HRHeadStart #16: Rent a Robot; Job Search Advice; Rethinking; New Defaults
Over the last week, I have upgraded the newsletter platform. While you will continue to hear weekly from me, you will now also be able to browse through the newsletter archives at http://www.hrheadstart.xyz I hope you will find the information repository useful and the new website will also allow for social features like comments, likes and sharing. I hope you will enjoy this and as always, I am always happy to get your feedback.
The Talent Agenda
Even before the pandemic, organizations had been focusing on building a workforce which was responsive to the changing business needs. In the mid/late 2010s, we saw the emergence of the gig economy and particularly online talent platforms like Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr etc. These platforms enabled the matching of organizations' hiring needs with short-term specialized talent. This could be done to address chronic talent shortages, manage workforce costs and take advantage of skillsets without entering into full-time employment contracts. A report from a leading consulting firm estimated that online talent platforms will add $2.7 trillion to the global economy in the next 5 years and benefit 10% of the global workforce by helping them find income-earning opportunities, reducing unemployment, enabling better task-skill fit etc. You can explore this topic here.
Interestingly, this trend is going a step forward. While the pandemic created large shortages of workers, organizations have been gingerly considering capital investments in robotics to automate a variety of work tasks. If an organization has a short-term mindset and profitability pressures, it makes it hard to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in robots versus hiring lower cost human labour. However, with the advances in technology, drop in costs of robots and emergence of new business models for robotics companies, a new pivot may emerge - "robotics as a service" or simply, robots being rented out to companies for specific duration/tasks. The cost of a basic robot performing repetitive tasks on a production line has dropped to $8 per hour and it is being forecasted that the number of leased robots around the world will jump from a few thousands to over a million in the next 3-4 years. Read more here and this definitely has important implications for HR professionals thinking about job redesign and new ways of getting work done.
Job search advice is ubiquitous on the internet. A quick Google search is likely to inundate you with information, bringing less clarity and more confusion about what to read and practice. One of the readers of this newsletter shared this link from the Harvard Business Review website and urged me to share with others here. I found it to be quite comprehensive and covering off all the basics. Hope you find it useful if you are considering how to get your first job or navigate a career change.
A Productive Workout
A workout is a great way to create mindspace for processing and learning new ideas. And it primes you for creative thinking. For your next walk, run or workout session, hear or watch Adam Grant talk about how "rethinking" our assumptions, beliefs, convictions and ideas is a great source of strength and success. You never know if you are over-committing to a losing course of action. It's a great talk and the best parts for me were the opening and the end. Grab the link here.
Changing our own habits and behaviours can be hard. What I have found immensely useful is to start with a mindset of setting some "new defaults" for oneself. The "default" way of thinking forces us to prioritize how we spend our time in professional or personal pursuits. For example, a new default could be to read primarily non-HR books for the next year to broaden your thinking about business, technology and society or it could be about meeting new people every month to diversify networks and learn new ways of thinking.
Make desirable behaviours the default and undesirable behaviours harder for yourself.