The Fæbric Future of Work Framework
For inspiration, reflection and identifying action
We are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution. The speed of technological development is incredible and changes the way we live and work. The COVID-19 pandemic has skyrocketed the use of digital means to collaborate and work. It is driving and accelerating the future of work and forcing us to make the future of work, the work of now.
From an individual perspective, how do we balance work – live in this interconnected age at home? From a team perspective, how do we perform, become stronger and deliver in line with our strengths that benefit the organizational perspective? How can we learn and adopt the learnings and insights from this time? How can we transform the way we organize, work and act as an organization? How do we move towards a service-oriented perspective?
The Fæbric Future of Work Framework
To offer an overview of the different Future of Work elements at a glance, we created the Fæbric Future of Work Framework. It can be used in three ways:
Combining elements, making new connections and finding new patterns regarding the Future of Work. Looking at what it means for your organization and how this connects to the outside world. Maybe you find new juxtapositions that you did not think of before?
Simply go through the elements and reflect on how you deal with each within your company.
To identify action
This goes a bit further than reflection. After reflecting, you identify the elements that may need action. These elements can then be used as a starting point for framing your change question(s).
The Fæbric Future of Work Framework has four levels: world, organization, team and worker. Below we describe the different levels and their elements.
We included this level because extrospection is more important than ever in this everchanging world with increasing connectivity and complexity.
Currently we are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution. The speed of technological development is incredible and changes the way we live and work. However, next to all the advantages and possibilities, we need to keep in mind that there are vast numbers of digital illiterate people in the EU. There is a lack of understanding of the meaning, impact and ability of technological and digital.
As described above, the speed of technological development is one of the drivers of constant change. This bears the challenge to keep enough mental space and an open mind to observe, weight and adopt the changes that are relevant.
The technological developments and the constant change have led to increased complexity and connectivity. Therefore, we cannot allow ourselves any longer to merely look at separate elements, but we have to adopt systemic thinking.
As we described above, we need to adopt systemic thinking. This is also true for product-oriented thinking, which has shifted to looking at how products interact within their ecosystem, meaning service-oriented thinking. This service-oriented thinking means people-centered thinking. We need people-centered thinking, because nowadays people have an infinite number of options to choose from and therefore simply choose the service and companies that fits them best. This is also true for companies and their workers. To keep their workers and attract new workers, they must actively work on their worker experience, for all their workers, as employees or external employees.
War on talent
Rapid technological developments and constant change mean that there is also a constant change in required skills, which means that skills have become the new currency. Companies can act on this by assisting their workers in their ability to adopt new skills. However, due to the rapid technological developments, assisting people in adopting new skills is probably not enough and companies find themselves in a war on talent in attracting people that master these new skills.
As the type of work is constantly changing, jobs have become more temporary and flexible. Therefore, companies tend to hire more independent contractors and freelancers instead of fulltime employees. Next to companies, this can benefit workers and consumers by making work more adaptable to the needs of the moment and the demand for flexible lifestyles. On the other hand, the gig economy may lead to the erosion of traditional economic relationships between workers, companies and their clients.
Technological developments, even more pushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, have made that remote working has become the new standard. As it brings new possibilities and is an answer to the demand for flexible lifestyles, it also brings new collaborative challenges.
Climate change and its implications are a hot topic. We also see this in the millennials that are entering the workforce. They are driven by purpose and are looking for a job that is meaningful to them and the world they live in. Therefore, companies must take an active role in on how they can contribute and give workers meaning to their work.
Above we addressed a few trends we see on world level but be aware that this is not a complete nor a static list, as we are living in a rapid and everchanging world. Therefore, take this as a reminder to keep your eyes and ears open!
This directly connects to the world level. As an organization, what is your purpose and what place do you want to take in the world and in society?
Within the everchanging world it is important to be flexible. It is no longer possible to define a static strategy, since the world is changing too fast for that. Therefore, operating nowadays needs a dynamic strategy. To execute this dynamic strategy, you also need an agile way of working. This requires a new style of leadership and possible changes in the organizational structure.
As we mentioned before, people choose services and companies that fit them best. Therefore, a structured approach towards understanding your customers and workers is required in order to improve the customer experience and the worker experience.
There are many technological developments that you can use to your advantage within your business. However, we notice that many organizations are not aware of the technologies they have access to and how they can benefit from them. We do think that this awareness and adoption of technology is important to keep up within the highly competitive market.
We included this level because in this new world teams, not superstars, are the high performers. The elements in this level of the framework describe what is needed for a high performing team.
When working in an agile way, it is important to work in a purpose driven way to make sure that everybody within the organization is moving into the same direction. Therefore, it is important that every member in a team knows what the purpose of the team is and how it contributes to fulfil the purpose of the organization. In terms of acceptance and execution it is best when every team member can contribute to shaping the team's purpose. Shaping the purpose of a team can be done with a team canvas. The team canvas does not only include the team’s purpose, but also captures goals, roles, values and the way of working.
It is proven that diversity within teams thrives innovation and performance. This means diversity in terms of skills but also in terms of drivers and communication styles.
Wellbeing is the foundation of a high performing team. There should be a holding space where everybody feels safe and people feel that there is an understanding between each other. Sometimes this can be a challenge if people with conflicting communication styles are within the same team. Furthermore, developments like less hierarchical structures and remote working make that the boundaries between work and private life are blurring. Therefore, it is not strange that the millennial workforce wants to have fun at their job!
If we take a look at the upcoming gig economy, merely looking at employees would be mistake. Therefore, we use the term worker that includes not just employees but also independent contractors of an organization. Furthermore, old-school hiring processes merely look at skills and experience of people. We believe that you need to look a bit further than that if you want to recruit people that bring your organization to the next level. Next to that, taking the war on talent into account, it is interesting to look at what the millennial workforce desires and requires from an employer.
Climate change is a hot topic, especially among the younger generations. Where people used to do not care too much about who they work for, as long as they were challenged in their jobs and received their pays, the millennial workforce wants to engage in a job that is meaningful. Millennials want to know why and look for companies that have a purpose that resonates with their own purpose.
Of course we still need to look into the skills people have to recruit them and place them within teams. However, next to hard skills we see that soft skills are becoming more and more important, since the importance of collaborating and communicating increases. Also, digital ability has become crucial in keeping up at the workplace.
How much experience someone has is still an important asset in recruiting people.
People have different ways of thinking and communicating. When hiring and assigning people to teams it is important to take this into account.
As the world is changing in a fast pace, people need to be agile as well. Millennials understand this and require a workplace where they can continuously learn and develop themselves. Therefore, as an employer it is important to facilitate the continuous development of workers.
When people are at work it is important to take their wellbeing into account. Not just their physical wellbeing, but also their mental wellbeing. As the boundaries between work and private life are becoming blurrier, this also means paying extra attention to a good work life balance. Furthermore, we are increasingly doing more teamwork, which means that we should also take the team wellbeing into account. For example, different communication styles can clash within a team, which can have an effect on team performance and wellbeing.
Since we are working in teams more than ever, we should look at to what degree a worker is focused on the team effort. This may result in choosing a team player who is a bit less skilled over someone who is very skilled but not a team player.
In line with the gig economy, millennials are more task oriented rather than time oriented. They are willing to go that extra mile to deliver a project on time, but also expect flexibility in return if work is a bit less demanding.
In this article we presented the Fæbric Future of Work framework and described its different elements. The framework can be used for inspiration, reflection and identifying action within your organization. Are you still left with some questions, do you have remarks, or do you need help? Please contact us for an open dialogue on how to ready your organization for the future of work, the work of now.