Tapping the potentials of future work

Cover art Erka Inciong

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Special Features Writer

A dynamic workforce, an energized work environment, and a transformative means of business are how the future of work is portrayed in the second leg of Spark Series 2019 last March 11 at Far Eastern University (FEU) in Manila. Students who gathered at the university’s Tech Building heard three business leaders share interesting thoughts on the theme “Imagining The Future of Work.”

Bianca Eleisse Eyales, associate consultant at Acumen Strategy Consultants, led the first session and presented an assessment of the Generation Z (Gen Z) as they enter the workforce, recommending organizations to consider and adapt to the needs, preferences, and habits of this generation.

Ms. Eyales shared that Gen Z — people born between 1996 to 2014 whose ages range approximately from 6 to 22 years old — view the world as ultra-connected, hyper-speed, and big and expansive.

Living in an ultra-connected world where the Internet offers them fast information and simultaneous socialization, Gen Z faces certain problems, according to Ms. Eyales. Gen Z get bored easily when they are not online, giving rise to the ‘boredom problem’. They also acknowledge the ‘people problem’, where they are concerned “about the generational gap that technology is causing in their personal and professional lives”.

As the world gets hyper-speed, Ms. Eyales said Gen Z expect to get information fast, as well as anticipate immediate responses. And as the world expands, they have more thirst for learning, since “[t]he Internet for them has become the indispensable, easy and fast channel for learning”.

Moreover, Ms. Eyales added that the Gen Z are living happy, yet tough, lives. While they enjoy the richness of the Internet, it has also allowed them to see all the bad that can be seen, as well as to feel emotionally taxed and out of place. Amidst these challenges, they still approach life with a lot of hope, as their mindset reveals.

With their thinking described as mature, Gen Z do not merely enjoy life, but they want to do so with responsibility. Acting as champions of change, Gen Z go beyond trying to unpack issues and plan initiatives into taking action. Both of these are evident in their careful career choices.

Being subject to frequent updates from varying sources, they filter what they see and what they believe. This filter, characterized by purpose, meaning, and authenticity, enables them to sort information into what is really relevant to who they are and what they are passionate about.

When asked for practical tips, Ms. Eyales advised the students to find a way to build trust within organizations and to make way for intergenerational understanding, acknowledging that Gen Z and older generations “have a lot to actually mine from each other’s knowledge and expertise.”

Miguel De Vera, head of Strategic Initiatives and Regulatory Office of Energy Development Corporation (EDC), started the second session and emphasized that potential clean energy is set to play a big role in empowering work in the future, and how the present generation can get involved.

“There’s no use talking about the future if, because of our worsening climate, we make poor choices when it comes to electrical power,” he said.

Mr. de Vera shared that the disruptions that occurred regarding energy consumption — the biggest of which was climate change — prompted them to initiate a fight for the environment. So, as much as EDC does its part in fighting climate change and pave the way for an energized future, the present generation, prompted by an “[i]ncreased awareness on what it takes to change the climate for the future”, can become “a workforce with increasing environmental acumen”.

He suggested that there are jobs in “environment-responsible companies that [students] can apply for, including those that help ecosystems and biodiversity, reduce energy, and companies that work in high-efficiency and decarbonized industries — altogether minimizing generation of all forms of waste and pollution”.

He told the audience that they “can help energize our future by being part of your workforce that upholds sustainability at all times by living a low carbon lifestyle and by using your voice to make a stand against practices that harm our planet in our future.”

Mr. de Vera also encouraged the audience to choose clean energy whenever they can, to patronize products from those who commit to clean energy, and to think about the impact that they are making to future generations.

Speaking on how e-commerce is transforming business, Zomato Philippines Country Manager Hardik Batra set the restaurant search and discovery service as an example, sharing about its development, which took place in three stages.

First, Zomato Philippines figured out how to be different among others by coming up with different products and seeing where they fit in. Then, they went into creating a close community, where stakeholders stay intact. Thereafter, they started planning their growth in the future through expansion.

Mr. Batra emphasized the importance of keeping a strong connection between two sides of the market that are involved in a platform, since “[e]very company, especially e-commerce, are nothing but two-sided platforms.”

“At Zomato, we constantly think how we can create a strong nexus of users and restaurants alive,” Mr. Batra added.

The second leg of Spark Series 2019 at Far Eastern University Manila was presented by BusinessWorld SparkUp and Energy Development Corporation, together with Acumen Strategy Consultants and J. Legaspi Computer Graphics (JLCG), in partnership with Far Eastern University, with media partners Philippine Star and ONE News, and organization partners FEU Entrepreneurship Club and FEU Student Development.