‘Post-industrial economy’ requires investment in employee development, report says

The business environment has shifted to a post-industrial economy, and leaders must adapt by investing in employee development, adopting cross-functional career pathways and creating “a dynamic organization,” according to an Oct. 12 report from The Josh Bersin Co., a human capital advisory firm.

In response, vendors are starting to release new talent development and management solutions, and artificial intelligence is being used to improve productivity. Both CEOs and CHROs can use AI to drive productivity, business growth and employee well-being, according to the report — but employers can’t stop there.

“All over the world companies feel a need to improve productivity, yet we keep throwing more tools at people, expecting work to get better,” Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Co., said in a statement

“It is time to couple strong technologies with new models of leadership, organizational dynamism and more integrated HR,” he said. “When done in concert, these strategies can help any company grow and thrive without hiring more and more people.” 

In a post-industrial economy, companies will continue to see long-term talent shortages, accelerated technology change and a more empowered workforce, according to the report. For instance, in discussions with organizations across a range of industries for the report, every leader discussed challenges with hiring, retaining and reskilling workers.

Many productivity demands, as well as employee well-being improvements, will be addressed through next-generation HR technologies, including AI and machine learning tools, according to the report. Ultimately, leaders need to learn what’s possible with AI, replace legacy employee systems and rethink how companies will operate with fewer, “superpowered” workers.

To gain an edge moving forward, companies need to focus on employee development, according to a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute. Top employers were more likely to create opportunities for workers to learn and reinvent themselves, make promotions and internal transfers readily available and promote a culture of “intrapreneurship” for collaboration across the organization.

Workers are seeking these opportunities for upskilling and professional development as well this year, according to a recent report from Emeritus. The vast majority of workers said they’d choose a job at an organization that would invest in their education and career advancement over one that wouldn’t.