Focusing on the challenge of workforce change at our Wednesday breakfast event co-hosted by Salary Finance, Mercer’s CEO Julio Portalatin opened the session and Asia CEO Renée McGowan joined a distinguished panel led by James Landale, diplomatic correspondent for the BBC News. Daniel Shakhani, Co-founder, Salary Finance; Leena Nair, CHRO, Unilever; and Phillip Ullmann, Chief Energiser, Cordant Group, offered insights and action notes from their specific perspectives.
Together they challenged the audience to think expansively about Industry 4.0 and how we can build and lead a workforce that will work differently, longer, and with complex needs and concerns, particularly regarding their financial security. The rapid pace of change – and the opportunity it creates – were vibrant points of discussion.
Success lies in co-creation
Organizations are realizing that, in Industry 4.0, too much is being put on the individual—governments, organizations, and the individual all need to be involved, working toward common strategies. We need to ensure companies actively participate in jointly created solutions. All the challenges of the future will require collective thinking, human thinking. Technology may drive change, but people are not going away.
Employees rely on their employers to take action
The employer-employee trust relationship is a strong bond, so it’s no surprise that the workforce is wondering how employers are going to help. We’re seeing companies pivot to curating the work environment and providing thoughtful benefits and learning opportunities.
The old ways of achieving financial security are no longer valid
The financial implications of living to 100+ years are huge, especially for women. The gender pay gap compounds this issue over this time. There’s a real risk we run out of money before we run out of life. Employers need to reframe the idea of saving, away from “retirement” and toward “lifetime” saving. Indeed, targeted engagement and tools aimed at specific generational needs will be key. Progressive- thinking employers who solve for financial insecurity will win—they will attract and retain top talent.
We need to rethink the employer-employee contract
Employers need to think about how to maintain trust when employment security today and into the future is so different. Employers have a responsibility to create high quality jobs and help their employees upskill to them. One way we are seeing this manifest is through a rise in “purpose.” People want to come to and do work with purpose. In fact, organizations find that employees who feel they are working with purpose are thriving employees.
The global economy—and its future health—remains front and center
The future of work is human
Technology is both challenge and opportunity