Written by: Tom Mooney
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Led by Creative Cube’s Chief Futurist, Dr. Ben Hamer, a group of People Leaders from prominent Australian firms gathered to discuss the critical themes that are shaping the way we work, live, and interact. Here are some of our key actionable insights.Scroll Down
Recently we gathered a group of People Leaders to discuss the key trends that are defining the future of work in Australia. Led by Creative Cube’s Chief Futurist, Dr. Ben Hamer, and drawing insights from PwC's 2023 Future of Work Outlook we explored the critical themes that are shaping the way we work, live, and interact. It was the second BI WORLDWIDE Roundtable in Australia and the topics evolved to generate deep discussion amongst the group, identifying key actionable insights that we could all consider as we head into the latter part of 2023.
From the tightening of the labour market to the loud voices of the anti-work movement, the pursuit of flexibility, the entrance of Generation Z into the workforce, and the potential of a four-day workweek. Here is a recap of the multifaceted aspects of the modern workplace we covered. The future of work is not just a distant concept; it's here, evolving rapidly and it's time to engage with it.
The Australian labour market is currently experiencing significant transformations. With the global pandemic and economic shifts, there is a growing emphasis on efficiency and cost-saving measures. Employers are becoming more selective in hiring, and employees are facing increased competition. The focus on remote work has also led to a reevaluation of compensation and benefits. This tightening of the purse strings reflects the broader economic landscape and the need for adaptability in uncertain times.
Even with recent mass layoffs, particularly in the tech sector, unemployment remains at a low 3.5%, investing in recruiting and retaining the right talent remains a priority. In tighter economic conditions how can employers stretch the investment in talent to go further? Cash and Non-Cash Incentives during a Cost-of-Living Crisis discusses this exact topic.
The anti-work movement is gaining momentum, particularly among younger generations. This movement is not just about quitting jobs quietly but making a loud statement against the traditional 9-to-5 grind. It's a call for more meaningful work, better work-life balance, and a rejection of exploitative labour practices. Dr. Ben Hamer spoke about the changing dynamics of work and how the need for connection, meaningful work and evolving technologies are driving forces behind the movement.
We need to revisit some basic elements of the workplace to foster the workforce of tomorrow. Managing the workload of employees to reduce stress to prevent poor performance and disengagement may sound like an unattainable goal but it is essential for the future workforce to sustain high levels of productivity and a healthy culture. Integrating purpose-driven work while fostering connection amongst employees could provide the key to combatting the anti-work movement and creating a sustainable culture.
Flexibility in work arrangements has become a non-negotiable aspect for many employees. Deloitte reported 75% of Generation Z potential employees prefer either hybrid or remote working arrangement. The pandemic has shown that remote work is feasible, and many are now seeking a balance that allows for both personal and professional growth. Employers recognise this demand and adapt their policies to accommodate these needs. The pursuit of flexibility is not just a trend but a fundamental shift in how work is perceived and structured.
But the pursuit of flexibility is not just about where and when work is done; it's also about how employees are engaged and recognised. At BI WORLDWIDE Australia we see this as a prominent program objective amongst our clients, the need to create powerful employee recognition and rewards programs that inspire employees to love what they do and the brand they do it for each day.
Through a full suite of engagement solutions, we align with the modern workforce's desire for flexibility, recognition, and engagement. Innovative solutions to foster a sense of belonging, purpose and build connection, even in a hybrid environment.
The pursuit of flexibility is not just a trend but a fundamental shift in how work is perceived and structured. It is about creating a culture where employees feel valued, motivated, and connected. It is about leveraging the right tools and strategies to make this vision a reality.
The role of the office is changing, and perks like free yoga classes are no longer enough to attract and retain talent. Hybrid working, where employees can work both remotely and in the office, is becoming the norm.
This approach recognises that work is not confined to a physical space but that employees value autonomy and choice in their work arrangements. The challenge for organisations is to create a cohesive culture that supports this new way of working. How to foster belonging and purpose in a hybrid environment has emerged as crucial topic to reduce psychosocial risks for employees.
The prominent topic that emerged amongst our People Leaders at the Roundtable was how employers can generate enough value for employees to consider commuting into the office a worthwhile use of their time. Misaligned expectations verse reality can lead to a disengaged workforce that, while they may attend the office, are not striving to perform at their best.
Generative AI, like ChatGPT, is transforming the world of work. Dr. Ben Hamer highlighted how AI can be used creatively, with the attitude of using it as your intern. The impact of AI is far-reaching, from automating mundane tasks to enhancing creative processes and productivity. The universal intern is no longer a human but a machine, capable of learning and adapting. This shift presents both opportunities and challenges, as we navigate the ethical and practical implications of AI in the workplace.
Generation-Z is entering the workforce with fresh perspectives and expectations. They are tech-savvy, value-driven, and seek purpose in their work. Employers must understand these unique characteristics to engage and motivate this new generation. The focus on collaboration, social responsibility, and authentic connections will be key to attracting and retaining Gen-Z talent.
With the big four professional services firms historically leading the way in graduate employment, there has been an increase in a move towards Government departments and value-aligned employers. An arduous and long career in consultancy and financial service careers appears to have lost its appeal to the next generation. They no longer want to climb the corporate ladder, rather are looking for work environments that resonate with personal values and their macro environments. This trend aligns with the fact that 46% of Generation Z employees feel burned out due to their work demands.
The variety of values have seen a shift towards EVPs catering to people on an individual level. Today, employers must now appeal across generations, interests and values to recruit and retain the talent of tomorrow.
The idea of a four-day work week is gaining traction. While some may see it as an unrealistic dream, others view it as a viable solution to improve work-life balance and increase productivity. The conversation revolved around the reality of this model for quite some time during our BI WORLDWIDE Roundtable. Does the 4-day worker still work 5 days? Countries across Europe have experimented with this model, and some companies are following suit. The potential for this to become the new normal is real, but it requires a fundamental rethinking of how work is structured and valued.
The Future of Work is a complex and evolving landscape. From the tightening of the labour market to the rise of AI and the demands of a new generation, the way we work is undergoing profound changes. Understanding and adapting to these trends will be essential for both employers and employees as we navigate the future together.
Providing the tools to bring visions to life for the People Leaders of Australia is our specialty at BI WORLDWIDE Australia. Whether it be automating processes you have in place or revamping your EVP to appeal to the future workforce, see how we can provide tailored insights and ideas here or email us today at email@example.com.