Trends in Knowledge Work

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Knowledge work is the type of work many of us do today, including lawyers, engineers and consultants. In the future there will be an even higher demand for knowledge workers, and some predict a 40 million person shortage of highly skilled, college-educated workers by 2020 (McKinsey Global Institute).

So how will organisations respond to attract the best of these knowledge workers?

Harvard Business Review (January-February 2013) examined the issue of knowledge work from the angle of redesigning and restructuring knowledge work. The findings are interesting as they suggest that organisations need to prepare for more flexibility.

According to the article, many organisations are already identifying their key talent and freeing their time from administrative and other similar tasks so that they can focus more on the tasks only they can perform.

What you can do to assess your organisation’s readiness:

  1. Identify the skills gap – to understand what skills you need
  2. Analyse how skills are utilised – to understand if existing talent is being leveraged
  3. Conduct social network analysis – to understand how information travels

Based on the above it is then possible to better understand if roles need to be redefined, outsourced, or kept the same. And you can also decide whether you are really getting the best out of your top talent – now and for the future.

It is easier to focus on ‘business as usual’ activities rather than taking steps to assess your future readiness.  But it is worth doing as you will be better prepared for the challenges that future ‘business as usual’ brings.



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