Ask any specialist on the future of work and they will talk to you about a world of Artificial Intelligence and 3D Printing. Of on-demand economies and five generations meeting in virtual offices, where almost any worker can accomplish any task from anywhere they please and choose!
For today’s employers these equals to two big challenges: The first one is a horizontal one, sociologically speaking. It affects the whole of a society and it has to do with securing that training and development of the workforce will be constant and focused on incorporating the new on-demand skills that pop-up all the time and will continue to do so as the development and technology grow. This requires a substantial piece of the budget’s pie, bigger and bigger at every step of the way. In the US alone, we see that more than 1,2 trillion dollars are spent annually for training and development of the workforce by the employers, according to Georgetown University.
But how must these resources be spent exactly? Employees and employers, respectively, must commit to constant training and upping of skills, in order to make themselves able to face the rapid changes in the ways we work, and which advanced technology creates. Furthermore, we really must acknowledge the fact that, many people, need more options in their education, other than college. Options such as technical educational programmes which offer skills that will be in demand in the future, especially in industries such as Manufacturing.
What more? Almost any employer will admit that one of the primary challenges faced is the attraction and retention of top talent, in an era where more and more employees feel less and less dedicated, on a long term, to the vision of one and only employer.
How do the employers play with that nowadays? Obviously, benefits should be competitive, but, especially as far as Millennials are concerned, employees want to see policy and culture as well. Policies and cultures that fit their personal and family needs. Company policies continue to develop in several ways like through Flexibility, Inclusion, Diversity, as well as Education, according to a study by members of the HR Policy Association in the US. Noteworthy, most of these members work for HR departments of multinational companies. The organisations of today want to do what is best for the employers. They want, and they surely must, if they want to keep them.
Unfortunately, this does not apply at a governmental level as well. There, we see laws and policies that belong to centuries far gone, still apply, according to which, employers must offer benefits to workers only because government says so and not a tiny bit more! For example, in the case of the Paid Leave benefit, big companies offer relatively higher salaries and more generous benefits than the others, while a lot of them extend these programmes to attract young talent. Meanwhile, we see a trend forming in State and local level in the US: Paid Leave days are required on a minimal level. It comes as no surprise that most of the big companies already offer the minimal paid leave days or more than what government laws provide.
Problem is that every state or local law provides differently regarding the way that this paid leave will be offered—securing of the benefit, annual transfer of unused days of paid leave, who is entitled to it and more. This creates substantial complexity for big employers who aim at offering uniform benefits to their employees around the US, in several different States. To address the phenomenon, my team suggests the creation of a voluntary federal prototype, which will be designated by the US Congress, and will be offering a base level of minimal days of paid leave, as well as some minimum specifications regarding the types, the requirements, the ways and the beneficiaries.
Only when a company complies with, or even exceeds the minimum of these base requirements that the law provides for employees, will be able to bypass the numerous State and local regulations.
Maintaining the minimum level of protection at the workplace will always be necessary. This constitutes only but a small example of the many points in our report regarding the ways we can employ in order to upgrade our existing regulatory architectures, so that it reflects the way we work and the way we are going to work and our employ-employer relation in the future.
Author: Daniel Yager