Culture is the Future of Work

Culture is the Future of Work_view of abstract building looking from the ground up

The future of work is now.  The question is what role will HR have in it?  Common answers include:

  • Technology
  • Recruitment
  • Development

All of those certainly fit as answers as do dozens of others.  When examining those together, however, one would conclude what is really being discussed is culture.

In their white paper, The Future of Work:  Strategy, Culture and HR’s Role, CultureIQ says there are three forces that will “shape the workforce and workplace of the future.”  Those are:

  1. The type of talent a company needs
  2. The impact of technology on how people work
  3. Rapidly changing marketplaces

Culture is the Future of Work

In addressing this concept, CultureIQ worked with Bloomberg to survey 300 senior executives about the Future of Work.

One of the first things they learned is work is becoming more complex.  How?  Consider first that companies are becoming more agile either by force or organically.  Executives know they have to do this in order to remain competitive.  Optimizing a talented workforce, predicting talent needs and keeping retention rates high are critical to sustaining your organization’s competitive advantage.

In fact, CEOs recognized that one of the most important factors in their organization’s performance for the next three years was ensuring their organization was agile.

In fact, CultureIQ says agility ranked higher than other attributes like collaboration, engagement, or innovation.


Courtesy:  CultureIQ

Finding the Right Worker is Hard

As the future of work continues to change, so too does the type of employee needed to fill the open roles within a company.  To add insult to injury, those workers have become much more difficult to find.  This can be articulated by looking at the types of attributes these workers need.  Look at the difference between the “top 10 attributes” lists of 2015 and 2020.

 Future of Jobs Report World Economic Form

2015 2020
1.  Complex Problem Solving 1.  Complex Problem Solving
2.  Coordinating with Others 2.  Critical Thinking
3.  People Management 3.  Creativity
4.  Critical Thinking 4.  People Management
5.  Negotiation 5.  Coordinating with Others
6.  Quality Control 6.  Emotional Intelligence
7.  Service Orientation 7.  Judgement and Decision Making
8.  Judgement and Decision Making 8.  Service Orientation
9.  Active Listening 9.  Negotiation
10.  Creativity 10.  Cognitive Flexibility

“Compared to 2015, the top 10 attributes needed in 2020 includes cognitive flexibility for the first time. Creativity moved up seven places while emotional intelligence replaced the need for active listening. The changes make sense given that workers will need to be skilled at collaborating with people from around the globe with limited face-to-face interaction.”


Knowing this data points to a massive concern:  is HR ready for these changes to take place?  According to CultureIQ, most organizations have started to at least think about a future of work strategy.  Thinking about it, however, is not doing it.  Human resources and information technology departments seem to be prepared.  Counterpart departments such as finance/operations/strategy are not in the same position.

Courtesy:  CultureIQ

In summation

It’s worth repeating:  culture is the future of work.  In order for companies to address the ongoing changes, they have to be prepared to build the culture that can not only withstand the winds of change, but adapt to the changes at a much quicker pace than before.  It is no longer a sufficient strategy for a company to sit back and wait for the dust to settle before making a strategic move.  Executives have to move now.

Much more on this topic can be found in CultureIQ’s white paper referenced in this piece.  Download it here.