The Future of Work Hub is an interdisciplinary group of researchers, organisations and community members. As a Hub we see ourselves as a platform where parties are connected and can collaborate on how society should respond to the changing nature of work.
Our team actively involves partners in our research projects and is open to the questions society is looking to answer.
If you are interested in joining our Hub, please reach out to Thomas Martens:
Jan Nieuweboer is Innovation Manager at Rabobank and head of Future of Work Team there. He explains why Rabobank cooperates with the Utrecht University Hub.
“Changes on the labour market evaluate from linear to exponential. Earlier on employers and employees had more time to adapt to changes, now change evolves faster and is more far-reaching, especially in our sector, but in others too, for example retail. Jobs evolve, new workers are needed, with new skills. We do not only train people for our own company, but also for their own career and the benefit of the Netherlands as a whole, so we must keep in pace with other companies.”
The impact of changes is unpredictable, so research is necessary.
"At Rabobank we don’t investigate, for example how ‘the blockchain’ is going to effect the skill of future employees. Or how the blockchain works out on confidence employees have in the organization they work for. There, the Hub can be a great help and partner for us.”
What could be a concrete research assignment for the Hub?
"An analysis of informal networks at Rabobank, tested against the GDPR legislation, with focus on privacy and ethics. For example, we are curious to know whether the hierarchy and old structures in an online social network might disappear. Can the right people find each other easily and quickly enough for a gig, regardless of their function, more in a specific role? Can we recognize leadership within social networks and thus expose a characteristic of new leadership?"
Interests of big companies and science, do they go together well enough?
“As a company, we want to make decisions based on facts, not just on our own hypotheses, so we think it's important that fundamental research is being done.”
“We believe in the power of the triple helix: government - education/research - business and see that we, as Rabobank, have a role to play in this. Scientists can collect research questions here, and because of the large scale of our company, it is an interesting place for research participants. In turn, we accept that the results of scientific research are not always the answer to an issue that we want to solve. An unfavourable answer can be better than no answer at all. Suppose we want to bring about something and we ask science: which button do we have to turn for that? The answer, with insights from different disciplines, may be that you have to turn up high 15 buttons. Or that turning certain buttons has no effect at all. That is no problem. The added value of working with science is that one continues to learn, that one keeps refining the strategy."