Emerging Trends for Organisational Success Part 1: Re-imagining the Nature of Work


​​With each passing year, there is increasing pressure on business to stay ahead of the pack – in technology, in business development, in workforce development and in leadership practice.  A plethora of business analysts provide their opinion about future directions and trying to make sense of the range of predictions can be overwhelming. So, is there any consistency to these emerging trends?   We reviewed the latest information and will share our findings in this three-part blog series. Today we look at the nature of work.

Social enterprise as a focus

A clear focus for business over the past few years has been the emerging importance of social enterprise.  It is increasing clear that successful organisations find the balance between achieving revenue growth and driving profit, while also maintaining a healthy respect for the environment and their stakeholder network.  Leaders who want their organisations to last into the long term are doing more than just writing fancy mission statements, they are building genuine social enterprise with a human focus through consideration of such factors as income inequality, workforce diversity and environmental preservation.

Re-imagining the nature of work, the workforce and the workplace

Businesses who succeed realise that they must find ways to improve the experience of their workers, their customers and the communities in which they do business, while also creating a profit and delivering a healthy return to shareholders. Business commentators appear agree on three overarching themes where organisations can focus their change strategies – the work we do, who will do that work, and how the workplace will support us.

The work we do

The human experience of work is becoming more and more important.  Very significantly, organisations are undertaking a “reinvention” to boost worker engagement. This is critical as current figures suggest as many as 85% of workers are either under-engaged or actively disengaged from their work, but at the same time are working longer hours, with higher levels of mental and financial stress.

Finding Meaning

Today’s workforce is not just looking for a pay-check; they need to find real meaning from work to maintain their productivity, as well as to sustain positive wellbeing and reduce the risk of overwork and burnout. It is becoming clear that an increasing number of workers expect their workplace to help them connect back to a genuine and tangible impact on the organisation and society.

The outcomes are not only positive for individual staff. Research shows that organisations with more positive employee experience achieve increased innovation and customer satisfaction. Organisations win when they help humanise the work experience, helping staff focus on the meaning of the work itself and help answer the question “am I making a difference?” 

Individualised rewards

It might not be all about the pay-check, but we do still expect to be rewarded for our work.  Unfortunately, many organisations do not really know what rewards their workers truly value.  To keep staff (and to keep staff happy!) organisations must build genuine relationships with their workforce to understand and design rewards that recognise their preferences and can motivate performance.  In addition to direct compensation, rewards may include other benefits, wellbeing programs, professional development and systems to recognise the extra efforts of staff. Now, more than ever, the budget for human capital (including rewards) must be seen by business as an investment in the future, not an expense. 

Importantly, reward systems must promote agility in their workforce, measuring and recognising performance and identifying and development future leaders.  An important aspect of this is transparency of remuneration across the organisation, so staff understand what rewards are available and make long-term plans about their career.

Lifelong Learning

Modern workforce knows that continuous professional development is a necessity, not an “add-on”.  As jobs change, with increased automation, and a “blending” of many roles, estimates suggest that over 50% of staff will require significant reskilling/upskilling within the next 3 years, so employers need to find ways to effectively facilitate this.  Organisations are responsible for supporting their staff to learn in an environment where evolving work demands, and skill requirements are creating demands for new skills and capabilities and tight labour makes external recruitment difficult.   Promotion of learning opportunities is a critical component of developing internal career mobility pathways as it is no longer realistic to expect to source and hire staff with all necessary capabilities. 

Modern organisations can develop a culture that supports continuous learning with incentives to encourage staff to identify new skills and take advantage of learning opportunities. For individual staff, learning is becoming more personal, it is an integrated part of the job, and it is lifelong.

This is the first blog in our three-part series on emerging trends for organisational success. Our next blog will focus on the trends affecting how we work.

If you loved this article, why not check out the other articles by our Senior CMPI Consultant Narelle Dickinson:

Using resilience to build happier and healthier workplaces

4 key changes for improved workforce resilience

To read the key reports referenced in this review, check out:

Deloitte’s 2019 research on Global Human Capital Trends and

Elmo Software’s 2019 HR Trends

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