There are 20 human qualities that employees will need to succeed in workplaces of the future which are more technologically advanced, according to one of Australia’s leading medical technology companies.
As new technologies such as automation and robotics are incorporated into the workforce, the nature of work will change and HR will play a key role in looking ahead to ensure businesses are prepared to meet changing demands.
Using publicly available research and its own organisational and industry expertise, medical technology company Stryker identified 20 of the most important human qualities needed for individuals to succeed when working side-by-side with technology.
As technology advances, the focus on human qualities becomes even more important, said Stryker South Pacific’s senior director, human resources, Erin Cramlet.
She explained that identifying what attributes will be important in the future and helping employees to develop towards those will become paramount to a company’s success.
“Automation and robotics reduce repetitive tasks, therefore human-centric roles can offer more personalised experiences and provide meaningful work for our people,” said Cramlet, who explained that the top 20 skills needed for the future of work are:
- Impactful communicator
- Active listener
- Team player and collaborative
- Emotionally connected
- Result orientated
- Life-long learner
- Influencer and negotiator
- Value-driven and ethical
- Good under pressure
- Strong judgement
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Problem solver and critical thinker – design thinking
- Data interpreter
- Agility and adaptability
- Digitally literate
The skills were brought to life by Australian illustrator, Anthony Calvert (see below – click for more detail) and while the illustration is meant to engage and spark conversation, Cramlet said it carries a serious message.
“To ensure we can continue to lead into the future, we are engaging our people to explore how best we can shape the future of our workforce, what a great place to work will look like in the future, and what qualities will be key to successful employees in the future of work,” said Cramlet.
Stryker has also been awarded Australia’s best place to work (in the 100-999 employee category by Great Places to Work Australia), maintaining its position in the top five best places to work for five consecutive years.
“Our focus is on understanding and treating all employees as individuals,” said Cramlet.
“That’s why we have such a focus on a strengths-based culture.
“When we considered the pace of change over the next few decades, we wondered, what would it be like to meet our colleague of the future?
“As Stryker continues to uncover how best to use people and technology side-by-side, decisions need to be made about how to help people grow and develop into the future,” said Cramlet, who explained that the company focuses on aligning a potential candidate’s talents and strengths to a role, and not just focusing on their previous experience.
“While organisations are continuing to recruit for specific skills, the reality is that some roles do not even exist yet,” she said.
Robotics, automation and the human edge
She gave the example of Stryker’s recent acquisition of robotic technology Mako, which is used during joint replacement surgery, and as a result the company now has more than 50 people working in roles that did not exist four years ago.
“We were able to seamlessly hire for these technical roles by looking at what innate talent we needed and thinking outside the box for where to find this talent,” she said.
“For example, we had great success in hiring driven physiotherapists whose understanding of anatomy and spatial awareness helped them to adapt to the technical nature of the role.”
“While organisations are continuing to recruit for specific skills, the reality is that some roles do not even exist yet”
With continued innovation, Cramlet also recognised this will change the nature of jobs, while automation and robotics will reduce repetitive tasks undertaken by employees.
“We have an opportunity to personalise roles to provide more meaningful jobs that focus on the human side of work and offer a better experience to our people,” she said.
“As technology advances, the focus on human qualities becomes even more important.
“Identifying what attributes will be important in the future and helping employees to develop towards those will become paramount to our company’s success.
How Stryker hires for success
Stryker seeks to hire people who will have long and successful careers with the business, and Cramlet said it invests time in really getting to know potential candidates.
“Our focus is on understanding and treating all employees as individuals,” she said.
“We get to know people as people first, and employees second, and take the time to understand all aspects of their life that may have an impact on their engagement and performance at work.”
Developing natural talents into strengths is part of the “Stryker DNA” and Cramlet said the company looks beyond the industry to search for candidates who have talents and strengths which are a good fit for the role and organisation – both now and in the future.
“When we find the right person, regardless of their experience, we help the candidate to identify their strengths and adapt roles to fit the individual,” she said.
“We then harness our employees’ natural talents and build their skills through ongoing learning opportunities, so our people are empowered to do what they do best.”
Employees are also given a great deal of support and freedom to learn, grow and develop, and she said they are encouraged to own their development and drive change when they see opportunities.
“When we find the right person, regardless of their experience, we help the candidate to identify their strengths and adapt roles to fit the individual”
“Our commitment to developing people’s strengths is grounded in positive psychology and empowers people to develop talents throughout their career with Stryker,” she said.
The role of HR in the workplace of the future
Cramlet also observed that the role of HR in the future will not be dissimilar to HR today, as the function will continue to look ahead and prepare for a changing workplace.
“However, to ensure we can continue to lead into the future, we are engaging our people to explore how best we can shape the future of our workforce, what a great place to work will look like in the future, and what qualities will be key to successful employees in the future of work,” she said.
Businesses are constantly challenged by how to attract the right talent for the right roles, but Cramlet said the reality is that some roles do not even exist yet.
“It has been important to widen our pool of candidates, look beyond the typical industry candidates, and develop our people and refine our culture to ensure we remain an industry-leading place to work,” she said.
As workplaces become more agile, she predicted that there will be a greater focus on how to harness and bring to life company culture across borders.
Ten years ago, for example, 90 per cent of the Stryker’s employees were in the same location and many teams were even in the same room.
“Today, we have global teams and the way we work is quite different,” she said.
“There will be a greater need for HR to help leaders develop skills that ensure their teams feel a sense of community, purpose and ultimately, loyalty to their organisation.”