Three ways we can shape the Workforce of the Future

The nature of the workforce is changing. But what can business to do to shape it and prepare for the future?

Written: Feb 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

With an increasing focus on digital skills, a profusion of entirely new professions and automative processes becoming more prevalent, the workforce as we know it is changing.

In fact, the future workforce is being crafted as we speak. How, though, can modern workplaces help shape the ‘Workforce of the Future’? Telenor’s Chief People Officer, Cecilie Heuch, shares three suggestions.


As customer behaviour and expectations change, so do the competencies required to serve them. With the increased digitalisation of everyday life from paying bills to analysing crop yields, designing services and products to meet those needs demands new ranges of skills and competencies. As a result (and considering the ultra-competitive market for recruitment in these talent areas), companies will see a need to invest more in the upskilling and retraining of employees.

Online courses represent a considerable opportunity to provide this education at scale. In 2018, Telenor offered employees a minimum of forty hours to spend learning and half of them through its internal online education platform, Telenor Campus. Exceeding expectations, employees spent an average of 47 hours of online learning and upskilling. Such initiatives, though, cannot succeed in isolation. Performance reviews must adapt, too, eschewing traditional ranking and rating processes. Instead, new performance management systems, such as those recently adopted by Telenor, will see the focus shift to feedback, learning and development.


It’s no secret that smaller companies move faster and innovate quicker. Facebook’s famous aspirational motivational mantra of ‘Move fast and break things’ has graced motivational presentations across the globe. Longer-established companies, more accustomed to traditional ways of working, are under pressure to adapt and become more agile to meet this Challenge

While it’s normal for businesses to look to the market, and even competitors, for ways of updating organisational systems, the solution is unlikely to be found in copying wholesale from others. Instead, businesses will need to find their own way, which will likely see consistencies in approach such as flatter organisations connected and enabled by appropriate technology and high-competence employees.

During the transformation, different organisational forms will emerge. Expect to see both traditional and agile teams working both permanently and on a project basis. This new way of working will not be without its challenges, especially pertaining to leadership, governance and collaboration.


Just as companies focus closely on the customer experience, so will the focus of the employee experience come under closer scrutiny. Among those elements of the experience being redefined is how the organisation interacts with its employee base.

While understanding the key drivers of employee experience – culture, work tools, office space – companies will also come under pressure to provide something more intangible: a purpose. In an increasingly competitive market, businesses will need to effectively communicate how they and the individual employees themselves make a meaningful impact to society either locally or globally.

Understanding better the needs and requirements of employees will depend on the quality of people data. This data, subject to strict privacy standards, will improve the analytics critical to efficient and smart decision making processes.

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