Navigating the New World of Work: Insights from Professor Deseré Kokt's Inaugural Address
Professor Deseré Kokt, Human Resource Management at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), delivered her inaugural address, "Competencies for the New World of Work: A Futuristic Perspective", on 03 November 2023.
The modern workforce is undergoing a profound transformation due to globalisation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and the ever-evolving digital landscape. With extensive years of teaching experience at the university level and an impressive academic and professional background, Prof. Kokt's insights offer a futuristic perspective on what it takes to succeed in work today and in the foreseeable future.
She described the "new world of work" as a place where traditional boundaries are blurred and employees are empowered by digital technologies to work from anywhere, at any time. This shift has been accelerated by the rapid advancement of 4IR technologies, leading to the virtualisation and digitalisation of the workplace. In this context, contemporary organisations are grappling with accelerated business innovation, flexible work arrangements, and increased workforce diversity.
“In a very complex world of work, we are inundated with an environment that is becoming increasingly complex. As human resource practitioners and researchers, we need to look into the future to see what is happening, how the world of work will change in the future, and how we should prepare students, businesses, industry, and management for what they can expect in the future. 4IR is part of our daily lives, and this is the environment in which we work and learn.”
Prof. Kokt emphasised the importance of adapting to this new reality and recognising the implications for organisations. The new world of work requires employees to have a range of competencies that go beyond technical skills. Building creativity, agility, empathy, emotional regulation, and an entrepreneurial mindset will help employees thrive in the new world of work. Employers must also provide opportunities for employees to develop these competencies and create a culture that supports their growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the transformation of work, forcing organisations to adapt rapidly to remote work and new ways of operating. Her address also looked into the challenges brought about by the pandemic, which included redefining the boundaries of work-life balance, addressing mental health concerns, and dealing with the uncertainties of remote work.
In conclusion, she emphasised the importance of lifelong learning, continuous upskilling, and an openness to embracing new technologies. “In this ever-evolving world of work, individuals and organisations must be agile and future-focused.”
L-R: Dr Sally Dzingwa, Registrar; Prof. Albert Strydom: Dean of Management Sciences; Prof. Deseré Kokt, newly appointed professor; Prof. Pamela Dube, Vice-Chancellor and Principal; Prof. Samson Mashele, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning and Prof. Wendy Setlalentoa: Dean of Humanities.
Prof. Deseré Kokt’s and family, L-R: Ben Van Zyl (stepfather), Hettie Van Zyl (Mother), Justin Kokt (Son), Renette Theron (Sister), Dalene Richter (Friend)Uploaded: 04 November 2023
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