Re-inventing the Workplace: If today’s workforce no longer looks like it did, why is the workplace still designed as if it does?
by Tricia Jones, founder of Capacity Builder
Oh, how things have changed, haven’t they?
It feels like just yesterday that acceptable workplace norms were:
- Speaking to customers and suppliers via a landline and only during office hours.
- Working a 9-5 in a dedicated cubicle and punching a time clock.
- The risk of sexual harassment of the minority group of women who braved the male-dominated working environment.
- Sending snail mail and faxes.
- Smoking a cigarette in the comfort of your cubicle, surrounded by co-workers who looked like you (‘white’), smelt like you (aka ‘Old Spice’) and thought like you.
This is a stark contrast next to today’s acceptable norms of technology-driven systems, processes and solutions, which have us working around the clock with a diverse network of people from all corners of the globe, solving complex problems, all while sipping on our favourite cuppa joe at the nearest coffee Wi-Fi hotspot.
What happened? What changed? Well, in short – EVERYTHING!
A new age of business
With the introduction of technology in the early ‘90s, businesses found themselves radically adapting and adjusting to make space for the new age of business and everything that goes with it. Now, with almost 30 years of change experience to fall back on, perhaps it’s time to see how we’ve faired.
According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends report for 2016, “92% of survey participants rated the redesign of the organisation itself as a critical priority.” Twelve months later, the 2017 version of the same report revealed that: “88% of survey respondents believe that they need to redesign their organisation to succeed in the digital age.”
So, what’s the problem then? If a business has recognised this critical need and for two years running have reported this as a critical business priority, then why isn’t the workplace shifting? Well, turns out that only “11% of survey respondents believe they understand how to build the organisation of the future,” states the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report.
You see, the thing is that while the way we do business has shifted tremendously over the last 30 odd years, the operating models and human practices are yet to catch up. Many organisations continue to operate according to industrial-age models from yesteryear. So, before any real shift happens in the way we design organisations, these outdated models and practices, weighed down by legacy processes, policies, systems, and behaviours must be confronted and discarded. And that time is now!
Confront, discard, shift
Here are some ideas to help you analyse your organisation, and benchmark against these current trends to build a business case for change:
- Diversity Intelligence: how richly diverse is your business (race, gender, cultures, sexual orientation, ages, etc.) and how do you leverage that diversity? For more on this, have a look at a previous Talent Talks article, titled: Generational Intelligence
- Technology as the Solution: how have you optimised your business offerings and operations using technology? It is, after all, the age of technology.
- The Global Workforce: how flexible and agile is your workforce in their ability to network and tap into global best practices to deliver cutting-edge solutions to your clients?
- Innovative Disruption: where and how can you rethink the way you do business and offer something new and fresh in a way that your competitors haven’t even imagined yet?
- Coaching for Purpose and Performance: how are your leaders adapting themselves to their new role as workplace coaches to support employees in realising their purpose and encouraging personal performance?
- Organisational Network Analysis: how are you re-organising your organisation into networks of practice aligned to project objectives, which leverage off of a collaboration of skills to achieve objectives quickly?
Nimico’s series of Leader2Leader Conversations provides an opportunity for leaders within organisations to stay up-to-date with relevant leadership challenges, opportunities and trends, which are currently impacting them. Explore the current conversation of “Reinventing the Workplace”, which delves specifically into current trends, statistics and forces driving organisational redesign.
The future of the workplace may be filled with many shifts and changes, but how we choose to respond to them will determine how we create an extraordinary tomorrow.
The workplace of the future is here. Get ready…