A cost-of-living crisis, soaring inflation, skills shortages and the knock-on effects of Covid are tearing the world of work apart.
Across all social classes – from barristers to bus drivers, pilots to postal workers – people are taking industrial action to demand inflation-proof pay increases. But strikes are just the symptom, not the cause, of the problem.
There are four major tensions disrupting the world of work:
The first tension is ‘Flexibility’. Everyone is demanding more freedom in terms of where they work, when they work and how they work. But how do companies reconcile this right to freedom and flexibility with the need to create a strong, cohesive team culture? How do they foster a sense of belonging and unity when people are often struggling to cope with isolation?
People are demanding more individuality. Don’t treat me like everyone else. My needs are uniquely different from those of my colleagues. Here again, though, companies are pitched into conflict with the basic principles of fairness and consistency. How can management create parity when everyone is calling for personalisation?
Given the choice, everyone wants to work for an ethical employer. Sustainable credentials certainly come high on the priority list of top graduates when selecting an employer. But pursuing this ethical goal can foment very real tensions… can people afford principles when they are fighting to put food on the table?
In many respects, this is the most complex and crucial issue of all. Inspired leaders will motivate, encourage and empathise. But that’s not enough. Modern leaders must also empower and respect the freedom of employees. And that is the dichotomy – how can you be ‘hands-on’ and ‘hands-off’ at the same time, especially if so many of your staff are not in the office and ‘out of sight’.
Against all of these tensions, what are the right things to do?
We believe it is time to do a root and branch review of your entire employee experience using the power of design thinking. Redesign the entire employee life cycle, viz:
Just solving the problems at the edges will only delay the inevitable – loss of valuable staff and morale.
Our niche firm has worked with several global companies to navigate shifting employee experience and unlock potential.
Helping a global FMCG define and activate a global Future of Work (FoW) Strategy. With 130,000 staff in 80 countries, our firm helped Mars to define and successfully roll out their Future of Work strategy globally, across every business segment and region. The path to making the Mars Future of Work strategy a reality and driving a cultural transformation required a significant step change in behaviour and mindset, embracing completely new ways of working. Using their insights and behavioural change principles our firm focused on prioritised problem areas and developed specific tools that would deliver the greatest impact. They assembled a global team of FoW ambassadors to listen, train line managers and encourage role-modelling across the business. Their client now have the tools and training to embed their new ways of working, leading to improved engagement across the business as employees embrace greater levels of flexibility, inclusion and wellbeing.
Creating a blueprint for long-term hybrid working for an international Healthcare group. Our firm worked with Bupa to equip a group of leaders to ask the right questions and make big decisions about the future of work – with wellbeing at the heart. After a rich analysis of existing data, the team shaped some key questions that the organisation has to address. The questions were used to design and deliver workshops with Bupa leaders and stakeholders to prioritise opportunities and areas of focus. After validating these priorities with Senior Leaders and employees to fully understand needs, thoughts, concerns and the reality of hybrid working – a blueprint for Bupa’s future of work was born. The blueprint helped them understand the priorities and short-term focus – with an eye on the long view so that decisions were deliberate, measured with evidence and sustainable.
A new way of working, blending business models, mindsets and cultures. PATRIZIA AG is one of Europe’s largest real asset investment managers, with more than €56 billion in assets under management across the continent. Our firm’s challenge was to help this growing company shift from a pan-European to a global organisation. The goal was to nurture emerging talent, develop their capabilities so they could help the business adapt in the future, and create a shared definition of what good, inspiring leadership looks like. The PATRIZIA Futures Programme successfully launched in Q1 2021, equipping the first group with the tools and techniques they need to create change, break down boundaries and solve problems. This was more than a one-off training programme; it was the start of a new way of working for the company.
If you would like to learn more about how our firm might help you build a better employee experience whilst keeping everything else in check, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .