Top 10 recommendations for the new world of work
HR and people teams need to be brought into organisations’ strategic thinking from the very start. Processes within that function need to be designed from the bottom up, so that they match the ‘real world of work’ in which employees now operate.
Organisations should be cautious about making major strategic decisions based purely on the past 12 months and the fallout from the pandemic. Think ahead five years to what the world of work will look like and how you want to position your organisation and the people within it. No, you won’t have all the details but that long-term vision to aim for is very important.
The office is not dead but it will change. Use this as an opportunity to imagine new ways to use the same space to enhance employee engagement. Think of the areas where you want people to come together physically to collaborate and design spaces that support this.
Meanwhile, avoid creating a two-tier system between those who can and cannot work from home. Design a system of benefits that works for every employee’s situation and does not discriminate, so that those who are unable to work from home are not ‘punished’ by spending more time commuting for example.
“Employers need to rethink productivity goals to make them reflect a more blended approach to work.”
The concept of surveillance-style management should be phased out and replaced by a system of mutual trust between manager and employee. But be careful to understand what systems and processes you are replacing to understand how the work is now getting done and what the signs are that your team and employee wellbeing is being impacted. If you’re looking to introduce people or workplace analytical tools this should start with a conversation with those likely to be affected so they understand what is being done, why it’s being done and how it will be used to support them do their jobs.
Training around how to spot burnout and how to manage wellbeing should become essential for all leaders and everyone within HR/people functions.
Employers need to rethink productivity goals to make them reflect a more blended approach to work. This does not mean lowering expectations, but, for example, making sure that targets are more flexible as a worker’s personal circumstances change.
Salary will not be the most important thing when it comes to recruitment and retention, so organisations must be imaginative and flexible when designing reward packages to attract talent. Flexibility around where and when to work will become ever more desirable.
Diversity and inclusion should be seen as an output rather than an input. Organisations must invest time and resource to understand why they have diversity problems and only then decide how to fix them.
Data will become increasingly important to tackle these and many other problems at an organisational level. Data collection must be rigorous and data analysis should be front and centre of strategic planning. Start by collating what existing data your business already holds that can help you understand what is happening in the organisation .