The APQC Blog

Three Questions Every Employer Should Ask in 2018

It’s that time again—time for the annual flurry of predictions about the world of work in the new year and beyond. The list of trends that are forecasted to change the future of work is long. 

  • Analytics 
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Automation
  • Digitization
  • Generation Z
  • The Gig Economy
  • The Internet of Things
  • Millennials
  • Mobile
  • Robots
  • Skills Shortages and Surpluses
  • Social Media
  • Virtual Connectivity
  •  Virtual Reality .  .  .

The sheer volume of predictions (and the dire risks we’re sometimes told they pose) can be overwhelming. Yet employers that want to stay competitive can’t ignore these emerging issues. For these organizations, APQC recommends focusing preparations around three familiar and fundamental questions.

1) What Will We Offer?

Put together, today’s varied work world predictions strongly suggest one common future for employers. Employers will face intense competition for cutting-edge talent. And, what is considered “cutting edge” will frequently change, often in unexpected ways. Attracting and retaining talent that is in high demand but short supply will require two things from employers. First, employers will need to have a clear understanding of what their organization can uniquely offer employees. Second, they will need a deliberate and ongoing effort to make sure they are communicating about and then delivering on this unique employee value proposition.

2) How Will We Learn?

Employers will not be able to rely solely on recruiting to fill the fast changing skills requirements that trends such as analytics, digitization, and automation will bring. Staying competitive from a talent perspective will necessitate that employers excel at upskilling and retraining existing employees. They will need to have in place an infrastructure for learning that is highly responsive and adaptable. This will involve continually evaluating and adopting the latest innovations in learning delivery. Emerging trends such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and social media will enable new solutions for proactive and creative employers.

3) How Will We Motivate?

Even with the right skills in place—whether accomplished through recruiting or development—employers will still need employees to effectively apply these skills towards key objectives. Trends such as the rise in virtual work, the entrance of generation Z into the workforce, and the use of robots and gig workers will require employers be vigilant about keeping employees focused and motivated. Employers will need to communicate frequently and directly about what they need from employees. And, they will want to ensure that the incentives they offer actually motivate their current employees to contribute what the business presently needs. By listening to employees on an ongoing basis, employers can uncover effective motivators while at the same time check that employees truly understand what the organization needs from them.

Employers that make the commitment to continuously asking and addressing these three fundamental questions will be better positioned to take on work world trends—whenever they emerge and whatever they may be. They’ll have a process for focusing on having the right offer, capabilities, and efforts for keeping any dire consequences at bay.

Read the APQC blog in 2018 for new research findings aimed at helping employers as they work through these questions. There will be insights on attraction and retention, learning innovations, and motivating employees through change. In the meantime, APQC members can check out these current APQC insights.

The Employment Offer

Employee Learning

Motivating Employees

Happy New Year!