The knowledge economy, the VUCA world, staffing companies and the next decade

20, January

By Martin Padulla for staffignamericalatina The world is “bankrupt”. Most countries have an unsustainable fiscal ...

By Martin Padulla for staffignamericalatina

The world is “bankrupt”. Most countries have an unsustainable fiscal deficit. The pension systems seem not to take note of the strong demographic changes that are occurring. Fiscal conflicts seem to mutate in trade wars, protectionism and other anomalies. We are living in what many call a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). However, there is an indisputable certainty: we will live like this for the next decade.

Companies will be established where they find less tax burden, better business climate and pertinent talent. These three anti-VUCA pillars affect the part of the efforts of the different States, they also make up the maze to be solved in Latin America

The talent required will be the great challenge of the next decade in a context of growing social conflict. Negative rates generate consumption bubbles. The urban middle classes want more and better; the less favored classes bid for a long-awaited middle class. Within the framework of legality, without doubt, the only way of inclusion is through education.

Educational systems fail to reach the speed of the needs of the knowledge economy. Without any doubt complementary strategies that connect training with work will be needed. In fact, in the era of abundance, we are witnessing an unprecedented phenomenon: experts who did not acquire knowledge through formal education.

The characteristic of this Fourth Industrial Revolution is that it no longer exists a single event that changes the rules of the game as in the first three. Today we attend more than twenty events simultaneously. Technological convergence generates exponentiality.

In Latin America an entrepreneurial ecosystem of exceptional characteristics has been formed. Exponential organizations are born every day that offer different solutions to 21st century problems with disruptive business models that are transforming sectors and qualitatively changing value chains. Buenos Aires, Guadalajara, Medellin, Santiago de Chile or Sao Paulo are cities that have been able to boost entrepreneurial talent in recent years through incubators, accelerators, investment funds and angel investor networks. However, in all researches on this subject, it is concluded that it is necessary to design more flexible and focused strategies, which create skills in a very short time, certifications to work, and more and better technical and technological training.

The creation of millions of jobs is conditioned to training. Various forms of work involved in various ways acquiring new and varied theoretical and fundamentally practical knowledge.

In this context, managing in a traditional way seems like a certified death insurance. While traditional companies project their growth in terms of percentage for this year that begins; exponential organizations seek to grow several times faster, several times cheaper, several times better. This last aspect is remarkable: there is a marked social commitment in the exponential entrepreneurs of the region, the will to transform our societies is evident.

In addition, these organizations are conceived as expanded and integrated. They demand strategic allies that are aligned with this vision. Players who add value by prioritizing people and interactions over processes and tools. Specialists who focus on the important, who contribute to the exponential organization with high performance agile teams.

They have a Purpose of Mass Transformation, they pursue a large-scale change. To do this, they combine a series of basic ingredients in a recipe that forms an exquisite dish: staff on demand under flexible schemes that minimize full-time staff; a community passionate about the problem that the organization solves; algorithms that analyze data, leveraged assets or high level of outsourcing; commitment, that is, high levels of interaction and community reward; interfaces that allow to design a memorable experience; dashboards to easily and quickly access information, experimentation, test new strategies quickly and controlled or as stated before, the possibility of allowing rapid and cheap failure with learning; autonomy, breaking the hierarchical model to give way to autonomous cells that grant greater speed and social technologies to operate more agile and organized with the community.

Are staffing companies in the region doing this reading? Have you faced your digital transformation process? Are you clear that any transformation involves a change of mindset? Can you make an exponential transformation? Are they willing to articulate, together with the public employment services, instances of demand-based skills training and be protagonists in the creation of relevant talent? Do you want to do it by innovating, adding technology, disrupting or reinventing yourself? Are they creating relevant talent within their own teams? Can and want to manage multiple types of contracts that formalize various forms of work 4.0? Are they making mistakes fast and cheap? Do you learn from those experiences? These are just some of the questions that could be the key to the next challenge for companies that provide workforce solutions in the region.

At the beginning of a new decade, we naturally tend to analyze what happened in the last 10 years. What we can observe is that there is a huge risk for all sectors that have not evolved in that period of time. The probability that a new player , who is often a small exponential organization with a different approach, transforms obsolete to the business models carried out by large companies, is very high.

The decade that begins necessarily will be the transformation of the sector. Those who experience it will be protagonists of a more dynamic, modern, technological and diverse labor market. They will add value to a much more sophisticated chain than the one that exists today and will do so at an unprecedented speed with technology as the main ally. Those who cling to a traditional business model are likely to show high vulnerability in a turbulent context. Without a doubt, a very dangerous scenario.

In the world of work, threats are not innovations but the impossibility of assimilating them at the speed in which they occur and incorporating them into the field of business.

Not focusing on the customer is the biggest threat to any business. Blockbuster, taxis, retailers and the hotel sector are a clear reference, if we look at Netflix, Uber, Amazon or Airbnb.

The challenge is posed.

About Martin Padulla

Founder and Managing Director of staffingamericalatina. Martin Padulla is Sociologist (USAL), MBA (UCA) and labour markets expert. He published “Flexible Work in South America” and “Regulatory framework for private employment agencies in Latin America” two books about the new realities of work in Latin America. He is working on the project #FOWiberoamerica.

Follow Martín Padulla on Twitter: @MartinPadulla

mpadulla@staffingamericalatina.com