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October 28, 2021

Two Big Employers Are Preparing for the Future of Work

You’ve read it many times over: we’re living through the transition to the future of work.

But we’ve read less about how companies are preparing, especially when it comes to their talent.

At our recent Cultivate event, Medtronic and BNY Mellon talked about what they’re doing to prepare for a more hybrid, more fluid, faster-changing world of work.

Stuart Logan is BNY Mellon’s managing director, head of HR for global operations and technology. Brian Crane is senior director of HR digital enablement at Medtronic. Some of their thoughts from Cultivate:

They’re working on learning and development. Much has been written about where employees should work. Less has been said about where they should learn. Logan, from BNY Mellon, says “How we train people, physically train, digitally, train, virtually train — all of those items are something that’s top of mind and we’re working hard on.”

They’re getting a handle on employees’ capabilities. “I’m trying to figure out how we’re going to meet the needs of today and tomorrow from a human capital standpoint,” Crane, from Medtronic, says. “Giving visibility to leaders on the collective capabilities of our employees, being able to do gap analysis and understand where to develop existing employees as well as find new skills and develop new skills and talents for the future.”

They’re revamping the way work is done. Logan says the company is trying to think of the way work is done as much more fluid. In the past, people did the same work for years, moved to a new job, did that work for years, and moved up again. Now, he says, “Individuals are spending six months on project A and 10 months on project B.” This means BNY Mellon needs, he says, “to store a digital footprint of what those individuals have been doing” as they build skills from project to project.

They’re building and using “job intelligence.” Logan says BNY is looking at the skills and capabilities of every person, beyond just their resumes and LinkedIn profiles, into what people have done before and what they are capable of doing in the future. (Partly through the use of “adjacent skills,” which we’ve talked about before with regard to BNY Mellon.) With this job intelligence, BNY Mellon is finding individuals who are “buried in the organization.” For example, Logan says, there are people who have knowledge of predictive analytics, but they are in a variety of locations, departments, and job families, rather than all sitting in one “predictive analytics” group.

They’re moving people internally. During the pandemic, Medtronic reorganized the company. Some positions were displaced, and new positions created. Because it had an AI platform to provide data on all employees, it was able to match many employees who would otherwise have been let go into new opportunities. “As a result of that, we doubled, nearly tripled, the historical retention of employees who in prior years had been displaced,” Crane says. This represented millions of dollars of savings in COBRA payments, taxes, recruiting costs, and more.

They’re planning ahead, with data. Crane says that at many companies, if they asked themselves how many employees they had with data-science skills, the companies wouldn’t know. But, Medtronic now does. And, Crane can take a look at things like, “are we going to need to double the number of that skill set in the future? How close are people who aren’t data scientists today to where in three years they can develop and become data scientists when we need them?” AI is allowing Crane and Medtronic to answer these questions. 

If you’re interested in hearing more about how employers are preparing for the future of work, sign up for the upcoming Cultivate Europe event.