The Future of Work and its implications in Nigeria and Other Emerging Economies: An Interview with Jacob Morgan
By Adedoyin Adebayo
Jacob Morgan is a thought leader on how the workplace is changing and how these changes will impact us as individuals. His latest book, The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate” (Wiley, March 2017) analyzes over 250 global organizations to determine how to create an organization where people genuinely want, not need to show up to work. I spoke to Jacob to discuss topic and theme related to the future of work.
Insel Consulting: You identified five trends which you believe are the cornerstones for what the future of work is going to look like. Please can you describe them?
- Globalization which is living in a world where boundaries don’t exist.
- Millennials and changing demographics which looks at how the makeup of our organizations is changing.
- New technologies such as big data, AI, the internet of things, and the like, which are changing the ways in which we work, collaborate, and communicate.
- New behaviors that we exhibit in our personal lives are making their way inside of our organizations (such as living a public life, sharing, the way we communicate, etc).
- Mobility is the last trend which allows us to stay connected anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
Insel Consulting: Are these forces only going to shape the future of work in the developed economy or in all economies and in all regions?
Jacob: These forces I think are going to have even more of an impact in emerging economies because there is lot more potential for growth and impact. It’s the difference of going from 4 to 8 vs going from 0 to 8.
Insel Consulting: What are the exciting things we should expect from the future of work?
Jacob: It depends on what you are looking at. The future of work is a broad phrase/topic that can mean pretty much anything. For me the biggest area of excitement is the focus on organizational design and employee experience. I think everything else builds on top of that including the gig economy and AI.
Insel Consulting: Nigeria’s current population stands at over 182 million and it’s projected to be the 3rd most populous country in the world by year 2050 with a population of 397 million people according to World Bank report. What are the implications of this statistics for the country, individuals and organizations in terms of the impending future of work?
Jacob: Not sure what you mean by implementing “future of work.” This isn’t a tool it’s a phrase used to describe many things and how the workplace is changing it’s not something you implement.
Insel Consulting: A bank in Nigeria is piloting the idea of flexi work where employees choose the days and time they come to work. Do you think this idea can work in a complex country like Nigeria? And how soon do you think the standard 9-5 in a cubicle and commuting to an office will be gone?
Jacob: Of course it can. I don’t think cubicles and working 9-5 will disappear completely in the near future. Some people actually like both of these things. It’s far important to give employees the choice and freedom of how they want to work vs just focusing on a single way for them to work.
Insel Consulting: Nigeria has a huge number of unemployable graduates, based on your research, which skills and competencies will be most valued in the next 10 years from now?
Jacob: Broadly speaking the number one thing is learning how to learn! Specifically speaking I think anything in data, analysis, technical skills, psychology, and the soft skills is a great area of investment.
Insel Consulting: What are three likely HR best practices in workplaces of the future?
1) Listen to the voice of the employee
2) Invest in technology, culture, and the physical work environment.
3) Stop thinking like a typical HR department, think more like a lab and less like a factory.
Insel: What three piece of advice do you have for organizations of the future, how managers lead and how employee work?
- Organizations of the future
If you don’t think about and plan for the future of work then your organization will have no future.
- How managers lead
Focus on making other people more successful than you.
- How employee work
What do you think are the right approaches to management considering the changing future of work? We’ll like you to share your thoughts.
Adedoyin Adebayo conducted this interview. He is a Senior Consultant at Insel Consulting