Last year, we released a couple of whitepapers that investigated recent changes in the workplace; taking an in-depth look at the future of work, and how it might impact businesses. What was obvious was that various forces (such as technologies, globalisation, environmental pressures and changing demographics to name a few), would have a significant impact on the future of our workforce.
However, they did leave one key question unanswered: what are businesses actually doing to adjust to the changing workforce? To answer this, we surveyed employers to find out more, particularly around how they’re driving the change agenda, the opportunities that have been created, and the challenges they’ve faced along the way. As part of this, we also put the spotlight on three particular organisations at different stages of their change journeys: Asaleo Care, Pernod Ricard, and Perpetual Guardian, uncovering some brilliant insight into the workings of real-world New Zealand businesses.
How Are Our Organisation’s Adapting?
While the world of work is constantly changing, perhaps the most important finding to emerge from our research was that employers are not standing still. Most, if not all, seem to be taking proactive steps towards addressing challenges, from upskilling teams to making innovative changes to the way their people are managed. Using the three case studies as examples, what did we learn about some of the changes that businesses are making?
Perpetual Guardian – Four-Day Working Week
Trustee company, Perpetual Guardian, hit the headlines (not just here, but around the world!) when it switched to a four-day working week, while keeping employee salaries at the same levels of a full week. What started out as a trial hoping to find a connection between productivity and the incentive of having a day off on full pay, ended up with them completely redesigning their flexible working policy, a move that has increased staff engagement by up to 40%, and reduced stress levels by 15%. With latest estimates showing that it reached a global audience of 4.5 billion people, they’ve certainly put life into the conversation around working differently. And who’s to argue with them? By working smarter (and less often), Perpetual Guardian has reported that their employees are feeling refreshed, engaged and are making better decisions as a result!
Pernod Ricard – Better Balance
Pernod Ricard, the world’s second largest wine and spirits seller, launched their ‘Better Balance’ initiative in 2017. With a vision to see more women in leadership roles, they set about considering the barriers that prevent this from occurring. Flexible working was identified as one of the challenges that women face, but it soon became apparent that it was something that benefited the whole organisation, not just women. The end result is a technology-driven remote working policy (with a 95% engagement rate!) that gives staff the freedom to balance work commitments with their personal lives, wherever that might be. And the best bit – it’s a solution that works for everyone, whether you have a child’s show to attend, or you need to work remotely to meet the plumber at home.
Asaleo Care – PlanDo
On the back of Asaleo Care’s cultural transformation, they launched an innovative application (PlanDo) to replace their existing approach to performance management. Empowering staff to set and manage their own objectives and career goals, gone are the traditional six-monthly reviews and management-driven KPIs. Instead, this employee-led approach has helped to create a culture of accountability, with people becoming more vocal, collaborative and proactive in the way they go about their day-to-day tasks.
We know that the way in which organisations address change will be crucial to their future; those that adapt will thrive, while those who ignore them will likely be left behind. What’s really positive from our research is that there are so many organisations out there taking action now and being proactive in their approach to change.
If you’d like to learn more about the future of work in New Zealand, get in touch to get your copy of our latest whitepaper.