There are four critical areas companies should prioritise in order to not only survive – but thrive – in the face of disruption, when technological advances like AI and robotics are disrupting industries, redefining value chains and forcing companies to rethink entire business models, according to a recent research report.
In the age of disruption, organisations should be distinguishing themselves from others and transforming their work environment into a compelling experience in order to accelerate their performance and prevail, said Garry Adams, leader of the Pacific career business for Mercer, which conducted the research.
“As digitisation and disruption shape the next decade of work, companies that develop people strategies around these forces today, will be first in building the workforce for tomorrow,” said Adams.
“Thriving organisations do not happen by chance. They are deliberately designed and intentionally built.
“Most importantly, they create an atmosphere that enriches the lives of their workforce by meeting their needs and empowering them to contribute.”
The Thriving in an Age of Disruption report found that only 52 per cent of organisations worldwide have committed to help employees thrive at work.
However, those companies which have adopted successful approaches to thrive in the face of increased disruption have prioritised four key areas.
“They create an atmosphere that enriches the lives of their workforce by meeting their needs and empowering them to contribute”
Craft a future-focused people strategy: Organisations need to approach their people strategy with as much dedication as they do with their innovation and digital strategies. Thriving organisations treat their workforce as an asset in which to invest – not simply a business cost.
Curate a compelling employee value proposition: People want jobs that work for them. They want tools to manage work and life in a way that is personalised, flexible and unique to their own interests and aspirations.
Create a thriving work environment: Individuals thrive when work is challenging and purposeful, when they feel empowered to make decisions and when they are connected to colleagues and experts.
Cultivate a lab mindset: To stay ahead in changing times, cultivate a mindset that encourages experimentation, design thinking, balanced risk-taking and a climate of continuous learning.
“Creating a thriving workforce isn’t easy,” said Adams.
“It requires a comprehensive, multi-level approach that starts with leadership and culture.”
Ben Walsh, MD and CEO of Mercer Australia said that in a period where the future is being revolutionised, leaders at the top should explore and refine business in ways not previously considered to transform the work environment into a compelling experience.
“CEOs are now at a point where their commitment to leadership and inclusion within the workplace means much more than just ensuring balance sheets stay in the black,” said Walsh.
“At the core of all thriving organisations are CEOs and leadership teams who seek to do well while living their values.”
“HR needs to lead the charge in building a compelling employee experience”
Similarly, there has been a significant evolution in the employee-employer contract, according to Yolanda Beattie, diversity and inclusion practice leader for Mercer.
“While every contract will still require the basic element of compensation, HR needs to lead the charge in building a compelling employee experience, built around a powerful purpose that energises employees and in turn drives satisfaction and commitment,” she said.
“Today, people want more than just a place to work and with that comes an incredible opportunity for organisations to stand out from the crowd and create compelling employee value propositions.
“People want jobs that work for them, where they have the opportunity to embrace and craft in ways that allow them to bring their full selves to work and take an even better version of themselves home.”
The research, which took in 800 HR and business leaders around the world,found that employees who are energised and bring their authentic selves to work are 45 per cent more invested in their role.
A trusting work environment, a feeling of personal accomplishment, faith in senior leadership, clarity around career paths and a strategy that is responsive to external market shifts and societal needs also contribute to a 79 per cent employee confidence level in the company they work for.
Beattie explained that translating the employee valuation proposition into unique compelling experiences for every employee requires a holistic view of total rewards and using both art and science to make it resonate.
“Maintaining the status quo is no longer a tenable strategy to succeed in this fast-changing business world”
This science starts with workforce analytics to map internal labour movements and identify personas that represent typical populations.
“It then leverages conjoint analysis to pinpoint those distinct benefits that appeal to each persona’s unique interests, wants and needs,” said Beattie.
“Platforms that use AI to enhance the value proposition can learn what benefits are being used by different personas and make intuitive suggestions to employees at the right time.”
While data is useful, she said organisations also need to have a unique voice and compliment industry benchmarks towards curating memorable and distinct experiences for their people. “
AI may be able to recommend when a career move might be most appropriate, but it is the real conversations between employees and their managers that bring these choices to life,” she said.
For HR leaders to set their organisation apart from the others Beattie said they need to ensure that they are focused on their people strategy, have curated a compelling value proposition, have created a thriving work environment, and have cultivated a lab mindset.
“Maintaining the status quo is no longer a tenable strategy to succeed in this fast-changing business world,” she said.
Furthermore, organisations with agile and purpose-driven cultures are more likely to have annual revenue growth, and employees who are energised by their job are more likely to stay and contribute to the company, according to the report.
“In an era of disruption, it is more important than ever before for companies to take a leading role in caring for the health, wealth and careers of their workforce in order to thrive,” said Walsh.
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