How the role of employees in companies is changing – The Knowledge Worker

Why knowledge workers are becoming increasingly relevant in companies

The number of knowledge workers in companies has been increasing for years. Knowledge workers require different tools and information bases to work efficiently than traditional employees. As more and more employees move toward knowledge-based work, this article addresses the overall shift in the workforce.

The role of employees in companies has changed significantly in recent years. In the past, it was primarily crucial that employees were able to physically perform certain tasks. This could be, for example, operating machines or performing manual tasks.

Today, however, many of these tasks have been taken over by machines or computers, which can work faster and more accurately than humans. This means that the role of employees has changed, and they now need different skills to perform their new job successfully. Therefore, the number of knowledge workers is continuously increasing: a knowledge worker is a person who is mainly involved in processing and managing information and knowledge in their job.

But it’s not just the people who sit at a computer all day who need significantly more knowledge; the service technicians and craftsmen of this world are also facing increasingly complex tasks requiring more knowledge. Where a car used to consist of mechanical parts only and could be repaired by a mechanic, nowadays at least a mechatronics engineer, if not a software programmer, is needed to get a broken vehicle running again. Therefore, not only the role of the office staff is changing, but also that of colleagues out on the road. Nevertheless, this article is primarily about the employees who are sitting in the office.

The role of the knowledge worker

An important responsibility of these knowledge workers today is to optimize workflows and processes in the company to improve efficiency. This includes identifying repetitive tasks that can be taken over by machines or computers to reduce employee workload and increase productivity. In addition, organizations today need to ensure that the right tools and technologies are used to automate work processes and increase efficiency. This requires a deep understanding of business processes and the ability to identify problems and develop solutions. Therefore, employees must be able to consider the impact of changes on the overall organization to ensure that the optimized processes are successful in the long term.

Another important aspect is that employees today need to be able to respond quickly to change and new challenges. This may mean that they need to acquire new knowledge quickly or be prepared to adapt their way of working in order to adapt to new environments or requirements. Therefore, modern methods such as new work and agile working are becoming increasingly relevant, as they can cope with rapidly changing challenges much better than classic methods can.

Things to consider in transformation from a knowledge worker’s perspective:

If business owners are considering making their companies more prepared for the challenges of the future, they should pay particular attention to the following things:

  1. A good infrastructure: This includes the hardware on the one hand and the software to work together accordingly. It must be defined how work is to be done in the future. Finding a good mix between remote work and creative, workshop-like sessions certainly makes sense. On the one hand, this must be provided by the technical infrastructure and spatial infrastructure.
  2. Time management skills: Since knowledge workers are no longer about the sheer completion of tasks, they must be able to manage their time accordingly. On the one hand, suitable working time models should be looked at for this purpose, and on the other hand, tools are needed to manage the prioritization of tasks accordingly.
  3. Communication skills: It is enormously important for knowledge workers to be able to share and record information. Ideas and thoughts, as well as decision-making processes and principles, must be recorded transparently in order to be traceable. In particular, care must be taken to break down data silos and enable employees to access this information independently of others without having to rely on constant communication with others.

Overall, then, the role of employees in the enterprise has shifted from one that primarily performs physical work to one that focuses on modeling workflows and processes and the ability to adapt quickly to change. These skills are more important than ever for knowledge workers to succeed in the rapidly changing world of work.

Bastian is the Co-Founder & CRO of the enterprise search tech company amberSearch. Me and my Co-Founders recognized the need for a state-of-the-art information management solution and now help companies and their employees to find access information as easily as possible within enterprises.  I primarily write about the latest developments relevant to enterprise search and start-ups. I look forward to growing my network on LinkedIn and meeting new people at different events. If you think, that there might be an opportunity or if you'd like to dive deeper into my topics, please reach out to me.

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