Deloitte: Top 5 workforce trends for 2021
Top five trends which can best draw out human strengths within a workforce and help an organisation thrive and survive in the future are explored by consultants Deloitte .
These top trends are discussed in the new report Diving deeper, Five workforce trends to watch in 2021 and focus on the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and how organisations can harness the talent within their workforce to navigate the uncertainty ahead.
“While executives have long recognised that well-being is important, the COVID-19 pandemic brought home how significant it really is,” said Jen Fisher, Deloitte US chief well-being officer and co-author of the well-being section. 'Work and life, health, safety, and well-being became inseparable,' she said.
Highlights from the comprehensive report include:
1. Designing work for well-being
“The design of well-being into work is a practice that must be developed, strengthened and flexed over time to be effective. As work itself changes at a rapid pace, the ways that an organisation supports individual and team well-being must adapt in tandem,” said Fisher.
Seven out of 10 executives responding to the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey said their organisation’s shift to remote work had a positive impact on well-being. Workers reported the top three objectives of work transformation should be improving quality, increasing innovation, and improving worker well-being.
According to the report organisations looking to build well-being into work should consider actions, policies, and mandates at the following three levels:
- Individual: Workers should take the initiative in setting their own boundaries and making their well-being needs understood.
- Team: The power of teams comes from their ability to connect people with each other to unleash their collective capabilities.
- Organisational: Leaders have a responsibility not only to invest in well-being, but also to make well-being a consideration as important as any other factor that affects the bottom line.
2. Beyond reskilling
“The growing prevalence of worker agency and choice during the pandemic showed that, when given the chance to align their interests and passions with organisational needs, workers can fulfil their potential in ways that leaders may never have known they could, positioning the organisation to thrive in the long term,” says the report.
The success of work transformation depends on an organisation’s ability to unlock human potential to define and deliver new outcomes which can be done in the following ways:
- Shift the supply and demand equation
Build talent marketplaces that address the workforce supply and demand equation. Cultivate worker passions to solve problems and reward employees.
- Centre workforce planning on potential
Shift workforce planning approaches away from a reliance on top-down mandates, providing more agency to workers themselves. Empower workers to reimagine what, how, and where work gets done. Consider AI-enabled technologies.
- Drive toward real-time, dynamic action
Gather and act on workforce data that provides a real-time view of workers’ skills across the entire talent ecosystem. Remember that teams are becoming the driving unit of organisational performance.
During the pandemic, organisations doubled down on teams and teaming as a survival strategy to enable adaptability and speed.
“Leaders now have the opportunity to use what they have learned to construct “superteams” that pair people with technology to re-architect work in more human ways,” comment Deloitte.
To create an environment where superteams flourish, executives should consider the following:
- Set audacious goals
- Don’t stop with envisioning new ways to achieve those outcomes
- Avoid the instinct to use technologies only as an enabler for the work you already do
- Use technology to design work in ways that allow humans to perform at their best
- Make the creation of superteams a cross-organisational imperative
“Superteams are most powerful when organisations use technology to empower teams in a way that makes work better for humans and makes humans better at work,” says the report.
4. Governing workforce strategies
“The need for organisations to better understand their workforce is under urgent pressure from unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime health, economic, and social challenges,” says the report.
In Deloitte’s 2020 paper, Returning to work in the future of work: Embracing purpose, potential, perspective, and possibility during COVID-19, the consultants encourage organisations to ask different questions and measure and report the answers in real time.
“These forward-looking insights, not backward-looking, stale data, can help organisations understand how to achieve new outcomes by harnessing workforce potential and transforming work.
“The priority moving forward is to ensure that organisations’ efforts around workforce strategies, data and insights span the range of stakeholders and that the lens is wide enough to include both short- and long-term measures of progress against economic and societal goals.”
5. A memo to HR
Confidence in HR to navigate the changes required in the next three to five years following the COVID-19 pandemic is riding high among executives with 42% saying they are confident in their ability.
COVID-19 has earned many HR organisations the right to be bolder in orchestrating work throughout the enterprise. To seize this opportunity, HR needs to reorient its mission and mindset towards shaping future success by taking the lead in re-architecting work and reimagining the workforce and workplace accordingly,” comments Deloitte.
5 Ways Leaders Can Create a Healthy Workplace Culture
This week (14th-20th June 2021) is Men’s Health Week. Physical and mental well-being have been important considerations for leaders over the past year, and it is essential this focus is maintained as we build back for the future. Here we have asked 5 experts for practical tips leaders can implement to create healthy workplace cultures.
Know the early signs of burnout
Recently it was reported by the BBC that burnout for health and social care staff had reached emergency levels.
Monkey Puzzle Training Co-Founder Karen Meager has studied the burnout recovery process in partnership with Coventry University: “The past year has seen people suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked. These are continuing, and all have the potential to contribute towards burnout. Healthcare workers, executives, leaders, managers and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout.”
“At the onset of burnout, people commonly enter a phase of denial. So leaders need to be aware of those who are reluctant to take their time off, are compelled to work all hours, or have changes in their behaviour or mood, as these can all be indications of burnout taking hold. Encouraging them to take a burnout self-test provides a starting point to supporting these employees through recovery, as is role modelling healthy sustainable ways of working.” Karen suggests.
Encourage professional self-reflection
Creating an environment that encourages self-reflection is an effective tool for promoting personal development. Journaling may not be something you instantly think of for professional development; however, it is a successful technique for adults to aid mindfulness and productivity. “Journaling is a form of self-expression that can empower you to understand your feelings and ambitions and how to deal with them, therefore promoting positive well-being and a healthy workplace culture,” describes Elisa Nardi, founder of Notebook Mentor.
“Just 15-20 minutes of journaling a day over the course of four months are enough to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health,” explains Elisa. “It can also inspire creativity, aid your memory, and help set actionable goals. It is an underused tool that can help employees manage tricky workplace situations such as conflict, illness or new leadership roles.”
Manage your stress and resilience too
As a leader or manager, often, your complete focus is on the business or protecting your team, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Leaders should also have strategies in place to manage their own stress, so they can sustain high levels of positive energy throughout the day. “Fueled by a burning desire for success, I ignored all the warning signs of exhaustion, which eventually took its toll on me - I literally collapsed from stress, and I didn’t even see it coming.” reflects Sascha Heinemann, an expert in Performance Recovery and Stress Resilience.
“When leaders manage their energy, create healthy daily habits, and practice resilience, they are able to perform to their fullest capacity and to provide the best possible support for others.”
“Taking a break every 90 minutes or so helps you to refuel, recharge, and re-energize and ultimately allows you to get more accomplished, in less time, at a higher level of quality, and more sustainably. This role model contributes dramatically to a healthier, more engaged, sustainable, and productive workplace culture," he adds.
Instil a sense of purpose for your team
The idea that success equals working 12-15 hour days and giving everything of yourself to your workplace continues to prevail in many organisations. This is not healthy, nor is it productive for anyone involved. “The healthiest and happiest workplace cultures are the ones that are organised around purpose.” describes business and life coach Anand Kulkarni.
“Leaders should be giving meaning to the work they are doing within their business and beyond and sharing this purpose with their staff, rather than focusing on long hours, crippling workloads or someone else’s idea of ‘success’. When people understand why they are doing what they do and how this contributes to something greater, productivity and well-being is increased.” adds Anand.
Promote well-being from the top down
Leaders need to act as role models if well-being is to become embedded at the very core of the organisation. It’s very unlikely that employees will start acting in a new way that puts their own needs first if the leadership team continues to behave in an entirely different manner.
‘Many organisations have worked hard in recent months to put new policies in place that better support well-being, promote hybrid working and attempt to set clear boundaries, but many leaders seem to assume that they are exempt from it all, that’s when it all falls over’, explains leadership experts Martin Boroson and Carmel Moore, from The One Moment Company.
A recent ONS report into Homeworking in the UK revealed that people are on average working 6 hours extra per week, and many are working until late in the evening, indicating that the boundaries between work and life are more blurred than ever.
“Despite all of these wonderful opportunities for people to self-organise, if the leadership team continues to work in the office Monday to Friday, or are communicating at all hours, then it’s a clear indicator that hybrid working is simply a ‘bolt-on’ tactic rather than an integral part of the company’s approach to promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.’