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4 Things to Expect in the Workforce of the Future

The world of work—and the way that we work—is rapidly changing. For candidates, there are conflicting forecasts about what skills will set them apart: Some say technical aptitude like coding is key, while others highlight the need for soft skills like critical thinking. And in a record-setting labor market, companies are also rethinking how they can connect and build relationships with candidates going forward.

Speaking of the future of work—that’s what our very own Sjoerd Gehring, Global Vice President of Talent Acquisition, did at the fourth annual Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York City on October 23. Alongside Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse, and Jensen Harris, co-founder and CTO of Textio, Sjoerd discussed how technology is changing the future of work, and what that means for candidates and companies alike.

Be sure to check out highlights, articles and videos from the festival. In the meantime, here are four insights into the future of work, how candidates and companies can prepare—and what Johnson & Johnson is doing to stay ahead.

Applying Skills Cross-Functionally to Drive Innovation

In the workplace of tomorrow, design thinking won’t be limited to design work, nor will scientific thinking end outside the doors of the lab. At the same time, the ability to work with data will become a core requirement of many non-technical job functions, from HR to logistics, manufacturing and more.

With more and more devices connected to the internet, and software increasingly embedded in tools, harnessing and generating insight from all of that data will be an important source of business value going forward. We know it’s also crucial to our mission of changing the trajectory of human health, from data-driven surgical procedures to pioneering mHealth applications. So for candidates in technical roles, experience with systems and software engineering can likely help set you apart in the future.

Right now, cross-functional teamwork and mentorship are already integral features of daily life at Johnson & Johnson. But we want to foster even more going forward. One way we’re doing that—and ensuring that we have diverse perspectives—is by taking a slightly different approach to hiring. For an engineering role in medical devices, for example, we’re actively looking at candidates who share our sense of mission and satisfy the core technical requirements, even if they don’t have a background in medical devices. Hiring in this way not only fosters new ways of thinking but also creates opportunities for candidates to craft their own career paths based on what inspires them.

Creating a Relationship-Driven Workplace

Building the workforce of the future requires companies to become much more relationship-oriented. That means adopting innovative, digitally driven approaches to connecting and building relationships with candidates.

We’re already on that path at Johnson & Johnson, having launched our groundbreaking platform Shine last year.

Shine puts information into candidates’ hands in real time—for example, it allows candidates to track the status of their applications and shares instantaneous updates with them. It also helps candidates prepare every step of the way by surfacing instructional content through our partnership with The Muse.

Since launching in October 2017 in the U.S., 300,000 candidates have used the platform, and it’s now being rolled out globally. Plus, we’re piloting a host of exciting new features, including a Glassdoor reviews integration and an offer-visualization experience. We understand that relationships are built on respect, authenticity, transparency and trust. And that’s why we created a totally new kind of candidate experience—one that aligns with our mission and identity, so that you can shine.

Humans and Machines Collaborating to Create Augmented Output

In the workforce of tomorrow, machines will augment—not replace—human efforts. And at Johnson & Johnson, you can get a glimpse of what that future looks like today, from artificial intelligence (AI) tools that speed up drug discovery to robotic-assisted surgery solutions. Even within the talent acquisition team right now at Johnson & Johnson, humans and machines are collaborating in completely new ways.

Take Textio, for example, an AI-powered tool that scans job descriptions for language that might turn off potential applicants and helps control for unconscious biases. Certain terms, like “assertive” and “dominate,” for example, may appeal more to men than to women. Since piloting Textio in 2016, our global team of 450-plus recruiters and talent acquisition professionals has been using the tool to optimize job descriptions and attract a more diverse pool of applicants. By adding a layer of speed and intelligence to our hiring activities, Textio helps us drive specific talent goals.

Already, we're seeing a 15% lift in qualified applicants, a 7% increase in overall new hires and a 9% uptick in highly qualified female applicants. And we expect even better results in the future. It just goes to show how human input and judgment, guided by the data-driven insights of machines, can lead to breakthrough progress.

Talent Expectations Continuing to Evolve Rapidly

Technology isn’t the only force reshaping and restructuring the world of work, nor is all of that change being directed from the top down. Rather, bottom-up pressure—that is, changing expectations, particularly among millennial and Gen Z employees and candidates—is playing a big role as well.

For one, younger workers simply expect that diversity and inclusion will be baked into workplace culture. Of course, studies also show that more diverse companies are better-performing companies. That means businesses that are behind on D&I today risk getting left behind for good in the future.

At Johnson & Johnson, we believe in the power of the collective, because no one is smarter than everyone. We view diversity as a key driver of innovation and growth—a view that is reflected in the fact that we took the top spot on the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Only by bringing together wide-ranging perspectives can we continue to create impact at scale and change the lives of billions of people around the globe.

Similarly, candidates today are looking to find companies that share their sense of mission and purpose in the world. That has always been something that sets us apart at Johnson & Johnson, as the values inscribed in Our Credo continue to guide what we do—and how we do it—every day. When you apply your unique talent and expertise to our collective purpose, there’s no end to the impact we can make together.

Your next idea could be our next big health breakthrough—so check out all of the opportunities to join Johnson & Johnson today.

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