Karunjit Kumar Dhir is the Co-founder of SCIKEY Market Network. He has spent the last two decades working on the business side in the technology consulting domain helping fortune clients from multiple industries and geographies.
Change is the only constant. Even more fascinating is the pace at which this change is happening now, with technology at its core. It might have taken decades of research & hard work to invent the first typewriter in the 19th century and many decades after that for the world to get its first computer. In current times, the market leaders launch new upgraded smart devices every few months. What took decades to change earlier is now changing so rapidly and in a few months.
We are living in a totally different & rapidly evolving world. And, the world of work is no different either. With technological adoption happening at a breakneck pace coupled with the fast-evolving human aspirations, we are at the cusp of an inflection point that will redefine the ‘Future if Work’ for good. There was a time when all someone expected out of their work was a steady source of income. People spent decades in one job and working for the same employer. Not anymore. In the 21st century, employment and work are not only about making a living. Today’s workforce expects a lot more meaning(purpose), fulfilment, social belongingness & an emotional connection from their jobs & work, with the monetary aspect only a natural given.
Another crucial aspect of the Future of Work is the dimension of remote work. Until a year ago, working from home was more of a privilege & perquisite that only a few could enjoy, but the pandemic has wholly changed this equation. Now a majority of tech-driven or tech-enabled industries have adopted remote working as a good practice. As a result, conscious efforts & investments are being put into making future workplaces more flexible, efficient & employee-friendly.
However, technology is only as good as the people and business outcomes it can achieve for any organization. Today, the business & people challenges and goals around the ‘Future of Work’ are very different from those until a few years ago. Talent attraction, employee engagement, performance management, productivity, talent mobility, and talent retention demand a radically different approach in this era. While most business enterprises earlier had productivity and profits at the center of their business & people strategy, it is not a viable model anymore. Instead, employee experience, customer centricity, diversity & inclusion, empowerment, and mental well-being have taken center stage, becoming critical components of any business strategy now. This is where the digital marketplaces enable business leaders. The significant shift that we experience in the fundamental nature & work methods is enabled by automation, digital platforms, and other similar innovation. The work doesn’t get done in silos anymore, and even the way the work or tasks are packaged, assigned & distributed has shifted tremendously. There are fewer manual tasks, different working models, a higher proportion of remote staff, more dispersed teams in multiple geographies, and a comparatively more minor physical infrastructure with increased cloud adoption.
Digital marketplaces, both internal & external, ride on the power of technology like AI, automation, data & cloud. From helping the organizations identify the right talent, access social proof, leveraging chatbots to boost process efficiencies and build engagement, AI-powered analysis of facial expressions, word choice, speech & even emotional patterns to assess talent suitability are just a few examples. It also makes organizations work faster & smarter by improving the processes, removing bottlenecks & dependencies while eradicating bias. A step further is applying AI models to assist organizations in predictive & prescriptive analysis harnessing the power of data in a digital marketplace model.
With access to data & insights available in the public domain and the entire organization’s data in a digital marketplace, mighty insight engines can be built that can help solve some crucial business challenges. From skill mapping across the teams, functions & geographies to predicting attrition, enabling talent mobility, helping in succession-planning, and performance management, the applications of AI & automation are significant. The use of AI & automation will also improve employee engagement & job satisfaction levels. People will derive higher value by focusing more on collaboration, creativity, innovation & fulfilling work rather than wasting a significant portion of their time on mundane, repetitive low-value tasks.
AI & automation powered digital marketplaces will make the businesses more efficient, agile, customer & people-focused, safer, and bring in a positive outlook, fairness & diversity at the workplace. People will contribute, collaborate, experience more transparency or data-driven decisions, a well-organized work stack, flexibility, and productivity-enhancing tools. All of this put together shall create the proper foundation of scale & offering the best-in-class experience.
Another critical shift these digital marketplaces shall trigger is changing and expanding how individuals look for jobs and work. It will also impact how the companies identify and recruit talent. With the rise of the gig & sharing economy, independent workers are increasingly choosing to offer their services on digital platforms & online marketplaces, in the process, challenging conventional ideas about how and where work gets done.
To summarise, here are some of the ways digital marketplaces are all set to change the ‘Future of Work’ with AI & Automation –
- Enable the rise of remote & digital workforce
- Use of AI & automation to focus on high-value tasks by automating low-value tasks
- Increased collaboration between machines & humans for better business outcomes
- A very high focus on improving flexibility, experience, security & privacy
- Using technology & data to improve employability, growth & learnability at the workplace
- Supporting human aspirations, soft skills & mental well-being
- Empowering the distributed teams, gig economy & alternative workforce
- Greater personalization, diversity & inclusion
- Improved internal communication & growth planning
- More sustainable & ethical organizations