Preparing for the #FutureOfWork: Three Tips for Building a Future-Fit Organization

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Disruption Is the New Norm – What Are You doing About It?

Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study reveals that 73% of executives are predicting significant disruption in the next few years – up from 26% in 2018 – and nearly all are taking action to prepare for the future of work.

This sharp shift in perception of the future business environment demands new workforce strategies if companies are to stay ahead. As the pace of change accelerates, and as we enter into a new world of work, it’s more crucial than ever that companies rethink their people agenda to unlock potential and adopt new strategies to become ready for the future.

But where do you start? Read on for three tips to help you build a future-fit organization. 

Tip #1: De-Risk

Create an evolving organization that’s human-led and digitally enabled.

Nearly every company we surveyed this year is actively embracing change: 99% of companies that participated in our Global Talent Trends study are taking action to get ready for the future of work.  

Create an integrated people strategy that pays attention to today’s needs, while tipping the balance in favor of investing in tomorrow. What this means is that companies should concentrate now on building the leadership, culture, competencies and skills needed for future competitive advantage. This includes redesigning jobs and moving people to where future value will be created. It also demands rethinking the HR lifecycle to make it more agile, and embracing digitization to help lead these critical transformation efforts with greater efficiency, flexibility and speed. 

Tip #2: Innovate

Design agile rewards.

Our 2019 Global Talent Trends research shows that the #1 workforce rewards priority is offering more diverse rewards. This finding comes as no surprise: Companies are recognizing that the future of rewards lies in innovation.

What does that mean and how can you drive that? You need to understand what your employees’ personas are and what they really want. Design and communicate rewards that truly speak to employee needs. Employers that offer the most compelling rewards will succeed in attracting top talent.

To truly align rewards to business priorities, investments in rewards should reflect a company’s strategic focus. In many cases, this means taking a step away from market norms and toward more differentiated offerings to satisfy both changing employee needs and the demand for new skills. 

Tip #3: Empower

Curate the employee experience.

More than half (54%) of the organizations we surveyed conduct engagement surveys at least twice a year, yet only 33% can identify the key drivers of engagement. But what really drives engagement?

Employers must identify what their people want most out of work, their challenges and experiences in their workplace. Employers need to start to invest in the kind of experiences they create for their employees; to create a work environment that appeals to the future workforce.

For many employees, it’s opportunities for learning and development. By giving them opportunities to upskill and/or reskill, it gives employees a greater sense of mastery, the chance to learn something new and hone their skills.

Providing the opportunity for employees to be more intentional about their careers and giving them a sense of autonomy in their work is important. By curating careers to provide employees with new ways to grow – for example, through mobility programs or internal gig platforms, where employees can apply their expertise and gain new experiences – employers can help build and nurture the skills and mindset needed for the future of work.

Also, as employees crave work that is fueled by purpose – the sense of being part of something bigger – building a coherent sense of identity and purpose, and fostering employees’ sense of connecting within the workplace and to the company are crucial to building a 21st century employee experience.

As our research shows, making the work experience relevant to individual employees helps them grow and thrive; and what we see is that ‘empowerment’ is a key enabler of these work experiences and leaders who manage to do these will be able to power great performance in their organization.

Preparing for the #FutureOfWork

As society embraces a digital future, preparation is key to thinking systematically about the opportunities ahead and accelerating progress towards the future of work. Are you ready?

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Puneet Swani
by Puneet Swani

International Career Business Leader