What Does the “Future of Work” Look Like? We’re Already Living It!

Picking Machine LearningThis summer, People 2.0’s CSO Jeff Nugent appeared on the Ardent Partners’ podcast, “Contingent Workforce Weekly,” to discuss the real benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in today’s world of work, the ways online staffing models are transforming recruitment and talent acquisition, and what businesses can do now to harness the impact of the future of work.

 

Throughout the podcast, Jeff makes it clear that although the full scope of what the “future of work” will entail can only be revealed in due time, the following trends demonstrate the ways the current contingent workforce landscape is shifting and shows the future is already here!

 

THE REAL IMPACT OF AI

While AI is making an immediate impact on the contingent workforce space and is starting to be utilized by all technologies in this realm, the established ecosystem (consisting of staffing organizations, managed service providers, vendor management systems, etc.) is not going anywhere anytime soon. Instead, AI works to make these businesses and technologies more efficient by helping them process information more logically and quickly.

For example, when looking to onboard candidates, vendor management systems (VMS) can utilize AI chat bots to text candidates or prompt them to answer questions—eliminating the need for manual data entry, and providing candidates with the personalized feeling of talking to someone. Additionally, AI can enhance VMS processes on the back-end by using logarithms to understand hiring-manager preferences, and more quickly filter the best candidates to the top.

However, this is not to suggest that AI should replace recruiters or staffing specialists altogether. Given you’re still dealing with people and qualities like cultural fit are so important when placing candidates, AI works best when it serves to supplement recruiting efforts and take on rote tasks.

 

THE RISE OF ONLINE STAFFING PLATFORMS

In today’s world of work, most tasks (e.g. car rides, dog walking, etc.) can be outsourced via apps. Therefore, it’s no surprise that online staffing platforms, ones that automate traditional staffing paths to make them more “app-like,” are on the rise.

Similar to the path the traditional staffing-vendor community took, online staffing platforms are breaking into the market by niching their way in (e.g. placing only management consultants, designers, etc.), and applying a “cool” interface to the process. This serves to provide a positive user experience, given it makes the platform more accessible and easy to use.

Still, we see the need for a balance between what technology can offer and what only people can do. While traditional staffing companies are trying to implement these same interfaces for their organizations, online platforms are utilizing people to connect consultants to their end employers, as well as completing other items AI cannot finish. This juxtaposition further demonstrates how AI, as beneficial (and inevitable) as it is, cannot totally replace human beings is the staffing realm.

 

THE EVOLUTION OF HOW WORK GETS DONE

When it comes to getting work done, there’s no denying that talent plays a big role in that. While cost savings and visibility are still important in managing a contingent workforce, the reality is the future of work places an emphasis on optimizing the way work is done using new technologies and strategies (similar to those mentioned above).

With that being said, in order for these new technologies and strategies to be successful, they must fit into the current, legacy ecosystem. Given these resources serve as the backbone of organizations’ contingent workforce strategies, the industry is seeing that the most successful, newer technologies are ones that implement and work with existing systems. Similarly, the legacy ecosystem needs to become less protective of their lead in the marketplace, in order to enhance ways of working.

Furthermore, the evolution of getting work done is not only rooted in new advancements in technology, but also in different ways of thinking and operating. With clients looking for total-talent management, contingent labor is no longer being seen as a “lesser form of work.” As such, HR departments and procurement organizations are starting to partner together more, depending on individual business’ needs, to ensure the best talent is being identified to fill various roles—regardless of job-type.

 

Ultimately, as the world of work continues to transform and evolve, it becomes imperative that your organization changes with it. So what can you do today to ensure your business is ready for what the future of work will bring?

  • Evaluate where you are today and create a pragmatic roadmap you can follow to lead your organization forward.
  • Progress your organization by researching/implementing AI technologies that can take over manual processes (e.g. administrative tasks, paperwork, etc.)—allowing your people to spend more time on high-value-add tasks instead.
  • Look at market trends to figure out what types of roles you should be look to staff for your clients, given some are becoming obsolete.

 

Interested in learning more? To hear the full interview, check out the podcast here, or for more contingent workforce insights from Jeff, check out our recent blog post.

 

Source: Ardent Partners, “Contingent Workforce Weekly, Episode 306: A Conversation with Jeff Nugent, Chief Strategy and Global Business Development Officer of People 2.0.”