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The future is now

I recently attended an IBEC event to witness the launch of their latest campaign 'Smarter World, Smarter Work - Preparing Ireland for a new era of work'. This campaign really is an exciting prospect with lobbying bodies, industry leaders and educational heads coming together to help build a collaborative and trailblazing business environment in Ireland. 

One phrase really stood out to me at the campaign launch, ‘The Future is Now’. I realised I’ve been hearing this again and again lately in the Irish business media and through my own conversations. 

There is no doubt that we are living in uncharted times, with the impact of the ‘digital era’ being felt across our society. But are we ready for this brave new world or at least the rate of change it is bringing? 

Given the impact this is having on the workforce, it begs the question - what can we do to ensure that our business continues to keep up with the ever changing environment?

I’ve spoken in my previous blog about Ireland’s place on the global stage and the risks associated with a globalised, fast-growing economy. But what other external factors are at play in terms of an impending ‘workplace revolution’?

Legislation

There were 53 legislative changes relating to staffing in Europe in 2017 (source SIA), with GDPR receiving the most hype, panic and airtime and having to be implemented globally by any organisation that processes EU data. 

In comparison, other legislative changes across Europe have gone more or less under the radar, but have resulted in some of our European counterparts actually reducing the regulatory employment environment, whilst others became more stringent. 

On a global scale, Ireland ranks well in terms of our employment regulation rigidity. According to the June 2018 SIA report on Complex Contingent Markets, we are one of the least complex markets globally in terms of employment legislation. 

This bodes very well for the continued future growth of the Irish economy, as regulatory conditions are high on the list of considerations of any organisation looking to invest in Ireland or expanding an existing workforce. 

The regulatory environment will always continue to go through change so employers must ensure that their staffing strategies are agile enough to survive and succeed in this evolving landscape.

Flexibility 

We have seen a monumental shift in our workplace; Millennials are being credited with the increase in demand for a work-life balance but in reality this is a cross-generational trend.

The competition for talent is at its highest and shows no sign of abating; companies are looking at a wider inclusion talent pool, which often needs to include greater flexibility to accommodate. Technology is also oiling the wheels of change by facilitating home working and remote working to allow a more flexible, balanced lifestyle. 

The traditional, rigid 9-5 structure of a permanent-only workforce can no longer be the sustainable model for any company that wants to attract and crucially, to keep the best talent. 

Recent research by HSBC found that a whopping 89% of employees cite remote working as the number one motivator to boost productivity, compared with 77% of respondents who indicated financial incentives as motivational. The tide is clearly changing.

Employers who embrace change and lead the way in facilitating the workplace of the future will not only have a wider and more diverse talent pool, a more engaged and fulfilled workforce but ultimately be more successful.

Employability

According to the World Economic Forum over 60% of children today will work in jobs that currently do not exist. So how, conceivably, do we build a workforce that can flourish and develop where we are faced with such an unknown? 

We need to ensure that our emerging workforce is equipped with the skills and behaviours that will allow for transient, ever changing careers. But employers must also adjust their recruitment models to account for this. We are already seeing the demand for technical skills is gradually being replaced with softer skills that are transversal, coupled with industry specific knowledge. 

We must ask ourselves then, are we equipping our future workforce with “employable” skills and how are we adjusting our recruitment process to ensure that we are attracting and recruiting the best talent?

As someone who has worked within the recruitment industry for over 20 years, I see exciting but challenging times ahead, not just for the recruitment industry but also for employers, employees, and job-seekers. After all, we will all have to navigate this future workforce.

Recruitment in Ireland is evolving

I regularly see our clients looking for more than traditional recruitment services. They are looking for consultative advice; for innovative solutions underpinned by technology; and for sustainable staffing solutions that can adjust, develop and grow agilely with their business.

We launched Guidant IRC in January 2018 in a response to this, expanding Guidant Group’s outsourced recruitment services into the Irish market. 

To fulfil this new demand we create unique, bespoke recruitment and outsourcing solutions for clients across all industry sectors. We align our goals to that of the client, not simply traditional ‘recruitment’ metrics; meaning that the success of our programmes is intrinsically linked to the success of a client or project.

So if you are unsure how to succeed within new legislative boundaries, struggling to attract the best talent cost effectively or simply like to chat more on how to future proof your workforce given that as many are saying, ‘The Future is Now’, feel free to contact me on niamh.obrien@guidantirc.ie 

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