and analytics. Many routine, repetitive and even white-collar administrative tasks will be replaced by computers and robots. AI-driven robots (called Co-bots) will work alongside humans, allowing people to program machines to do the tasks they do not want to do.

People will engage with each other and machines to innovate in ways not previously possible or even imaginable.

According to a study completed by the World Economic Forum, high-end data analysts, computer programmers, software developers, information security analysts, product designers, architects, engineers, senior managers and specialized salespeople will be in demand in 2020.

The Intelligent and Connected Enterprise will embrace the forces transforming the workplace and create an infrastructure that supports connectivity, collaboration and compliance. There will be a critical requirement for organizations and governments to protect our personal data and use data for the good.

This is my final post in this blog series. Thank you for reading about how OpenText EIM delivers the Intelligent and Connected Enterprise in this Mundus Novus. I hope it has inspired you to unlock the potential of your organization’s information.


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Mark J. Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea joined OpenText as President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2012, and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. In January 2016, Mark took on the role of Chief Technology Officer and was appointed Vice Chair in September 2017.

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