The nature of work and the role of the employee is changing. The pundits have been pontificating on this for years. But how might the org chart of the large corporation of the future look? How about smaller businesses? The modern corporate organisational structure comes from the rail road industry of the 1800’s and is very hierarchical. Top down if you will. For the most part, such structure was influenced by communications technologies available at the time. With the advent of email, Internet technologies and now Artificial Intelligence radical changes are underway. Here’s my take on the future of the Org Chart and how companies may structure their workforce in the coming decades.
Org Chart 2.0
Leadership Core: This will comprise members of the executive and board directors. The C-suite will still exist and they will bear the responsibility for strategic direction. They will need to understand disruption better and will be largely analytics driven. Boards will have more liability placed on them by government regulations. The leadership core will be smaller than today. Middle management will largely cease to exist.
Employee Core: As middle management fades away and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is able to handle routine process driven tasks, so will the need for a lot of employees go away. Employees will report directly to the C-suite. The employee core will be the permanent full-time sort. They will be highly knowledgeable and well skilled. They will also be well compensated with strong benefits in order to retain them. But they will also have high performance requirements.
Contract Core: Vetted and regularly contracted freelancers. They will work on projects and campaigns. They work on term contracts which can be renewed. When they disappoint on performance contracts will be terminated. They have no benefits but are compensated well for the work they do. When they fail, someone from the freelance cadre will get a contract role. Those who perform exceptionally well may have a chance to be hired into the Employee Core.
Freelance Cadre: Highly skilled people who largely prefer freelance work. They may also be new graduates with little or no work experience, so freelancing helps them get experience. As companies trust their work and they perform, they can move into the Contract Core which provides more stable work. There will be many freelance organising groups.
Mundane and routine tasks and even some management level work like basic legal counsel will be performed by Artificial Intelligence engines. AI engines will also retain corporate knowledge and act like assistants to the employee core. There will be new opportunities for executive and professional search firms. Some will become hubs for freelancers and serve freelancers more than a potential employer. Insurance companies will have to rethink how they offer employee insurance packages to freelancers and contract workers. Finance companies will have to do the same. Universities will have to up their game and community colleges and eLearning companies will see a huge boon as they focus on relevant skills development programs.
This is of course, purely speculation. But we are already seeing some shifts in this direction. What do you think? Is this a likely scenario?