Adaptable employees the future for businesses

Adaptable employees the future for businesses

Workers' ability to deal with change is becoming a major factor in defining their employability, according to a new report.

Released by talent management specialist Right Management, ‘The Flux Report’ reveals that in five years’ time, 91% of HR directors think it’s likely that people will be recruited on their ability to deal with change and uncertainty.

Ian Symes, General Manager at Right Management UK & Ireland says: “It’s not high on the agenda so far but that’s changing very quickly. Three years ago I’d have put it at 10th to 15th place on the agenda but now it’s probably in the top five.”

He comments that although there is no specific way of measuring the characteristic across businesses, a good indicator is how staff deal with ambiguity.

“If people are able to feel comfortable when they don’t know exactly what kind of challenge they face, have lots of different people they answer to asking them to do lots of different things and they are OK with that and go home not feeling stressed, then that’s a good pointer,” he says.

The report, which surveyed 250 line managers and 100 HR decision makers in organisations with more than 500 employees, also identifies that in just five years’ time, the majority of the UK and Irish workforce is expected to be flexible.

According to 79% of HR decision makers, employees are expected to have multiple simultaneous careers by 2018, and more than half (60%) expect that workers will be either on temporary contracts or working flexibly as contractors or freelancers.

Furthermore, almost all organisations (92%) anticipate their older workers will opt to work part-time rather than retire.

Symes adds: “The last five years have seen a period of unprecedented change which is fundamentally transforming the way we work and what is expected from us as employees. Office hours are becoming blurred, people are having to learn more and develop faster than ever before and workers are expected to juggle a number of roles both at work and at home. And all of this is happening in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.

“Organisations need to strategically plan their workforce and look at the systems they have in place to support employees and the business through turbulent times. Without this, they will always be reacting to what is happening rather than being in control. This will only add to the stress and exhaustion that many staff are feeling so it’s important that businesses look at ways to boost the resilience of their organisation and their people. Planning ahead and being flexible are central to making this a reality.”

Comments (2)

  • Greg Basham, CEO, ee
    Greg Basham, CEO, ee
    Fri, 17 Jan 2014 7:12am GMT
    What we see across in Asia in doing reference checks is that the future that is being described as coming has arrived for many if not most now.

    As organizations restructure, flatten and restructure roles and positions are no longer consistent with what employees and managers were hired into.

    In some cases, organizations are failing to bring about orderly change management and many of the good ones move on.

    The big issue is how well we are preparing today's youth for this new world of work.
  • Carole
    Thu, 16 Jan 2014 1:22pm GMT
    There is nothing new here. Ever since the destruction of the 'job for life' mentality, employees have had to get used to the idea of change. Change of role, change of location, change of management. It has been going on for at least the last 25 years and accelerating.

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