The pages of history are sprinkled with revolutions. While there is a diverse spectrum of reasons behind them, one constant remains — revolution is sparked through a desire to bridge the gap between what is and what could be.
The need to work has existed for as long as human history has stood though it has taken various forms and faces over the years. For our ancestors, work was hunting and gathering; and for many of us today, work is sitting at a desk from 9am to 5pm.
In March 2020, this way of work was shattered. Workplaces were forced to close their doors and the workforce was moved to a fully remote workspace. Today, we are seeing the effects of this change — it’s the start of a revolution and it’s demanding a new way of work.
Companies that are laser-focused on who they are, the mission they’re hoping to accomplish, and the values and behaviours that will get them there, are the ones that will win talent and thrive for years to come. Below is what are just some of the opportunities today’s talent is looking for:
Flexibility in Time and Pay
According to a Microsoft report, for many companies (more specifically, teams within companies that can have their work done outside traditional hours) 9-5 workdays will be a thing of the past.
We’re already seeing several organizations provide increased flexibility for their employees, but the next step will be providing them with the opportunity to work when they want and as much as they want. Sound too good to be true? Take a look at the gig economy. This is already happening for freelancers — they have abundant choices in their work.
This increased flexibility alongside project-based work will further shape the workplace of tomorrow. Blockchain will enable immediate payment for tasks, meaning the way we know and understand salaries could be gone. As a result of expanding flexibility within the workplace, it may be possible for employees to create multiple sources of income instead of just one, which typically comes from the 9-5 job.
Many companies are also testing a four-day work week. This doesn’t mean people will work less, but that workdays are a little longer or more flexible. Having that extra day on the weekend is something many of us would appreciate, right?
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility can take two forms:
1. Going Green
Many companies see this as an opportunity to align personal and organizational values to attract certain people. As a result, going green will be the norm. Quite a few notable companies have created campaigns centred on the environment. For example, H&M announced its sustainability collection.
Several other prominent organizations have launched environmentally conscious initiatives, such as IKEA, Home Depot, Nike, Apple, TOMS, Amazon, and Google. Each of these companies has not only made public statements but has also incorporated initiatives unique to their individual companies that appeal to their customer base.
2. Taking a Stand
While many may think that the social stance Nike took by partnering with Colin Kaepernick or Gillette took with their positive masculinity commercial was only to sell more products, these stances became powerful recruitment tools. Companies who take a stand know that they can’t be everything to everyone, but that social stance will allow them to attract talent with similar values and build strong, engaged, and cohesive teams.
Intentional and Focused Benefits
Gone are the days when ping-pong and foosball tables were our talent magnets. Can they be fun? Of course. But last time I checked, a subscription to Calm and a “free” lunch didn’t hold a candle to better childcare or a wellness day off. This work revolution will likely see increased parental leave, better mental and physical health benefits, and, most importantly, leadership training and development.
The benefits of tomorrow will look a lot like the benefits of today, but much, much better. Work needs to be a place people want to be, not have to be, and while great benefits may attract talent, effective people-centred leadership keeps it.
Redesigned Office Spaces
Remote work and hybrid offices have introduced much-needed flexibility and options for how and where we choose to work. Many have realized that work can be done anywhere. Because of that, many companies are choosing to re-evaluate their current workplaces and create an appealing environment where employees don’t need to but rather want to come to work.
While this sounds great in theory, we have to recognize something important: one size does not fit all. Is the open office concept right for everyone? No, it never was and never will be. The cubicle? Nope. Remote work? For some. What is really needed? Connection, value, and respect.
When I look at my crystal ball, I see new social centres created within offices. Think airport lounges. These spaces will allow people to connect, collaborate, and clash (read: innovate). And when this isn’t possible, the time for people to connect outside of work will be key in enhancing trust, building camaraderie, and connection. Those that are focusing on building a safe, enjoyable workplace will win the revolution.
CEO Salary Caps
Here comes something a little more controversial. Conversations centred around payment equality within the workforce are mounting. People are questioning the fairness of minimum wage or low-pay workers compared to CEOs of some companies that are getting paid up to 351x more.
Perhaps an even more eye-opening figure, The Economic Policy Institute reported that “CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978.” However, they go on to say, “Typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time.” This isn’t to say that everyone deserves a raise necessarily, or that CEO pay and comp should be less across the board, but consumers and employees alike are starting to take note and vote with their wallet and job application.
Where does this leave us?
While the innovation and changes that companies are making to thrive in the future of work aren’t limited to the suggestions above, one thing is true: Those that are standing still are falling behind.
To win talent, we must realize that when we try to be everything to everyone, we end up being nothing to anyone. And while there may be a talent shortage and a worse storm coming, the changes we make today to build incredible places to work are sure to pay off in the weeks, months, and years to come.
A globally recognized thought leader, bestselling author, and speaker, Eric Termuende brings a fresh perspective to workplace culture and the future of work. His new keynote “The Perfect Storm” dives deep into what is really causing the Great Resignation and looming talent shortage to help organizations take the steps needed to build incredible teams, sustain growth, and thrive in the future of work.
Interested in learning more about Eric and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].