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Via Benefits Pro : How automation will impact the next generation of work

Artificial intelligence, data analytics and other emerging automated technologies are not only going to impact low-wage workers, but also highly compensated executives and other professionals – and employers should be helping them to prepare now for the digital New World, according to Guardian’s report, “The Next Generation of Work.”

Most workers shouldn’t fear their jobs will become obsolete, though – only about 5 percent of all jobs will be phased out entirely due to automation, according to the report. However, most jobs will continue to change and workers will be redeployed, and to remain viable, workers will need to beef up their skills in creativity, collaboration and communication.

That will take workers learning more specialized skills — but to date, many have not and hence, they risk becoming less valued in their current work environment, according to the report. A minority of working Americans have taken on a new role at their current employer (23 percent), been cross-trained (18 percent), made a career change (12 percent) or returned to school for further education (11 percent).

“A more technology-enabled workplace is creating a widening gap between the skills employees possess and the skills employers require,” the authors write. “Job openings increasingly are in occupations that require higher-level social or analytic skills; physical or manual skills are fading somewhat in importance.”

Some of the strategies that Guardian recommends for employers to adapt to an increasingly digitized workplace include modernizing the workforce by reinventing the recruiting, hiring and training processes; closing existing skills gaps and building competencies in business technology, communication, writing and problem-solving; enabling the organization to anticipate and respond to on-demand talent needs, or to secure specific skills required to remain competitive in the evolving workplace; adapting workplace strategies for the millions of working Americans (many of them millennials) who embrace a new work paradigm and choose flexible or remote work arrangements and non-traditional career paths; and implementing a change management strategy that enables the organization — from top to bottom — to overcome barriers to success in a more automated and digital world.

Other study highlights include:

  • Twice as many businesses expect total employment to increase (38 percent) in the next five years compared to those anticipating downsizing (16 percent). Jobs will continue to change and workers will be re-deployed and require skills in creativity, collaboration and communication.
  • Millennials are more likely to embrace opportunities to acquire new skills, such as taking on a new role, cross-training, making a career change or returning to school. Gen Xers, who still have 10 to 25 years before retirement, are less likely to have taken steps to improve skills. One in five Baby Boomers would retire when faced with significant work/job changes.
  • Nearly four in ten employers indicate that staffing (including recruiting, hiring and training) is a top business challenge for their organization.
  • One in five U.S. companies expect an increase in their agile workforce in the coming five years as younger generations lean toward non-traditional employment arrangements, flexible schedules, part-time/contingent and non-permanent positions.

Via Forbes : 5 Powerful Ways To Confront Change In The Workplace

The American workplace is changing at a rapid pace that’s rarely been seen before. New technologies, combined with an influx of millions of millennials into the workforce, means change is inevitable.

Are you prepared to handle it?

Change is Inevitable

As they say, the only constant in life is change. The business world is the perfect example of this, where technology, ideas, and theories are continually evolving. At times, all of this uncertainty can be overwhelming, but you can’t let it frustrate you. Change is what ultimately drives growth, so you have to be willing to accept it.

“Humans are programmed to like certainty. We’ve all had times where something that ‘should’ have happened doesn’t and we all know that feeling of annoyance that creeps up. If what happens is something we really didn’t want, well, annoyance blows into anger for some,” says James Kessick of Netpicks, a trading platform that helps traders deal with uncertainty.

But why do we get annoyed by change? Kessick says it happens because we, as humans, love the illusion of control. “Look around you – the human race has devised an infinite number of devices and contraptions with the idea of controlling the previously uncontrollable.”

Until you recognize that change is going to happen, and get over the frustration that comes with it, you won’t be able to effectively manage your business. This isn’t to say change is no longer problematic after you learn to accept it, but it does become easier to deal with.

5 Tips for Managing Change in the Workplace

From a management and leadership perspective, managing change is a major challenge. Not only is technology advancing at a rapid pace, but the infusion of millennials into the workplace means ideologies and approaches are changing. There’s an entirely new perspective on what work entails and the role people and businesses play in carrying out particular tasks.

1. Prepare for Multiple Outcomes

It’s impossible to know what the future holds. The very nature of change is such that you can’t predict or control what happens. Having said that, the best thing you can do is stop trying to guess what will happen. Instead, you should place as many small bets as you can on a variety of different outcomes. While you’ll miss on some of them, the idea is that the change you do account for will ultimately benefit you more. By preparing for multiple outcomes in a scenario, you’re essentially hedging your bets. You’re ensuring that you don’t get caught in a situation where you’re unprepared or unable to move.

For example, let’s say you’re currently dealing with the idea of flexible work scheduling. Instead of suddenly allowing all of your employees to work from home whenever the please, it would be smarter to experiment with some different options. Let certain employees work from home once a week and others full-time. Then, let another group try flex scheduling, where they can choose the hours they come into the office. Some of these techniques will prove ineffective, but the fact that you’re accounting for multiple outcomes in the short-term ensures you’ll be able to find the best outcome in the long run.

2. Quiet Your Limbic System

Are you familiar with the limbic system? According to entrepreneur Travis Bradberry, “The limbic system responds to uncertainty with a knee-jerk fear reaction, and fear inhibits good decision-making. People who are good at dealing with uncertainty are wary of this fear and spot it as soon as it begins to surface. In this way, they can contain it before it gets out of control.”

Fear is a big part of change. Once you’re able to deal with the fear component of the equation, your decision making will naturally become more rational and calculated.

3. Get Over the Pursuit of Perfection

How many mistakes do you think you make on a daily basis? Five? Ten? Fifteen? Between little things and big responsibilities, we’re all making a handful of mistakes on a daily basis. According to research, the average person will make 773,618 decisions in a lifetime. Of those decisions, 143,262 – or nearly 20 percent – will be regrets. In other words, you aren’t going to be perfect – not even for a day.

The sooner you get over the notion that you can or should be perfect, change will come easier. You’ll put less pressure on yourself and be more willing to confront the challenges and decisions that await you.

4. Prioritize People Over Processes

Having processes in place can help you deal with change, just as certain mathematical equations can be used to help mathematicians solve unique problems. But ultimately, an equation can only do so much. The same is true of business processes. You can have processes in place to handle unique challenges, but it’s the people behind these processes that matter most.

When confronted with change, a computer program or piece of software is only going to do so much for you. You really need to have strong relationships with people you can trust. Together, you can use your collective knowledge, experience, and creativity to tackle these new issues. Prioritize people over processes and you’ll be better off almost every time.

5. Know Your Limits

As previously mentioned, you’re human and can’t be perfect. Once you realize this, you’re free to confront the fact that you have limitations. Recognizing your limits isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s a sign of self-awareness. When you know what you can and can’t do, you’re able to hand off certain responsibilities and processes to other people who are better prepared to handle a specific element of change. It can be humbling to do this, but it’s usually what’s best for the company.

For Best Results, Confront Change Head-On

The American workplace isn’t going to stop changing. If anything, it’ll evolve at an even faster rate moving forward. Naturally, your tendency will be to retreat. The status quo is much more comfortable and the majority of people prefer to keep things as is. You can’t resist change forever, though. At some point, change becomes inevitable and no business is immune.

The smartest thing you can do is confront change head-on. Picture yourself as a kick returner handling a kickoff in a football game. If you catch the ball, stand there, and wait for the kicking team to reach you, you’re going to get hurt. You may even fumble the ball and give it to the opposition with good field position. However, if you catch the ball and start running full speed ahead towards the kicking team, you have more options. Even if you aren’t able to evade the defenders, you’ll at least be able to hit back and deflect some of the force.

Change is scarier when you stand still. There’s something about moving towards it that gives you some semblance of control. As you deal with change in your business, remember to take action and do your best to set yourself up for success.

Via Business Daily :  Future of workplace with Generation Z knocking

In the next year or two, the workplace faces an unprecedented situation where for the first time, due to the fact that we’re all living longer, five generations may be working side by side: Veterans (pre-World War II); the Baby Boomers (World War II – 1960s); Generation X (mid-60s – late 1970s); Millennials (aka Generation Y) (1979 – 1991); and last, but not least, the largely unknown factor: Generation Z, born after 1992.

It’s estimated that there are more than two billion of Gen Z worldwide. In Africa, a third of the population is under the age of 21.

It may be too soon to be definitive about the characteristics of this generation, but they are said to be realistic, cause- and value-driven, entrepreneurial, financially prudent, and have boundless curiosity.

This is the first generation born into a fully technological environment — a world of being connected, being digital, and having mobile phones or tablets as a matter of course. They’re therefore more advanced in searching for information and figuring things out on their own.

It’s said that Generation Z will have jobs that have not even been created yet. But that’s not the only thing we aren’t sure of. Although there’s some indication of who they are and the influences shaping them, their characters are still forming and their role in the workplace is yet to take shape.

And, let’s face it: organisations are still struggling to analyse the challenge that Millennials pose in the workplace. These include fitting in with organisational culture, their communication style preferences and negative stereotypes of each generation. All these need to be managed in the workplace.

What exactly are they going to do when Generation Z arrives?

Business as usual

Popular wisdom argues for a fairly predictable set of approaches — all of which are wise. And increasingly people are understanding that while there are important differences between generations, they can be complementary and there is a significant opportunity for both ends of the age spectrum to learn from each other.

Listed staffing agency Robert Half asked chief financial offices where the biggest differences (and therefore opportunities for learning) lay between generations in the workplace. Thirty per cent said “communication skills”, 26 per cent said “adapting to change”, 23 per cent said “technical skills”, 14 per cent said “cross-departmental collaboration”, and seven per cent noted “no differences”.

The gist of tried and tested approaches is to encourage collaboration between generations; facilitate mentoring; allow for a cross-pollination of knowledge, where older employees share their experience, and younger employees contribute technological know-how, newer techniques and innovation.

It has also been well argued that managers should take the lead in adapting their management style rather than expecting staff to change.

The crucial bridge

But just how different will Generation Z really be? The Millennials (aka Generation Y) has been described more than once as “Generation X on steroids”. All indications are that Generation Z will take this up a notch.

Emma Davies, human resources manager for South African construction company ALEC, says the organisation has already experienced this to some extent with work experience students:

They are a very politically aware generation, and they have been taught to question everything, but to do so respectfully. The toddler stage of asking ‘why?’ does not end!

Both inside and outside the workplace, listening skills, patience, tolerance and humility will become more and more crucial for older generations. And two-way mentorship will become even more important than it has been with Millennials.

Generation Y has already pointed to some important changes that need to happen. Because they want involvement and feedback and are generally outspoken they have played a role in creating a more inclusive workplace as teamwork has become central to their work life.

This will be a crucial tool in making the most of the skills of Generation Z. This, combined with their strong communication skills and self-awareness, will emphasise the importance of teamwork.

These integration skills may prove crucial in helping to manage Generation Zs. Millennials, in this sense, may function as a bridge. This isn’t to say it will all be plain sailing, even if older employees are patient and ready to learn from the youngsters.

Generation Y and Z’s desire for connectedness and relationships on the part can be used for more successful mentorships. A desire for learning could also help alleviate tension with Generation Xs, Baby Boomers and Veterans, who may otherwise experience them as disrespectful or arrogant.

Focus on the similarities

But stereotyping needs to be avoided. South African organisations are very familiar with the effects that negative racial stereotyping can have on teams and productivity.

They need to guard against the same thing happening with different generations. By fixating on minor differences and taking them out of context, and by failing to appreciate similarities, organisations could be missing an opportunity.

More than that, the differences between generations might be smaller than we think. Research from the University of North Carolina showed that Millennials want the same things as Generation X and Baby Boomers: challenging, meaningful work; opportunities for learning, development and advancement; support to successfully integrate work and personal life; fair treatment and competitive compensation.

And all three generations agreed on the characteristics of an ideal leader — a person who leads by example, is accessible, acts as a coach and mentor, helps employees see how their roles contribute to the organisation, and challenges others and holds them accountable.

The chances are, Generation Z won’t be too far off this mark either.

via BW DisruptFive Colors that Can Change the Way You Work

Color psychology is a subtle yet effective way to improve employee productivity. Sometimes a touch of color introduced through furniture or accessories can go a long way in affecting your behavior and even stress levels. The tactical representation of colors not only changes moods, but also profoundly magnifies productivity.

Infusion of color and design is not just limited to the outward beauty and appearance of a space but it is also a tangible way to enhance workplace emotions. Since colors are a fundamental part of our wellbeing, why not infuse workplace with colors that help to pursuit workplace happiness. When in the process of workplace ideation, study the science behind choosing specific colors to ascertain enduring benefits.

Here are some colors to invigorate your workplace:

Red to rekindle the office spirit

To be tied to one place all day long is vexing, so it’s no wonder that highly engaged professionals move around and change postures more frequently in the day. To encourage movement, add pops of red. Red is an exceptionally powerful and electrifying color which is known for encouraging movement and boosting energy. Carpets or floor rugs are a great way to add a splash of vigor to a workplace.

Yellow to bring out your thinking hat

The solution for a collaborative workplace is to create distraction free places that foster teamwork. Only 69 percent of employees in India feel like they are able to choose where to work in the office based on t

he task. It is imperative to provide employees with the right environment that nurtures innovation and cutting edge ideas.

Yellow and orange are colors associated with creative thinking and energy, so adding pops of these colors through tables or seating in collaborative spaces, can create a spark of inspiration. Yellow being the jauntiest color in the spectrum, should be used sparingly in order to balance the vibrant mix of the space. There’s also an infusion of yellow with other citrus tones that lends to the overall workplace mindset. However, to avoid aggressive behaviorism, given the vibrant element of these shades, they might not be desirable as a main wall color.

Green and blue to intensify focus

Mother Nature’s palette is often considered to have shades of tranquility and calm. These are used to complement the other vibrant tints in the space. Universally, blue is used as a main color for walls as well as accents of desks and tables, primarily due to its neutrality. Every professional whether an accountant, filmmaker or doctor faces the casualty of privacy. Given the privacy crisis present in offices, the demand for focus and attentiveness is high. Shades of blue and green are popularly used for website interfaces, break rooms and large office spaces. The welcoming, voluminous and captivating nature, similar to that of the ocean, proves to be an effective concentration therapy.

Earthy brown to create stability

Brown symbolizes stability which is the core of any working professional. Even the most well designed office can make employees feel chained to negative emotions. Brown has the enigma and confidence blended with steadiness and safety. The deep chocolate brown tones have a trendy look and suit natural light. Placing a colorful vase or accessory on a plain brown surface creates an atmosphere of involvement, thereby increasing confidence and reliability.

White to maintain a state of calm

White is known to help people remain in a calm state. Often used at law offices, the color tone helps to pacify a stressful or argumentative state of mind. When discussions become heated, conference rooms can use this color to their advantage. Many corporates have tactically incorporated white in their office spaces. However, the homochromous nature might cause diversion due to lack of bustle. So best is to use it frugally.

Many factors play into corporate contentment, but the physical setting plays a significant role in appealing to human-centric emotions. One of the simplest ways to improve employee productivity is through the strategic use of color. Though colors are ubiquitous, intelligent use of color at a workplace can go a long way in creating a vibrant culture which can indirectly help your business goals.

Via College : In most organizations, continuous learning and self-improvement isn’t a formal requirement, but it’s one of the top unwritten ones. Wherever you are in your company, taking charge of your own development is always a good idea.

And the nice thing is, you don’t need an embossed invitation to a leadership training to prepare you for the next level. Here are six skills everyone can (and should) work to improve, regardless of where you’re at in your career.

1. MINDFULNESS

Let’s say you’re in a meeting with a colleague who shares a great idea that was originally yours, but he doesn’t give you credit. Anyone will have that initial moment of “OMG, he’s stealing my idea!” However, a person who practices mindfulness is able to notice that reaction and then pause for a beat to examine the situation objectively (“Maybe he forgot that was my idea…”) before publicly correcting him in what may become an embarrassing situation that makes you both look bad.

Mindfulness is the ability to notice your emotional response to events, without reacting to them. In stressful or high stakes situations, mindful people are able to pause for a beat and look at a what’s happening impartially. You can begin today by taking an extra breath and trying to examine events from an objective point of view.

2. COLLABORATING ACROSS DIFFERENCES

Being a team player has always been important, but learning the skill of collaborating across differences in our increasingly diverse world is a timeless necessity. You should strive to be someone on your staff who celebrates the full spectrum of uniqueness and difference in everyone.

Organizations and teams that can collaborate and work effectively across differences like gender, race, religion, politics, and age will be the ones at the front of the pack. The first step to develop this skill is to become more aware of your unconscious biases about people who are different than you.

3. RESILIENCE

Some people take feedback — and even failure — better than others. The ones who don’t let hard news slow them down are resilient.

Setbacks are a part of life. It’s how you choose to respond to them that matters. The strongest people neither avoid feelings of failure, defeat, and rejection nor do they become paralyzed by them. When unexpected obstacles get in the way, they grieve, dust themselves off, and jump back in.

So, you blew that presentation: It happens. But here’s a secret: To become more resilient, don’t feel less, feel more. Don’t pretend that presentation never happened. (It won’t work.) Be honest with yourself that you’re upset, then focus on learning from your mistakes and moving past them. All of us have resilience, we just have to learn to use it.

4. WORKING AT YOUR HIGHEST AND BEST USE

Pretty much everyone’s work involves tasks ranging from simple, repetitive ones that happen every day to complex ones that take months or years to complete. Focusing on the most complex, long-term tasks on your plate is the sweet spot where you produce the most value. However, you can’t solely do the long-term tasks at the expense of short-term job requirements.

You have to be able to do the easy daily to-dos while staying focused on the “bang for the buck” items where you add the most value. Balancing highest and best use with daily chores is an occupational hazard for managers who work on big, multi-year projects with budgets in the hundreds of millions (as well as the rest of us who are balancing work on something due at close of business, versus the end of the quarter).

The most important thing you can do is not get lost in either one: Don’t neglect your inbox altogether, or alternatively, be so consumed by answering emails that you never find a chunk of time to focus on the big picture project. Find the way that you work best and can find time for both.

5. EMPATHY

Anyone who works to improve his or her ability to be empathetic will stand out at work, with the bonus of a happier home life. As you know, empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see how it might feel to be him.

Working on your emotional intelligence results in the people around you feeling seen and heard, and it’s is a key ingredient in developing trust with co-workers. Your co-workers don’t want your sympathy. Telling someone “I’m sorry you feel that way” usually just makes him or her more angry, but saying (and meaning), “I’ve been frustrated when something doesn’t work as planned, and I understand why you’re angry. Let me help…” almost always works.

6. INQUIRY

Inquiry, or “learn how,” is replacing expertise and “know-how,” in business today. The world’s hardest problems are going to be solved by curious people who can find the right questions to unlock new discoveries.

Know-it-alls are a bore, but great question-askers help us grow, learn, and innovate. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia couldn’t afford to pay their rent, and they wondered how they might use additional space in their apartment to lodge tourists and make some money. Finding the answer resulted in the founding of Airbnb.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions — at work, and of yourself and your career. It will help ensure that you’re always growing.

Whether you want to be a CEO some day or just great at your current job, self-improvement is for everyone. Look at working on these skills as a journey with endless possibilities for growth and insight, not a destination or a box to check so you can move on to the next one. Focusing on them throughout your career will get you ready to move up and keep you working at the top of your game in your current role.

This story was written by Jim Morris for The Muse, your ultimate career destination, offering exciting job opportunities, expert advice and a peek behind the scenes into fantastic companies and career paths. We believe that you can and should love your job–and be successful at it–and we want to help make that happen. Whether you’re just starting out, changing career paths, or aiming for the C-suite, we’ve got everything you need to take charge of your career.

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