In 1997, Richard Judy and Carol D’Amico authored the book, “Workforce 2020: Work and Workers in the 21s Century” that explores how companies will need to adapt to the aging workforce, new technologies, telecommuting trends and how the next generation of workers will impact the business. In the seventeen years since this book was published, we have seen many of these concepts come into fruition with constant technology innovations and economy impacts that have rejuvenated the “Made in the USA” manufacturing industry re-employing many workers.
Companies that survive the test of time can adapt to the changing dynamics of their workforce. We seem to put generations of people into buckets that portray their characteristics like Baby Boomers, the Millennial and the Digital Native, but we understand there is a blending of these individuals that make up the workforce. Technology, more than ever, plays a crucial role as it enables employees as well at the business to be more agile, responsive and productive.
So how will Outsourcing be affected by the workforce of the future? It is no doubt that building relationships will continue to be essential in an outsourcing partnership between the provider and the business. How those relationships are forged and retained will most certainly leverage the new mediums of social collaboration.
“Today, relationships are more important than ever,” explained Tom Signorello, vice president of Global Managed Services for Unisys. “The difference is, with shorter contract cycles, you have to establish that connection from day one. You have to start delivering innovation and value quickly.”
“Business development used to be based on ‘six degrees of separation;’ finding someone who knew someone who knew someone. Now, I can go to LinkedIn and in five or six clicks, I can dial into who I’m connected to and reach them through a personal introduction,” Signorello of Unisys said.
The continued explosion of the internet, apps and tools help educate the business buyer faster than ever to better understand the provider landscape, their capabilities, credentials, solutions, services and what others are saying about them.
“Today, 30 percent to 40 percent of the buying decisions are made before you’re even contacted,” Signorello of Unisys said. “Our customers are researching providers online, finding their own references and narrowing the field on their own. As a provider, it’s essential to be active online, get into groups and have a strong presence.”
Once a provider is selected, there will be an increased focus on seeing business results in real-time enabling the ability to react quickly to trends or issues. Technology and the array of mobile devices will be the conduit for these dashboards of information reaching the business decision makers wherever they are.
“As buying behaviors change, we’re seeing metrics change, with dashboards and reporting moving from traditional SLAs to business performance metrics,” Signorello of Unisys said. “Again, this makes the relationship aspect that much more important. Providers have to stay in tune with the real business needs of their customers.”
“As more IT services become commodities, the way deals are framed has changed,” explained Signorello of Unisys. “What used to be 10-year deals are now three-to-five year deals, so everything is accelerated. The provider has to be as fluid and adaptable as the technology itself.”
Outsourcers that will be successful engaging with the workforce of the future will need to be always on their game, bringing new ideas and innovation into the business. They will embrace the varied workforce, understand the value that each can bring, build and deepen those relationships over the years to become a valued partner and an extension of their client.
For additional insight on this topic, also read the Outsourcing Center 2014 Forecast article on The Impact of Workforce 2020 on the Outsourcing Industry.