“As machines increasingly perform complex tasks once thought to be safely reserved for humans, the question has become harder to shrug off: What jobs will be left for people?
A new NBER working paper suggests itâ€™ll be those that require strong social skills â€” which it defines as the ability to work with others â€” something that has proven to be much more difficult to automate.”
So why are social skills so prized in todayâ€™s labor market? One reason, Deming explains, is because computers are still bad at simulating social interaction. And something thatâ€™s become more important in the modern workplace is being able to play off a team memberâ€™s strengths and adapt to changing circumstances.
Part of what being good at working on a team means is being able to adjust when your comparative advantage changes.
What he found was that people who have higher social skills, as measured by the survey, earn more money â€” even after controlling for things like their education, their cognitive skills (measured by standardized scores), what type of job theyâ€™re in, etc. â€” than those with poor social skills
Employers are constantly stressing the need for workers who can collaborate and communicate on teams. Meanwhile, the evidence on how automation effects employment remains inconclusive. (Other studies have posited that robots might be improving productivity, rather than costing jobs.) But while it might be too soon to start bracing for a dystopian no-jobs future, itâ€™s not too early to think about whether people are learning the right skills theyâ€™ll need to succeed in tomorrowâ€™s workforce.
“”After an initial stage where organisations looked more at number of users, communities and posts, the market is now experiencing a new focus on the business value of social collaboration â€“ Whatâ€™s the impact on the future of work?””
In this economic age, most organisations are trying to do more with less. Not surprisingly the first driver is then to cut costs â€“ it is clear that our current way of working, management and leadership models are not fit with the expectations of employees, but also of customers.
Best practice is to make social business a multi stakeholder project â€“ IT, HR, IC, Legal but also the rest of the business, from Customer Service, to Sales, Marketing and Innovation.
Ultimately, any large change process comes together when there is both a bottom-up and a top-down commitment.
This is a key topic for global corporations. One of the goals of collaboration is to build bridges across countries, branches and offices regardless of the time zone.
Cultural traits are crucial in facilitating or restricting global adoption. The right values, an aligned rewarding system, the ability to work with other teams, the freedom to innovate, the relationship with your manager all represent an important baseline for collaboration.
Email is the proof that we can collaborate too much, and especially in the wrong way.
Collaborating for collaboration sake is just a waste of time; it is not particularly appealing to employees as not everybody likes to spend his time writing wiki pages or posting to a blog. Being able to reach your targets with less time and effort looks like a much better motivation for change.
My first piece of advice is to not start from technology.
A good starting point is to spend the right amount of time and effort in clarifying how a social tool can support the strategy you already have in place.
It is about understanding what collaboration can do from a business perspective, as well as what it cannot do â€“ a social tool is not the solution for all the issues we have in the workplace
Secondly, it is about evaluating the proficiency and the readiness of the employee base.
We use a lot of co-design techniques. We apply them not only to listen, but also to transfer ownership and let key stakeholders steer the change inside their organisation.
People are social animals and at the very beginning of any collaboration project, they need to â€˜feelâ€™ each other, and to shake hands.
many CEOs or senior stakeholders have started to look for new levers to react.
This is not the future – this is happening already. In a sense there is no longer a choice.
It used to be that having a job meant security and success for Americans. Since the recession, the idea that a good job is the centerpiece of the “good economy” was proven wrong, as people realized having a good job doesn’t equate to job security.
As traditional jobsâ€”with their health insurance, retirement planning, and tax withholdingsâ€”disappear, we will see more platforms and institutions develop to help workers and their families manage exigencies and mitigate risks
In the past, talent agencies were reserved for performing artists and athletes, but in the next economy, talent agencies and headhunting firms will start to play a bigger role in the lives of the everyday professionals looking to further their career. The report says:
“A recent New York Times article about the business culture at Amazon triggered spirited reactions and a lot of media attention. Some â€œAmazoniansâ€ backed up the articleâ€™s description of a brutal, unrelenting workplace. Others â€” including CEO Jeff Bezos himself in a memo to his employees â€” questioned its accuracy.”
But even if youâ€™re adhering to principles of data-driven management, why not instead conduct controlled, randomized experiments to find out which practices are the best at promoting productivity, worker satisfaction, and innovation?
So it seems surprising that more companies donâ€™t rigorously test work and management practices or policies that they are considering.
One is they do not want to give their employees the impression that the company is experimenting on them â€” or even worse, is trying to find way to squeeze the most out of them. Another is they worry about potential inequalities in the sense that employees who, by chance, ended up in the group subject to the new practice may benefit from it in terms of productivity, innovation, and work satisfaction, while those who are part of the â€œcontrol groupâ€ (i.e., the group for which the practice is left unchanged) may not.
Running controlled, randomized experiments on work and management practices may not always be feasible (when it is, hereâ€™s a five step-approach to follow). But it is a method that has proved effective in many contexts, from medical research to government policies and education.
Similar benefits could be gained by applying the logic of randomized experiments to white- and blue-collar work.
“Micromanaging is a hard habit to break. You may downplay your propensities by labeling yourself a â€œcontrol freakâ€ or by claiming that you just like to keep close tabs on your team, but those are poor excuses for excessive meddling. What can you do to give your people the space they need to succeed and learn? How should you prioritize what matters? And how do you get comfortable stepping back?”
Reflect on your behavior The first step is to develop an awareness of why you micromanage. â€œYou need to understand where this is coming from,â€ says Dillon.
Get feedback â€œOften there is a significant disconnect between what leaders intend and what the team is actually experiencing,â€ says Chatman. You may merely suspect you have a problem while your team members are already annoyed by your constant hovering â€œFeedback is essential to see how significant the issue is.â€
Prioritize what mattersâ€”and what doesnâ€™t â€œA good manager trains and delegates,â€ says Dillon, and you canâ€™t do that if youâ€™re taking on everythingâ€”regardless of how important the task isâ€”yourself.
Talk to your team Once youâ€™ve determined your priorities, the next step is communicating them to your team, says Dillon. â€œHave a conversation about the things that really matter to youâ€”the things that theyâ€™ll need to seek your guidance and approval onâ€”so your direct reports can get ahead of your anxiety,â€
Step back slowly Fighting your micromanaging impulses might be hard at first so pull back slowly. You need to get comfortable, too. â€œDo a test run on a project that is a bit less urgent and give your team full accountability and see how it goes,â€
Build trust Because your team members are used to you not trusting them, they may want to come to you for approval before taking charge of a project. â€œAcknowledge this is a growth opportunity for the person and say that you know in your heart of hearts he or she will rise to the challenge,â€
Know your employeesâ€™ limitations â€œSome people will over correct by pulling away too much; but itâ€™s smart to give appropriate support,â€ says Dillon. â€œTalk about how you will help them problem solve and how youâ€™ll support themâ€ even if youâ€™re not deeply involved in a particular project or task.
Ask yourself why you micromanage and reflect on your need for control
Refine your to do list by prioritizing the tasks and projects that matter most to you
Talk to your team about how youâ€™d like to be kept apprised of their progress
Renege on your vote of confidenceâ€”tell your reports you trust them and let them do their jobs
Overact when things donâ€™t go exactly as youâ€™d like them toâ€”take a breath and figure out a way to correct the situation if itâ€™s truly necessary
Go too farâ€”you donâ€™t want to become a hands-off boss
Our research shows that the slow productivity growth of the â€œaverageâ€ firm masks the fact that a small cadre of firms are experiencing robust gains.
Seen from this perspective, the productivity problem isnâ€™t a lack of global innovation. Itâ€™s a failure by many firms to adopt new technologies and best practices. Indeed, the main source of the productivity slowdown is not a slowing in the rate of innovation by the most globally advanced firms, but rather a slowing of the pace at which innovations spread throughout the economy: a breakdown of the diffusion machine.
First, global connections need to be extended and deepened, so that firms can learn from successful counterparts across the world
Second, new firms need to be able to enter markets and experiment with new technologies and business models. The productivity slowdown coincided with a near-collapse of overall business investment and a slowdown in business dynamism, reflected in a decline in business startups.
Third, better â€œmatchmakingâ€ is needed across the economy, to ensure that the most productive firms have the resourcesâ€”labor, skills, and capitalâ€”to grow. The larger the frontier firms become, the greater the extent to which their good performance gets reflected in overall economic growth. Unfortunately, the most productive and dynamic firms do not always grow to optimal scale.
Fourth, investment in innovation should extend beyond technology to include skills, software, organisational know-how (i.e. managerial quality).
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