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Future of work

Digitalisation, disruption, globalisation - daunting changes in world of work hold many opportunities, says Jan Kowalsky, Xing AG in Hamburg

“We are on the threshold of far-reaching changes in the world of work,” according to Jan Kowalsky, Marketing Director of Xing AG. Digitalisation, a lack of experts and changing values that prioritise professional fulfilment are the main drivers of this change, he noted. To meet these challenges, Xing and other leading internet companies in Hamburg such as Google, Twitter and Facebook are analysing the changing culture of work and making suitable adjustments.

Emotional intelligence and creativity gaining importance

In future, people will be paid according to their work performances and not simply for coming to work. That is likely to bring more project-related work and greater freedom that takes both employees’ needs and those of employers into consideration. Until now, talk about digitalisation has centred on diverse professions that may become superfluous in future, said Kowalsky. “However, we note clearly that tasks are changing and emotional intelligence and creativity are gaining importance.” Thus the ability to understand, comprehend and use the numerous, diverse technical innovations is also important.

Rethinking management and recruitment

Although digital natives may find the adjustment easier, it is likely to lead to shifting power structures at various executive levels. In the past, traditional bosses based their authority mainly on sound knowledge, but now young specialists are the ones often pointing the way, Kowalsky noted, adding: “Management must be earned. Today, a successful boss has to go to great efforts to keep clever people in the team and ensure that the framework conditions do not prompt the employee to leave for a rival company.”

The means of attracting clever people to a company have also changed, according to Kowalsky. To meet these changes, Xing is offering sabbaticals, prototyping and failabration – basically celebrating mistakes as they can offer valuable stimulus and impact both internal developments and new tools for customers. Last year, Xing introduced a recommendations manager, which literally turns employees into advertisers for their employer. An algorithm compares current vacancies with employees’ networks and encourages them to recommend suitable candidates for jobs. “Staff can then help shape the company and perhaps help hire their new colleagues as well,” said Kowalsky.

Opportunities of new work movement

Xing’s other popular erecruiting solutions include the talent manager, which facilitates contact with potential jobseekers using special filters or the employer branding profile that links up to the employer ranking platform “kununu” which Xing took over in 2013. “Users can rate certain aspects of their former employer e.g. the availability of flexible working hours, a nursery or coaching offers. Companies can present themselves transparently and comprehensively,” Kowalsky explained, highlighting the positive new work movement now noticeable at Xing. Digitalisation will definitely lead to drastic changes, but also brings diverse opportunities with it. Commenting on ideal, working situations in future, Kowalsky expressed a wish: “I would like more people to do fulfilling work so that jobs match their lives and not vice versa.”

Sources and further information:

About Xing AG

Lars Hinrichs founded Xing AG as the “Open Business Club” in 2003 offering a business network across the German-language region. The publicly listed company has been headquartered in Hamburg since 2006. At present, Xing has around 12 million members with around 900,000 in Switzerland and Austria. Experts account for 45 per cent, followed by managing directors (19 per cent), heads of divisions (18 per cent) and managers (12 per cent). The share of newcomers to professions and students on Xing is not so high. Some 27 per cent of users work in IT, finance and trade, 19 per cent in industry and 17 per cent in the service sector.

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