Suddenly, the Future of Work is Now – Is Your Firm Ready?

The crushing economic disruption brought on by the pandemic has firms across the world reassessing operations and staffing needs as they plan ahead. But long before the crisis, Dr. Michelle Weise was helping employers and learning providers redesign their hiring and training models to serve a quickly changing workforce made up of adults living and working longer and young people seeking secure jobs.

In her just-published book “Long Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet” (November 24, 2020), Dr. Weise – a leading authority on the future of work and learning – shares strategies and innovations firms can leverage now to build the workforce of tomorrow.

The book is particularly timely since the need to upskill and reskill workers in the new economy has taken on a new sense of urgency.

“In our work, we’ve seen examples where an employee with skills that could have been easily retooled for another role within a company was laid off because the management team didn’t have a strong enough grasp of the capabilities and hidden skills of their workforce,” says Weise. “This is deeply inefficient and costly and hurts both the employer and the employee.

 

As a corporate advisor, speaker and author, Weise stresses that the workplace of the future will demand a new kind of employee who will have to continuously return to learning to keep up with a rapidly evolving economy. This means adapting new frameworks now and “putting some teeth” into the concept of lifelong learning, a decades-old idea that has been good in theory but slow to catch fire.

Weise – who co-authored the 2014 book “Hire Education: Mastery, Modularity and the Workforce Revolution” with the late Clayton Christensen – has partnered with multiple commissions interested in activating her ideas, including Harvard University’s Task Force on Skills and Employability, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Commission on Lifelong Learning and Digital Innovation, and the Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education.

Previously the Chief Innovation Officer of Strada Education Network and now an entrepreneur-in-residence and senior advisor at Imaginable Futures, Weise works closely with talent managers, policymakers, teaching institutions and business leaders on ways to connect the supply of talent to the demand of opportunity.

We have to move from the future we don’t want to the future we do want. We must practice thinking bigger and more boldly about the future we wish to create,” adds Weise. “If we invest today in the infrastructure of the learning ecosystem of that future, we will ensure that generations of learners will be equipped with the relevant skills to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow.”

Marianne Kelly: