Digital employer @ work

| August 2, 2015

Today we are launching a new forum on the future of jobs. In our first blog Gabrielle Davies introduces a new type of employer with a new approach to work.  

In the rush to digital transformation, it’s not all about better services for users, citizens and customers. It’s also a singular opportunity to include those who need different work patterns or practice because of health and ability challenges.

The perfect storm of technology that enables on demand, personalised services – fast networks, intelligent cloud, smart apps, clever devices and secure access management – is also the enabler for a new type of employer with a new approach to work.  And a different approach to workforce is a Vision for Australia worthy of thought.

Enter, The Digital Employer with a 24/7, digital, distributed, flexible workforce.

The Digital Employer will be an organisation that has based workforce design on a deep understanding of the formats, types, classification and content of work generated across the organisation and the skills and capabilities needed to do it. They’ll articulate the economics of operational processing not only as a cost of service, sale or technology, but also in terms of the triple bottom line impact. Their 24/7 distributed workforce will be supported by a collegiate, socially networked and supervised community, using fully personalised access to enterprise systems and knowledge and optional community work hubs.

The greatest change though will be in the distributed workforce mix. People who work in the office nine to five will be in the minority – the majority will be those who work when they can where they are: carers, stay at home mums, skilled retirees, people with disabilities, people with chronic and episodic illnesses, people with mental health issues – a mix of language, of capability, of skills. These workers will get the work they are best able to do, that is rewarding, productive and affirming. The digital employer knows the difference between what a machine should do and what is better done by a human – valuing the respective contributions of each. Imagine that.

Enabled by digital work tools, assistive technologies, smart apps and sensors, the Digital Employer can distribute work to the 15% of Australians of working age (15-64 years) who have a disability (and an employment rate of 39.8%, compared to 79.4% for people without a disability). The stay at home mums and carers can work to fit in with other responsibilities and people with episodic illnesses can work when they’re able to. Skilled retirees – those ‘too old’ for the workforce can participate at their own level and times. In this reality, digital work is distributed on a match to skills, profile and availability, and like a call centre is delivered when a worker signs on and keeps coming until they sign off.

Some would say it’s obvious: all the tools we need to create this new way of working already exist and are improving in leaps and bounds. True innovation and real transformation is possible just by making it workforce facing. HR professionals have known this for years – if an enterprise is truly aligned to the business, then digital transformation is a much broader discussion than technology, big data and customer service improvement.

Digital Transformation?  Now’s the time to consider ALL the possibilities.