March 02, 2017

Significant technological changes are here. What should regional employment agencies do?

The other day, I came across an interesting LinkedIn update by Mel McCall that included this great article by Megan Beck and Barry Libert. What struck me was not least this sentence: "Don’t fight the progress of technology. Machine learning and AI have the ability to improve outcomes and lower cost - so don’t fight the robots. Welcome the change in your industry and work to make it fruitful and complementary." 

Reading the article, I came to think of the point that Stehen Hawking makes that we all need to accept the strong impact of technology on the world of work. Also, I came to think of this talk by Martin Ford about what the rise of robots means for how we work. I learned, for example, that technology is having a disruptive impact in more or less all industries. Technology can help increase productivity considerably. New industries get created, for example as possibilities to combine technologies increase, and as needs, people have, develop in different directions. To give an example, think of how the Internet / social media / apps combined with mobile electronic devices have changed the ways we learn, communicate with, and involve each other in work we do. 

Last November, I was honoured to have the possibility to participate at a couple of very interesting brainstorming sessions in small groups during a Smart City Zürich event. When I reflect on this event and think about hackathons such as the #makezurich hackathon, the #openfood hackdays, the strong growth in involving / including citizens in city development as well as how other online platforms such as brainfloor, atizo and jovoto are used to generate ideas for numerous initiatives, I think about an explosion in new work possibilities. 

Thinking about these phenomenal innovation initiatives, I find it  applaudable that both companies, universities and cities openly make resources available - thereby enabling a large number of people to use their creativity and knowledge to solve problems we have in the world. And this is, indeed, what is needed right now. In this brilliant blog posting, for example, John Hagel explains that we are seeing a "mounting pressure to accelerate learning" to create more differentiated offerings for various niches. 

During some interesting conversations I had with people working on the federal level, the cantonal level as well as the city level / community level / municipality level in Switzerland, I learned, for example, thisIn this period of relatively strong change, people as well as platforms like the ones mentioned play important roles in helping people move from a to b. What should regional employment agencies do in this time of change? Reflecting on this question, I came to think of these 3 ideas:

Idea # 1: First, let's trust each other and help each other feel safe
It seems as if not least the technological changes, that are happening around us, are pushing forward several changes in our lives. 3 examples:
  1. Work life seems to be merging with private life, as people use technologies to work / communicate with each other anytime and anywhere. 
  2. Work seems to be merging with learning, as the number of changes - not least technological changes - encourage us to learn all the time. Have you thought about how you learn well / how you like to learn
  3. What men and women do seems to be merging. In other words, we continuously see less strict divisions of tasks that women and men do.
To tackle these changes happening around us, we need to trust each other and help each other feel safe.

Idea # 2: Use social media to help each other learn
Currently, the regional employment agencies are represented on a central website. That is ok, as information, that is helpful for people, is provided on the website. However, this central solution could be complemented by decentralized solutions. Every single regional employment agency could create its own social media accounts. This initiative would open up for differentiation, for creative solutions, for more initiative and drive, for more innovation.

In this regard, people, who work for regional employment agencies, could adapt what they do, so it - even better - fits the world of work and how people live their lives. For example, people who work at regional employment agencies could spend more of their time communicating on various kinds of social media. That is where people are. A part of this social media work could be telling stories about what is going on in / around local communities. What are people doing in different shops / companies / schools etc.? How are people in the communities helping each other live better lives?

Idea # 3: Help people discover their values
When a person, who needs help, comes to a regional employment agency, the first thing, that could happen, could be a conversation about what his or her purpose in life is. This starts by a coach asking the person questions that help him or her discover his or her values.


Below are some additional research about what we can do to rethink recruitment / rethink how we create value for each other / rethink rethink how we can involve each other in more intelligent, useful ways:







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