The Workforce of the Future

By: Doug Schlegel

Are You Prepared?

Our workforce has never before seen the speed and breadth of change we are now experiencing.


How ready are you for what these changes mean for your Company?

Catalysts driving true, material change need to be both substantial and lasting. It seems clear that the world, and with it the way people work, is now experiencing fundamental and lasting change from catalysts such as COVID-19. Much has already been written on the future of work and what the short and long term will look like across industries. Taking the Oil & Gas Industry as an example, the underlying dynamics of this contraction go beyond business drivers and supply-demand factors as, for example, social drivers have accelerated the pace and breadth of change and will make it more lasting.

There is a lot to consider in terms of what the future workforce will look like. In preparing for a recent client conversation on this topic, we identified changes that we believe leaders are experiencing and will continue to see going forward.

Some of these changes are offered below in a ‘From-To’ format acknowledging that the destination (the “To”) is only part of the equation. Like any change, we need to also consider where we are now (the “From”) in order to successfully navigate the transition. Some changes may appear to happen as quickly as if a light switch was being flipped – the shift from on-site to remote working driven by the pandemic is a good example. It may seem a simple shift, but on closer examination most companies have found there are many details yet to be resolved.

Put another way, the “change” will continue, and we can think of it as more of a dimmer switch than the traditional on/off switch.  Do any of these changes resonate with you more than the others?


What do we do about change?

While some of the examples above are hopefully thought-provoking, and it’s likely any one of them could lead to a spirited discussion, the key question to ask yourself is: What do we do about it?

Businesses that are not mindful of the impending impact of change risk their relationship with the people who play arguably the most important role in making that change successful. Companies must review the key building blocks of a healthy organization – culture, strategy, structure, leadership, communication, and processes – and ensure they are aligned in the context of a rapidly changing world. This same level of scrutiny must be applied to the Business’s Human Capital Strategy and ways of operating its key processes (e.g., Employee Engagement, Resourcing, Performance Measurement, and Management).


Misalignment of the key building blocks of a healthy organization sub-optimizes performance and
risks the overall success of the business.


As we know, every incremental change chips away at an organization’s finite capacity and resources. Therefore, prioritization, sound planning, commitment, and a lot of hard work is going to be needed to ensure your business is well-positioned for the future – which may already be here.  You don’t have to figure it all out on your own, but you do need to know what your people are thinking today and be prepared to change.

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