/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Which Companies are Transforming Work?

Useful thoughts.    What have we really transformed to? 

Readers Ask: Which Companies Are Transforming Work?   by Kristen Senz  in HBSWK

Joseph Fuller answers readers' questions about automation, virtual internships, and the future of work on Working Knowledge’s “Office Hours” series.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated workforce shifts that had been gaining momentum before the public health crisis, thrusting employers and workers into a new era within months.

Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard Business School and co-leader of the School’s Managing the Future of Work initiative, recently answered reader questions on Instagram, as part of our ongoing “Office Hours” series.

Fuller’s research probes the "skills gap" and the paradox that many employers struggle to fill jobs while millions of Americans remain unemployed, underemployed, or have left the workforce. He has also written about the caregiving roles of employees and strengthening the education-to-work pipeline.

The following is a transcript of questions posed by Instagram users and Fuller’s answers:

Should we be worried about the current “worker shortage”?

"We should absolutely be worried about the current worker shortage, for three or four reasons. One is it reflects in part stagnation and actually decline of the workforce participation rate. We have a large number of prime working age adults, particularly males, who are neither in school, in employment, or somehow involved in the criminal justice system. They’re just not working.


"The second is that a lot of the shortage of workers is coming in the form of digital natives who can deal with the types of technologies that are going to be more and more prevalent in the workplace. We do a very poor job of teaching that in the United States—giving people a basic familiarity with digital technology that they’re going to need going forward.

"The final thing is that a lot of this shortage covers up the fact that there’s a significant population of lower-skilled, lower educational-attainment workers out there, many who speak English as a second language, who have worked in service industries that have been very, very badly damaged by COVID. They’re going to have a hard time finding work that accommodates their skills and pays them decently going forward."

Are there any companies standing out from the others in how they’re transforming work?

"Through COVID, the two companies that jump out at me as being most innovative in their work practices and in mobilizing people are companies of great size that have been hugely affected by COVID positively—namely, Walmart and Amazon.

"I know those are not always companies that people view favorably in terms of work, but in the last 10 years, Walmart has been an amazing innovator in the space in terms of skills development and upskilling its own workforce. Amazon has shown incredible resilience in scaling up its workforce and using technology to make people more productive and to enhance workplace safety."

Is automation a threat to jobs? If so, how should government, business, and employees respond? ... 

No comments: