What Will Work Look Like in 2025 (Gwen Moran) The Forum applies the 70:20:10 Lens


Future of work conversations, articles and blog posts consume much space today. Predictions are fun and intriguing but of course mere projections that at best are based on current trends. One theme that appears to be consistent in many predictions about what work will look like is autonomy.  If the advancement of technology teaches us anything, it is that it's an agent of freedom.  From Web 2.0, the Arab Spring, Wikipedia and the consumerisation of IT, more and more power and choice has shifted from elite and hierarchical power to people power.  

With growing autonomy by individuals what will this mean for workers, work and organisations?  In the Fast Company article What Will Work Look Like in 2025 by Gwen Moran, Futurists and experts explored some bold and not so bold transformations of our work and working environment that could happen within the next 10 years. Although a theme of autonomy runs through each of technological and sociological changes, they are loosely connected leaving any HR executive or CIO who agrees with the predictions to wonder how best to support this new work and learning paradigm. 

The combined experts gazed into their respective crystal balls and foresaw a future summarized as one where technology is the great equalizer and its availability will only increase. Wearables, a hot topic right now, will combine to collect data on your position (think where you are physically and in your tasks) providing instant support for the work you are doing. Speaking of work, what types of work will there be? What types of work won't there be?

As technology such as robotics advance, manual labor type positions will be lost to machines and new opportunities for those who can master technology will dominate the workforce.  With more opportunities in innovative fields and a globally connected workforce available, old biases impacting gender, race, age and disability will be eliminated as will the idea of the 9-5 commute to the office.

Time and space barriers will be lifted and the workforce will become extremely agile with the vast majority of work being shorter-term contractual opportunities. In this new world the creative types, people who specialize, artisans and those possessing strong emotional intelligence (sales, coaching and customer service) will be highly sought after. These new age workers will be required to control much of what organisations controlled for them in the past; their advancement, healthcare, hours of work and most importantly their growth.  As Mark J. Schmit, PhD notes, "Workers will need to engage in lifelong education to remain on top of how job and career trends are shifting to remain viable in an ever-changing workplace."

Investing a great deal of time in skilling people up through large organisational training and development efforts will become a thing of the past. The need will be for organisations to better meet people where they are and help them to be productive for the short time they are employed. A more autonomous, freelance workforce requires less of a homegrown service to fill knowledge gaps than a platform that supports their drive for independent growth.  A platform is not a loss leader or a profit center but a concept built upon a framework for continuous learning that simultaneously fuels the organisations need for quality and productivity as well as the individual’s need for growth through networks and access to information.

In the next 10 years the ideal learning structure CLOs and HR executives will need is one that adheres to the principles of a 70:20:10 framework for learning.  Workers in this techno-centric world will need to draw from various sources of information freely flowing through networks and build and tap into social streams.  A 70:20:10 framework supports the majority of a worker's natural paths to learning, informal and social, and is ideal in a rapidly changing world of work.

Workers must have the flexibility in their learning to thrive in a complex business world. Now is the time for leaders to get ahead of organisational learning needs by building a technological infrastructure that supports workflow learning. Creative workers will want access to current expertise through access to strong social networks and peer generated content to stay on top of their game. They need the ability to have their knowledge and contributions to knowledge-bases move with them through each program, project and even employer.  A 70:20:10 framework for learning doesn't have hard and fast rules and parameters; rather it's a model that molds to the needs of business and the desires of an autonomous workforce.  

The future is always hard to predict but if current trends in self-determination, globalization, and technology continue on their current path, it is a pretty good guess that organisations that stand by their traditional approaches to learning and development will not draw in the considerable talent that that moves fluidly outside their walls.

READ: What Work Will Look Like In 2025