Technology has had a transformative impact on the 21st century workforce and the way we work, but what new changes can we expect and what is driving this transformation?
These and related questions were at the heart of a panel debate convened by The Supper Club and hosted by Samsung at Futurescape, which explored ‘Today into tomorrow’. “Change is coming from how we use technology in our everyday life,” said Samsung UK Marketing Director Sally Wright. “Our expectations in our personal life drives our preference at work, which puts pressure on business to enable people to use technology in their own way.”
In a more connected world, millennials expect to use technology to work in a more social way but it also enables employers to find and match talent. “Whether it’s graduate entry through to executive hiring there are so many technology options now to streamline those processes and make smart choices,” said Tess Smilie, VP HR at Samsung UK.
A debate on ‘The impact of technology on talent’ launched a joint campaign to inspire small businesses with tactical insights from members of The Supper Club. “This partnership enables The Supper Club to live our mission to inspire a more entrepreneurial mindset in all leaders while also supporting Samsung’s to create more good days for small businesses through technology,” said EJ Packe, MD of The Supper Club.
Chair of London Futurists David Wood and Katz Kiely, a specialist in digital transformation, were joined by two members of The Supper Club innovating with technology and talent to achieve more with less.
“There is a tipping point when everyone embraces technology, driving and enabling change,” said David Wood, setting the scene. “Big business can prepare for it by collaborating with small business in open innovation projects. Older employees can learn from younger more tech savvy employees in reverse mentoring. The businesses that succeed in the future will have agile processes and minds to optimize tech and embrace change.”
David Wynne, COO & Co-founder of digital consultancy Red Badger, has applied lessons from his corporate background to build an agile culture; removing tech obstacles and replacing hierarchies with ‘aligned and autonomous’ technologists empowered to experiment and innovate.
Tamara Littleton, CEO & founder of social media moderation agency The Social Element, built her business around a remote working model out of necessity but by combining collaboration tools she has a more engaged, productive, and diverse workforce.
“The Social Element now thrives because of how we use new tools like Yammer & Google Hangout in combination, for culture and collaboration,” Tamara explains. “It’s also helped me to build a more internationally diverse workforce who are empowered to work when and how they want to.”
But technology should enhance the human element rather than replace it; both David and Tamara highlight the need to maintain face to face communication, whether it’s designing more interactive inductions for new starters or using video conferencing rather than Slack.
While employers need to adapt to a growing desire for more autonomy and flexibility, employees still want direction and purpose. Gen Z may be better equipped to adapt to change, but they want to be involved in the decision.
“Big and small organisations make the command and control mistake of pushing through change without giving their employees a voice,” said Katz Kiely of Kiely & Co. “Digital transformation isn’t just about helping them understand the technology but why the change is important. Technology helps employers to listen to their people and tell them the right story in the right way.”
The next two events in this programme, which are open to both members and non-members of The Supper Club, includes two workshops during London Tech Week: ‘Maximising productivity under pressure’, with Paula Ruane of Ruane Bionenergetics on 15th June, and ‘Optimising disruptive technology to scale’ with futurist Paul Armstrong on 16th June.