In this episode of The New Shape of Work, David Henderson Group CHRO at Zurich Insurance joins Kate Bravery to discuss how the future of work has shifted during the pandemic; the critical role that upskilling and reskilling play in having an organisation that can perform today and stay relevant tomorrow; and the role of psychological safety as they build toward work sustainability.

According to HR Leaders, the top three challenges to delivering on their transformation agenda today are:

  1.  Workforce exhaustion.
  2. Employee change fatigue.
  3. Too many competing priorities. 

When looking at these challenges, as outlined in our Global Talent Trends report, we have to ask - have we figured out how to do this hybrid or remote working right? Have we really embedded health and well-being into our work agenda? And, what's the path forward to making sure that the future of work is being realised in a sustainable way?

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Interesting moments from the interview:

  • Developing new job opportunities

    [We have] a bias for developing our people into new job opportunities, rather than hiring new skills externally. And that, of course, is fundamental to the concept of psychological safety and well-being that we want to bring into the organisation. If you're worried about your job being replaced by automation, or if you're worried about whether you have the right skills or not, there's no way that you can give your best to Zurich. So we really have this bias on developing people internally – reskilling, upskilling.
  • Building new skills

    "[Building work sustainability] also meant trying to create more of a learning organisation. Building new skills in a way that people are in energised and empowered to learn. It's meant offering new career and redeployment opportunities, and building tools that are much more transparent around that. Whether that's career transparency, skills transparency, compensation transparency - those are all really important themes. And of course it's been about creating this feeling of security and shared ownership."
  • Give people more work visibility

    "You can actually move laterally and much more broadly. Why not give people visibility of that - what jobs are paid, what ranges are available, and then help people make informed choices. I think this is part of the black box that HR have been, you know, keeping all of this information secretive and just and I think it needs to be much more open."
  • Focusing more on skill

    "We now focus more on skills that can transfer from one job family to another. This goes back to this point around workforce planning. You know, we recognise that some roles will be automated, many more will be augmented by technology. So we have to speak to people to choose the skills they need, but to move in the direction of this of the change as well."
  • Taking calculated risks on talent

    "You have to take calculated risks on talent. And that means actually the whole concept I call assignment-ology, or thinking long term about careers. I think most people in an organisation maybe focus just on our next role. But actually, what we try to do and what we've been trying to do, certainly for higher potential talent in the organisation, is encouraging people to think much further out. Think two or three moves out. I mean it's different at different career stages, but if you're early to mid-career, you should really be thinking of the next 10 years minimum."

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