We believe that the future starts now. Our future selves and work environments are the result of what we are doing today. It is therefore necessary to be deliberate about the work we are designing and to understand why it is important. In a way, the future is the past – if we don’t take stock of what has previously gone on and what we’ve learnt from that, what we want to take forward and what we have to leave behind, then we’re missing a trick. The good thing is there are no experts on “the future”. We are continuously experiencing new thinking, new approaches, and the main advice we have is – embrace it! There are multiple contradictions out there and it is up to us as leaders to navigate those contradictions and identify what will have the most positive impact for the future of our people and our work.
What challenges are you currently facing in your business/industry? Will those challenges still exist in the future? How are you solving for those challenges?
We encourage you to stop and reflect on what is currently front of mind around the challenges that exist for you today and how those might show up in the future. We have five considerations for ways to re-frame those challenges to set you up for strong organisational performance now and into the future. In the words of the infamous Marty McFly “Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one”.
1. The future of work is human centred
You may see this as contradictory of all the research and investment into technology, however as important and game changing as technology is, we need to consider what it will and won’t replace. In your organisation are there roles that will be different in the future as a result of technology and how can you prepare your people for this? People can survive and thrive through change provided that they understand the rationale and are well communicated with.
Being human centred goes far beyond the human/technology dichotomy – it is about seeing employees as holistic people, whose lives are completely intertwined with work and cannot be separated. The appetite to accept this increased during covid lockdowns when we saw people in their home environments and were forced to acknowledge and support the unique challenges they experience outside of the office. In our changed world and into the future, we have to continue to be responsive to employees as whole humans, designing experiences that align with their needs and wants. How does this apply in your work environment?
2. The future of work has purpose
There is no doubt, and the research supports this, that the covid pandemic has driven people to think deeply about what was going on in their lives and what brings meaning for them. According to Gartner, this “Great Reflection” shows 56% of employees wanting to contribute more to society and 52% questioning the purpose of their work(i). It is an evolutionary need for humans to belong to groups and be connected by a common thread (purpose). People also want more meaning in their work, they want to understand that the work they do contributes to something bigger. This doesn’t mean that you need to go out and create purpose as an organisation, it will already exist, it just means that you have to be deliberate about articulating it well and connecting the dots for your people. How does your business strategy align to your vision and unique purpose? What makes your organisation different to others? How as an organisation do you define, communicate and deliver on your EVP (employee value proposition)?
We have developed an EVP model which enables you to consider what differentiates your business in a number of areas that are important to people’s experience at work. It is no coincidence that we have led with Purpose.