People are at the heart of the shift to the new hybrid workplace, where they’ll work hand-in-hand with robots and algorithms in an environment optimised for technology, and having the right ones in your organisation will be crucial for success.
Along with Digital (having the right technological capability) and Data (being able to turn data into insights to inform decision-making), People are one of the strategic levers that business leaders will have to manage to make the transition successfully over the next five years.
That means having the skills, culture and leadership in place to ensure that people can thrive and do their best work, free to concentrate on interesting, meaningful and high-value work while machines take care of the repetitive, predictable tasks.
Our Human to Hybrid research into the future of work reveals that, as the shape and make-up of the workforce changes over the coming years, and as more workers engage with employers and organisations in a more fluid, ad hoc and remote way, maintaining a positive, inclusive and productive culture will become a challenge.
But it’s a challenge that organisations must rise to. If organisations want access to specialist skills on demand in a hybrid workplace, they’ll have to engage with the people who have those skills but who are not necessarily interested in working for them full time – they’ll have to have a brand and a culture that makes top talent want to come back to them time and time again.
They’ll have to recognise that these people have decided to invest their skills into the business for a period of time and could easily decide to go to the competition instead if they don’t feel listened to and valued, involved in the organisation’s strategic direction and that their work is having an impact.
At the same time, they must create the right kind of environment for their core workforce, whose experience, organisational understanding, positive mindset and appetite for learning will drive the organisation forward, to enjoy success too. A culture that promotes learning as something that people do every day, in the normal course of their work and without waiting to be asked, will make it easier to keep them engaged and relevant in a workplace that will be undergoing constant change.
Leaders can create these cultures by engaging with their people, listening to them and making sure they feel part of the journey and can identify with the organisation’s values, mission and vision. They must nurture people’s ambition, curiosity and backing by being open, accessible and collaborative.
But if they’re going to increase their chances of existing and prospective employees buying into their optimal workforce, they’ve got to create a brand that engages and excites people. By creating a powerful employee value proposition, which sets out exactly what people can expect in return for bringing their skills, experience and capabilities, communicating it clearly internally and externally, and then responding positively to the people who are attracted by it, organisations can develop a brand as an employer of choice.
It’s time to start positioning yourself as an organisation that people will want to work for before the transition to the hybrid workplace is complete – not afterwards, so that you don’t lose crucial talent to the competition.