Interim findings from The Future of Work Research Consortium

Posted on 29 January 2010

Interim findings from The Future of Work Research Consortium

London Business School's Professor Lynda Gratton, one of the world's principal human resource strategists, is running the second f2f event in her research consortium on The Future of Work.

The Future of Work has brought together 200 executives from some of the most important corporations and organisations around the world. These include: Nokia, BT Global Services, NHS, Save the Children, World Vision International, Thomson Reuters, Colt, Novo Nordisk, Ferrero, Mahindra & Mahindra, Nomura, RBS, ABSA, Novartis, Unilever, Randstad , SAP, Thoughtworks, Singaporean Ministry of Manpower, ARM and Tata Consulting Group.

The research consortium is analysing how we can craft the future of work to ensure it is an appealing one. The research consortium is the first to use a methodology of co-creation that brings together academia and practice around an online community portal.

On January 25 2010, more than 70 executives from around the world gathered in London for the second live event with more than 60 executives joining by webinar.

Speaking at the event, Gratton said: "Two of the trickiest issues related to the future of work are remuneration and performance measurement. Interestingly, the topic of pay is the one that our research consortium members haven't engaged in so far - and yet it is absolutely critical.

"The questions to ask are why is there such a huge discrepancy between what companies think they need to pay their top leaders, and if a collaborative, team-based approach will prevail in the future, do we need to pay our top leaders so much?

"Talent management needs to completely change its way of building top leaders. The role of Top leaders will fundamentally change. In the future they will need to learn how to ignite communities of people. The company will no longer be the hub of loyalty and affiliation - instead value will come from various communities and ecosystems , and engaging such communities requires very different skills from today's leader.

Gratton also said: "Networks will become increasingly crucial at all levels of business, and one of the benefits for top leaders is that their networks can act as a steadying force to help them avoid the excesses and fundamental errors of judgement that the world has witnessed in recent years. In fact, the CEO will be less of a pivotal figure in the organisation, particularly as in recent years many CEO's stay less than three years and hence have not ensured continuity. Continuity is crucial in these turbulent times and will come from the workings of the whole executive team. This becomes ever more important as the future's fragmented workforce will need continuity vision to keep them ignited and energised.

"We'll also see a speedy move towards full transparency. Increasingly technological advances will reveal information which is today considered sensitive. There will be no place for leaders to hide, so their authenticity and capacity to be themselves will be crucial. This demand for authenticity is new, and our top leaders will need coaching to learn to be comfortable with being themselves."

Running for six months, the consortium is based on a sophisticated online platform designed to build collaboration and debate across the span of time zones and countries.

Among the questions addressed by the consortium are: the impact of key trends such as 5 billion people connected at any one point in time, migration to cities, rising oil price, carbon tax, working in three generational cohorts.

Specifically, the consortium addresses how organisations need to adapt the following:

  • The changing role of Leaders & Top teams
  • Ever joined up and network based Structure of the organisation
  • Key People Processes such as performance management and remuneration
  • Future orientated People Competencies and Skills
  • The Culture & Values of the future, such as cooperation and transparency